Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Oryx & Crake

I caught up on some reading while suffering from food poisoning.  Why let those tainted mussels win, right?  (They kind of won a little bit).  There is nothing like a dystopian novel to make you feel better.  Hey, you may feel terrible but at least you don't have a virulent bacterial infection that will kill you, you just suspect you might. 

Oryx and Crake was the first in a trilogy by Margaret Atwood, who is awesome at all of her various genres. It's not fun-times for our narrator, although he is a kind of dipstick. Of course it is well written an interesting as you would expect nothing less from her. The trilogy is finished and this first book was written ten years ago so it is not fair to make fun of people in the future watching CD-ROMS. It does seem so stupid now. Maybe they make a comeback like vinyl records.

I know that dystopian novels are supposed to be depressing and a kind of wake up call to mend our wicked ways but why can't they have a bright side?  Why can't we solve global warming by having cute bikes or riding tricked out cable cars, have condos on the moon, nanobots that kill cancer and eat carbs without consequences.  I want to live in that future.  I think authors just do not want to envision a future that is better than the one we live in now.  They think, how dare my grandchildren live better than me--SCREW THE GRANDCHILDREN--you will be eating your own poop someday! 

Our dipstick narrator likes beer--real beer-- and who doesn't?  I truly think we are living in the golden age of craft beer so go out there and find some awesome ones.  Locally I have been enjoying Rhinegeist's Zen which is an American Pale Ale (less alcohol than an IPA), but there are some fun stuff coming out of Salt Lake City--I know! (apparently it has more heathens than you think) from Uinta Brewing Co. These lighter pale ales go with food--not tainted food--not your own poop--just decent normal food.   

Friday, September 26, 2014


The real 1984 wasn't like 1984.  While there were idiots wearing overalls in the real 1984, those dummies were mostly overzealous fans of Dexi's Midnight Runners.  Also, I refuse to call overalls "dungarees," Craig.  That's just crazy. 

I never read 1984 in high school, but I should have, I suppose.  That would have been a good time to read it.  Now, well…. there is no doubt that this was an incredibly important book at the time but I feel like dude, we get it.  The huge manifesto the protagonist reads to us… I got it.  That may not be fair, since Orwell wrote this, society has lived through China's Cultural Revolution, Kim Jong Il and the juggernaut that is One Direction. 

One of my favorite things about reading books from the past about the future is the predictions.  He predicted something like Siri called speakwrite but in 1984 they were at least discreet when they used it. Now Siri involves a lot of shouting: SIRI, WHERE IS THE NEAREST CHIPOTLE?  One thing Orwell didn't predict was that we would stop using the word "counterpane" for bedspread.  Or as most of us call it, "the covers." Sir, mind the counterpane! You are soiling it!

Drinks: In 1984 they drink Victory Gin which apparently is kind of nasty. Normally I don't like to suggest a drink that is so "on the nose" but I can't resist this gin based drink from my friend Rob.  The Communist: 1 oz. London Dry Gin, 1 oz. orange juice, 3/4 oz. lemon juice, 1/2 Cherry Herring.  Stir in a glass with ice, strain and serve straight up.  Apparently there is an old Czechoslovakian communist slogan that was "No Grain to Waste."  Indeed.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Last Night in Montreal

I absolutely love Montreal.  Of course I went in the summer because in the winter it is all about the Vortex Poliere.  I don't speak French but it wasn't a big deal as we only interacted with two people who couldn't speak English.  Even that wasn't a problem because when you smile, nod and hand people a wad of money, everything seems to always work out.

Last night in Montreal is partially set in Montreal. It is a "sort-of" mystery (not really) about a girl abducted by a non-custodial parent and her issues as an adult.  The plot also includes all the weirdoes that become obsessed with her. This book is ok.  I could relate to the characters  that felt cold because I work in an overly-air-conditioned-kill-the-environment-and-kill-me-while-you-are-at-kind-of-places.  I don't understand why it is 90 degrees and I can't feel my fingers.  I have not ruled out that I may be dead inside. 

The author, Emily St. John Mandel, is an adorable pixie girl who studied dance.  She is exactly the type of girl a guy would travel 14 hours on a train ride just to see one more time.  I, however, cannot get my husband to walk 14 feet to come to the kitchen to get something off a high shelf.  Usually, I am forced to climb the kitchen cabinets like some kind of spider monkey.  C'est la vie. 

Montreal has some amazing cocktail bars (Canadians + France = glug glug) and I'm pretty sure I need to go back there to do more "research."  How about a Frenchy cocktail you can sip wherever you live? (Provided you have a very well-stocked liquor cabinet)  The Lumiere: 1&1/2 ounces of gin, 1 ounce St. Germain, 3/4 ounce lime juice, 3/4 ounce Chartreuse, dash of orange bitters.   Combine the ingredients and stir with ice.  Strain into a coupe and garnish with a lime twist.