Friday, September 22, 2017

Atlas Obscura

This book is like an adult picture book. Wait, that sounds wrong. Coffee table book?  Is that still a thing? I have an ottoman.  Not an Ottoman, that would be weird.  Speaking of weird, you may like this book, it's like an encyclopedia of the strange and wonderful things all over the world and the very thing I would have been obsessed with in the fifth grade.  I read The Guinness Book of World Records over and over. I had a big hardback edition with all of the pictures of crazy long mustaches, fat twins on motorcycles, and pictures of gold nuggets, weird seeds and diamonds of all sorts. Among an informal survey of fellow nerds, I was not the only one.

If a typical news day includes both Taylor Swift and Ivanka Trump, you want, no you need, a sense of wonder. Well, that's what Atlas Obscura is for. This catalogs the weird, creepy and funky stuff you may have missed.  Maybe you've even been to one or two of these, fancy pants. I've heard of several of them but most of it is new to me--but that's the whole point!  Did you know some British physician made a bizarre weather predictor trying to use leeches?  It's called the tempest prognosticator, it's actually a beautiful object, doesn't work of course, but it's pretty awesome. (I like the idea that it does work and all the meteorologists secretly have leeches at the station). I don't care about old cold war silos and "museums" which are really just hoarders who collected a bunch of crap but there is plenty in this book that is just cool.  If you don't think so then you are just dead inside. I'm 74th Level Ennui Master and I still found plenty of wonderment.  You should read a couple of pages right before you go to a party just in case you have a boring emergency.  Everyone there will think you are weird and a massive nerd but it would be better than talking for hours about their job, or baseball, or the weather this weekend, or the new truck they just bought or that they think they are getting a cold. Be less boring! Read this book.

I heard maple is the new pumpkin for fall. Be trendy and drink this cocktail called Thyme Will Tell (sigh): 2 ounces of bourbon, 1/2 ounce maple syrup, 1/2 ounce lemon juice, spring of thyme.  Muddle the thyme and stir ingredients and serve on the rocks.  Garnish with a lemon peel.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Archivist Wasp

Sullen, defiant warriors that are ruggedly independent yet secretly compassionate, compelled to aid the helpless, and topple the totalitarian system.....sound familiar? Well, that's because that's the plot of every single young adult dystopian novel. Step one, make their names a little weird, step two have them be reluctant but devastating warriors, step three have at least one character who is a loner and finds a kindred soul. are done! Congrats you have written your novel!  If you like this take, you should follow Dana Schwartz's Dystopian YA Novel Twitter feed. It is so dead-on it will kind of ruin you.  Honestly, it is truly a bright spot on the grim landscape that is social media these days.

So, I really wanted to like this book by Nicole Kornher-Stace. I promised myself after reading All Our Wrong Todays that I must read more women authors. Then I tried reading Margret Atwood's newish book and I hated it and stopped. Then I read this book and was underwhelmed. Dang it!  I need some prescription Ursula Le Guin STAT. She's still alive I just checked. She is very old but they are making a TV series about The Left Hand of Darkness. Winter is coming....and it's not leaving...ever.  

Wasp, our main character--ah ha! Is a fierce but reluctant gladiator-type warrior ah-ha! that fights humans once a year and ghosts all of the other days of the year. She meets a very special ghost and they go off to have an adventure. There are a several cool ideas in here but it was just so all over the place. While I love a good plot this is mostly plot. For as exciting as it is, I kept putting it down, and for a book like this, that's not good. Some people like it though.

Ok, I know that wasps don't make honey--apparently they will steal it and eat the larva too--but why don't you read this with a honey based cocktail--mostly because it sounds delicious.
Bricks and Ivy: 3 slices of cucumber, muddled, 1 and 1/2 ounces of lime vodka (I would bet you could use regular vodka), 1/2 ounce St. Germain, 1/2 ounce honey simple syrup (one to one ratio) and 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice. Shake the ingredients and strain into a rocks glass topped with ice and garnish with a cucumber.