ABJECT defined. I can’t stop watching Future Islands

Back in university we once had a lengthy conversation in one of my Women’s Studies classes about the term abject. It’s something extremely distasteful, but you’re so intrigued by it you are unable to look away. Think rubbernecking at a car accident our teacher suggested. We preferred to think of it is a generous dollop of mayo sealed in plastic wrap that you couldn’t stop poking.

Many years later, a video was shared with me that captures the term’s meaning better than I could ever dream.

Live stream commentary from my uncensored internal internet troll: I see he attended the David Byrne School of Dance. I really like this song but this vid kind of ruins it for me. I feel like I need to lead him into the spare room so he can just cry it out solo. Oh wait, I feel a need to punch him in the face. Would it be that bad to lead him into another room, punch him, and then leave him to cry? Anyone else think this guy is a bit of an asshole? WTH was that? That growl? That was petrifying! If he keeps pounding his chest like that his pectoral implants might start to leak. HE MADE THE SOUND AGAIN….And I’m about to hit replay.

 

We fell into mutual wierdness

365 Days. 

365 Nights.

Happy Anniversary to the goat cheese of my life.

We’re all a little weird and life’s a little weird. And when we find someone who’s weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness call it love. – Dr. Seuss

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Ham on Rye – Bukowski

I’ve been trying to finish Bukowski’s Ham on Rye for a number of months. It’s not a long book, it’s not even a bad book, but I’d put it down for anything. I read pamphlets dropped off at the door sooner than crack the next chapter.

It’s the story of a miserable person named Henry, who is treated miserably all his life. After an endless number of awful things happen to him, in front of him, and to the people he cares for, all the good that’s in him dies. His innocence, his desire for good things to happen to good people, his hope to be able to protect the weak –  everything is slowly beaten and bled from him. He becomes a physical manifestation of all the ugliness, the evil and the violence and abandons his last friend before going off to get drunk alone.

Damn it, I’m depressed.

Top 5 Tuesday: So Sleep Deprived

Yesterday I may have emptied a bag of kettle corn inside my car.

I may have come home to find a load of laundry from Sunday sitting in the washer and smelling like a combination of swamp, blue cheese, sweat, and the compost bin that time we missed garbage day and had to let it sit for an extra week.

I may have blown off going to the gym.

It may have been my one and only chance for quiet night of sleep and relaxation all week but instead I stayed up late reading Bukowski’s Ham on Rye and am now so, so, very, really tired.

Sleep deprived, blurry eyed, and marching to another cup of coffee, check out this week’s Top 5 Tuesday.

Karen O – The Moon Song

Karen O, being all-in-all perfect and genuis, wrote Moon Song for the Her soundtrack. Quiet and sweet, and perfect for piling feather pillows under arms and legs and head and curling under quilt.

Beck – Cycle

It’s strange to hear the change in Beck since I was a kid and he chanted about the Devil’s Haircut. His lo-fi, harmonious, mellow sound on his latest album Morning Phase, is the perfect nap sound track – just listening to the first track makes me feel like I’m made out of warm honey.

 

Cold Specks – Blank Maps

I had the pleasure of seeing Cold Specks perform two summers ago at the Hillside Festival in Guelph Ontario. Here’s the amazing thing about front lady Al Spyx – she moved out of home and made this album as a complete secret from friends and family because…she didn’t think she was all that good. 

Jolie Holland – Old Fashioned Morphine

Back when I worked at bars, at 4:00 a.m., after a gruelling long night of bad tips, sweaty, gropey men, and shrieking young women, this song was a go to for shutting it all away and crawling into bed.

Broken Social Scene – Anthem for a Seventeen-Year-Old GIrl

Do I really need to explain why Broken Social Scene is here? I could put them on every list – but it perfectly captures the hope that everything will be better on the other side of a dream.

 

 

Happy Birthday you Ol’ Rogue

Happy Birthday to one of the most ridiculous and ridiculously talented writers of the 20th century, Hunter S. Thompson.

Fact: Hunter S. Thompson and I both have tickle trunks

Fact: His was filled with drugs, but mine with costumes (aka. the Mr. Dress Up variety)

Fact: You cannot read Hunter S. Thompson quietly for more than 5 minutes. His words are meant to be shared. My husband hates when I read him because I keep nudging him awake with the promise of: “Just one more – it’s so good. You have to hear this.” I guess that’s what Shortlist.com had in mind when they pulled together together this list of the 25 Greatest Pieces of Wisdom from Hunter S. Thompson

“It never got weird enough for me” either love. We miss you.

 

 

Top 5 Tuesday: Rain

For some reason, I go through phases in my sleep. I’ll have a month of normalcy and randomly will stop sleeping for a few weeks at a time. I’m about half way through the latter phase, and spent the entire day thinking about how wonderful beds are, wondering why I couldn’t work from my bed. But beds are best occupied…

If I could have stayed home with husband and spent this rainy, dark day in bed my playlist would of been:

Wake Owl – Wild Country

The Smiths – Asleep

Leonard Cohen – Suzanne

Hayden – Blurry Nights

Timbre Timbre – Black Water

More Geekdom, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens

I can’t stop!

While on the final pages of American Gods I began praising American Gods to my friends and fellow book lovers I was informed that Neil Gaiman once collaborated on a book called Good Omens with an author I adore, Terry Pratchett (The Death Trilogy is just too good!). 

Book lovers – tell me your breath doesn’t catch in your throat when you realize there is a beautiful gap in your library left to explore?

