Monday, April 16, 2018

The Stranger in the Woods

I think we've all had moments when we wanted to get away from people. I mean you got the weirdos, sickos, pigs, creepers, harassers, pervs, bros, jerks, pedants and tyrants. Oh, and the sports freaks. That's just the men. Then you've got the haters, bitches, fake ding-dongs, bossy, passive-aggressive, busy-bodies, manipulators and gossipers. Whew, I mean there are moments when you just want to live in the woods and not speak a word to anyone for 25 years.  Right? Well, it would be hard to keep all the jokes to yourself though. I feel like laughing at yourself in the woods might be abhorrent behavior.   

This is a biography of Christopher Knight, you might remember him as the dude that lived like a hermit in a tent for 25 years in Maine....including all of those winters. Yikes. He made most of his supplies but stole most of his stuff and all of his food from the neighbors. He was like a ninja thief. They finally caught him with Homeland Security technology. He's a little odd. At first I kind of was like ok, ok, I get it but I looked up photos of him.  And in his photos he looks like a younger Larry David but with Stephen Miller's shark eyes. Ever meet someone and you're like, who are you fooling?  I'm pretty sure you are a sociopath. Christopher did have a sweet tooth but I never trust someone who doesn't like desserts. Although sometimes those people are simply alcoholics.

Stranger in the Woods is a weird biography because Christopher had mixed feelings about discussing his life so Michael Finkel had to stretch out some of the material. It would have been a better magazine article rather than a short book but overall I enjoyed it.  I'm fascinated by survival stories and preppers and things.  I think if we couldn't leave the house how long could we live on the food we have. I figure the liquor cabinet could be like the "bank" and if I had clean water and electricity I could live pretty long on all of my damn quinoa and two dozen artisan grains. But....the cats would get "hangry" and try to eat my face and then my mental musings start to fall apart. 

Apparently, Christopher did occasionally steal liquor but had to take what he could get including strawberry schappes and margarita mix.  We can do better than that.  I'm thinking something woodsy and botanical but a bit more sophisticated.  How about a Lavender Bourbon Cocktail: First make a simple syrup but with a mix of sugar and honey. Then add a vanilla bean (or 1 tsp extract) and 3 tablespoons culinary grade lavender and cook a little further about 10 minutes. Cool and strain. In a highball glass with ice, use one ounce of this syrup, 2 to 3 ounces of decent bourbon, juice of 1/2 lime, and 4 ounces of ginger ale. Stir and serve with a lime slice. Enjoy the simple fact you can have ice in the summer.   

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Library at Mount Char

Talking animals will get many cool points in my estimation. But bad jokes will not. People love this book and I get some of the appeal, it has an interesting "world." And there is a wizard's school (more or less) and a library. Oh, a few talking animals. Or the ability to talk to animals. Cool, cool...all good things...but it also has do I put this delicately....butt-stuff. A great deal of butt-stuff actually. While mostly a fantasy, horror/dystopian book it attempts humor at times. But the humor is not really my style. Imagine Howard Stern but he grew up the South.  Barbecues, chewing tobacco, copious amounts of cursing and a lot things stuffed up butts. Oh, well, one guy pooped his pants, technically that is stuff coming out, but you get the picture.

Most people think it's a weird wild romp. A few people think the mythology is a mess and doesn't follow enough rules. I did know in advance that it was violent, which is certainly true. Maybe I'm dead inside but that doesn't bother me as much as the lame jokes. This book reminds me of Good Omens but instead of the British Dad jokes (eye roll) it's more lets shove an AR-15 up a guy's butt. (squints). There is a little homophobic thing going on here and a lot of rape references (most of those aren't jokes). This was published in 2015 and already comes off kind of tone deaf. Still, it got good reviews. To me, it's very 13 year old bro fantasy. Brantasy? One bad guy is so tough but doesn't understand clothes so he wears a flak jacket and a tutu. "He was wearing what? A tutu?" "Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's a tutu." That dialog is reiterated at least a dozen times. Can you do an eye roll and squint at the same time? I'd better not.

Scott Hawkins, like Andy Weir, was a computer programmer and I seem to remember a lot of lame jokes in The Martian too. Was it boob jokes? Apparently computer programmer + body part jokes = bestseller.  'Merica! I'm not including Murkami in here because he's his own brand of weird and also uniquely Japanese. Plus his ear fetish and boob comparison charts are not jokes to, those are serious matters.

I think there is a joke about a monster named Barry O'Shea. I can't remember if he was a Lovecraftian monster or a iceberg with feet. I'm cool with either. Pardon the pun but why not drink a spring berry cocktail? Berry Breeze: 2 ounces of vodka, 4-5 blackberries, 1/4 ounce lime juice--muddle the berries with the vodka in a shaker with ice and shake with the lime juice.  Pour into a rocks glass with ice and top with ginger beer.  Stir gently and garnish with a lime wheel and blackberry.