Just before heading out of town for the weekend, I picked up a copy and cracked open it’s spine as we left the city (post the obligatory stop for fuel and Tim Hortons of course). For four days I made sure I was the first one awake so I could enjoy a few hours solitude sitting by lake, iced coffee in hand and bead head blowing in the breeze to read as much as I could. As the much beloveds snored softly in the cabin, I read about the end (ish) of the world. 

Good Omens is an achingly funny read exploring the end of days. When the antichrist is born, Hell has plans to place him in a home of prestige and command – however, thanks to an incompetent, chatty satanist nun things don’t go quite to plan. During the 11 years that pass, the child grows to power and finally decides the fate of the world. It’s a fate he is supposed to choose alone – despite the attempted interventions of a well intentioned demon, a questioning angel, a witch that knows the future, a league of witch hunters (well two), the voice of God and the Dukes of Hell.

Gaiman once more delivers characters so personable you want to take them by the hand – and it pairs beautifully with Pratchett’s over the top humour. If I could plan a dream dinner party I’d invite the two writers. Sorry, but you’re not invited. 

On Geekdom, Neil Gaiman and American Gods

I recently took a quiz that tested just how big of a nerd I was. After testing my knowledge of all things Star Trek, Harry Potter, Robert Jordan, Terry Brooks, Terry Pratchett, Doctor Who and more, two shortcomings were found that blocked my ascendance into the upper echelon of geekdom: Dungeons and Dragons, and Neil Gaiman.

On the Dungeons and Dragons side…I don’t even know anyone who plays it, let alone know how to find the time to do so. And frankly – it’s just not me. I prefer to keep my ridiculous imagination to myself and not compete with others with it. 

The there is a Neil Gaiman. A British author whose every co-written script for Doctor Who brought a toothy grin to my face. Books, fantasy, and British humour? This is something I can get on board with.

So i go to the bookstore and pick up the first Neil Gaiman book I see. Being a bookstore and a fan of alphabetization, this ends up being Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, and by page 17 I had fallen in love.

SPOILER ALERT. (just a little bit though)

In the story the protagonist Shadow is about to be released from prison when he is informed that both his wife and his best friend / would be employer have died in a car crash. He is released to twist in the wind when he meets a bizarre man named Wednesday. After three pints of mead, the pact is sealed. Shadow will work for Wednesday though it will take him through life and death as the gods of all time, whoever once worshipped battle for the admiration of humanity.

But it’s not just deities of yore – anything ever worshipped plays the game. From the internet, to the media, everything we’ve ever idolized. The book was published in 2001 and I can’t help but wonder what else would have made it into those pages if written today…I’m praying Gaiman would have the good taste to keep the Kardashians out of ink.

Then there is Shadow. Oh you swoon-worthy thing you makes my geekish heart skip a beat. Tall, dark, strong, handsome, loving, kind and loyal Shadow… 

It’s a must read. In the top ten fantasy books I’ve ever read. 

Top 5 Tuesday: Rock Out with your Ovaries Out

Le Tigre – Deceptacon

It ain’t a feminist dance party with out it.

Yeah Yeah Yeah’s – Clocks

Because she makes me wanna…

Bikini Kill – Rebel Girl

When I meet a new awesome lady and think “please be my friend.”

Neko Case – Hold On

Her sound might not be rock, but her personality and style show just how hardcore she is.

Janis Joplin – Piece of my Heart

To give credit where it’s due – there was a generation of women that had to fight to prove women could rock and clear the way for the many talented musicians to follow.

Life Lessons Learned from the Garden

Despite having what I refer to as a “black thumb,” I’ve managed to maintain a modest herb garden in my postage stamp sized back yard. Using found rocks and bricks, we built two raised beds last summer and planted our favourites: parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, chives and mint.

Fast forward a year later and a bit of a “laissez faire” philosophy and our garden has transformed into a jungle of mint. The mint has strangled our basil. It has bludgeoned our poor rosemary into submission. The chives have survived, but I suspect they may have developed Stockholm Syndrome. In fact, the mint has even managed to gain ground on the ivy that had previously dominated our little green patch.

My backyard garden

My backyard garden

Desperate to use what we’ve grown, my husband has gone into heavy research to find new recipes. I, on the other hand, have just relied on the old stand-bys with greater frequency. By old stand-bys I mean I’ve been drinking a lot of mint juleps.

Mint Infused Bourbon

Rather than muddling, and having to pick bits of green leaf from your tongue, I make a mint infused bourbon. The alcohol naturally extracts the mint flavour and requires no effort, though a day’s patience

  • Take 3-4 stalks of mint, thoroughly rinse, strip leaves and place in a mason jar
  • Empty a bottle of cheap bourbon into a mason jar with the mint leaves and let sit for 8 hours
  • Strain out leaves

Simple Syrup

  • Dissolve sugar (cane or white preferred) into equal parts boiled water
  • Let cool

The Perfect Mint Julep

  • Fill a low-ball glass with (preferably chipped) ice
  • Pour equal parts mint infused bourbon and simple syrup over ice
  • Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint
  • Let sit for 3-5 minutes before drinking, allowing the ice to dissolve and bring out the fresh mint flavour

These mint juleps are the perfect drink for a sunny afternoon, whether you’re lounging with a good book or entertaining. It just goes to show that sometimes a bit of chaos can lead to something extraordinary. Especially when you have a bottle of bourbon on hand.