16 December 2011

Bossypants by Tina Fey


I have been fond of Tina Fey since I first saw her as the new co-anchor of Weekend Update on SNL.   I followed her to 30 Rock with great pleasure, and when I read that she had written a book I eagerly awaited it.
Bossypants is one of the funniest reads I have had in a long time, as well as one of the breeziest - I made my way through it in only two days without ever feeling like I was spending an inordinate amount of time reading.
While at first glance it appears to style itself as a book about work - about being the boss - it was instead more like a trip inside Tina Fey's brain, in which I as a reader got to glimpse her wit and humor unfiltered.
A loosely arranged collection of musings, rants, and reminiscences, at times the book felt almost as if you were just having a conversation with Tina - or would it be Mrs. Fey? While there were chapters about "being a boss" and "being a working mom" - the more interesting chapters, to me, were those in which the author simply reflected on life. I especially enjoyed her recollections of her parents,most notably her accounts of people meeting her father, Don Fey.
Bossypants was, at its heart, an extremely fun read, and it made a nice breather after some of the heavier stuff I’ve been reading for research.

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Books: Still on Lord of the Rings.

Bottles: Nothing new.

Writing: Nothing new.  Still taking a break and letting people read ITSS for feedback.

Guitar: "Learn to Fly," oblique bends, "Coming Back to Life."

14 December 2011

Chateau Trois Moulins 2006 Haut-Medoc

I drank Chateau Trois Moulins 2006 in a restaurant in Louisville called Z-Fusion, along with a dinner of purple gnocchi with arugula.  While it was not, perhaps, the best of pairings, I am always excited to get to explore French wines.  I tend to order them at restaurants more often than I buy them in stores, especially a finer restaurant, as I trust the restaurant to find something that will be good.
It was a deep garnet color, with a heady nose of oak and spice.  Like most Bordeaux wines I have experienced, it was a sumptuous wine, with great complexity of both smell and flavor.  It had supple fruits which gave way to a punch of acidity; as it transformed on my tongue, it again revealed plenty of oak, herbs, and spice.

I truly need to explore France more; I find I lack the necessary breadth of experience to offer any truly meaningful comparisons.  I look forward to the chance to do so!

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Books: Reading The Lord of the Rings, as I do each December.

Bottles: Had some Alamos 2010 Malbec recently.  I think I’m ready to find a new table wine.

Guitar: Working on a oblique bending exercise, and started on “Learn to Fly.”  I think next week I might also start on “A Pocketful of Stones,” from David Gilmour’s On an Island.  We’ll see.

Writing: Actually, pondering a short story that would take place within the Lovecraft mythos, albeit in modern times.  And on February 1 I will be launching into the third draft of Into the Shining Sun, as well as beginning the long process of trying to secure an agent.  Wow!

08 December 2011

The Colour Out of Space


The Colour Out of Space by HP Lovecraft
The second short story in my Lovecraft collection was The Colour Out of Space. It tells the story of a meteor that crashes in the Blasted Heath outside of Arkham, Massachusetts, releasing a non-corporeal entity that can only be described as "a colour" into the farm of the Gardner family.  The story is told in the first person by a character interviewing Ammi Pierce who witnessed the events which occurred.
 Stylistic similarities to The Call of Cthulhu were immediately apparent: New England setting, first person narration, cosmic entity beyond the scope of human understanding.  What I found most compelling about Colour was, perhaps, the inexplicability of the creature: that those who saw it were incapable of processing its appearance. The descent into madness of those who were exposed to it, and the blind denials of the townsfolk and the scientific community, were realistically portrayed, frustrating though the latter were.
As a tale of terror I think perhaps Colour was slightly more successful in generating the necessary anxiety in the reader; on the other hand, the sense of grim foreboding and the fascinating depiction of R'lyeh made Call the more enduring in memory.
Both were enjoyable and I look forward to exploring Lovecraft's work further.  Meanwhile I shall enjoy playing in the world he created - my friends and I have become devotees of the Arkham Horror board game and play it frequently.

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Books: Still finishing On Grief and Grieving for ITSS.

Bottles: Nothing much new.

Writing: Finished(!) the second draft of Into the Shining Sun.  Will take a break from it for a while and take a look at it again in the New Year.  Meanwhile had thoughts of a short story that could be fun to work on in the interim, featuring some elements of Lovecraft's mythos.

Guitar: "Coming Back to Life," "Study in A," and a new oblique bending study which is proving quite exciting!

05 December 2011

Vietti Barbere d'Asti 2009 Tre Vigne


I enjoyed the Vietti Barbera d’Asti 2009 in the same meal as the Lagaria Pinot Grigio Delle Venezia 2010, at Tannin Wine Bar in Kansas City.  This one I shared as a bottle with several friends, and we all enjoyed it.  I’ve been trying to explore the wines of Piedmont lately, so the chance to enjoy this well-priced bottle was too good to pass up.
The wine was a dark, inky ruby color.  It displayed a heady nose of oak and spice, a potent smell I’ve come to associate with most Italian wines.  My vocabulary does not seem to be developed enough to explain the differences I felt between its nose and that of, say, a French or Californian red.
The wine was youthful without being overwhelming, full of dark fruits.  Truth be told I was expecting something far more tannic, but it felt relatively balanced, with a lingering dryness on the finish.  It was enjoyable with the risotto, though it came too late to have with the cheese.  Still, it held up well to the risotto, and would have been pleasant on its own as well, I think.


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Books: Reading On Grief and Grieving for research for Into the Shining Sun.
Bottles: Just Alamos Malbec lately.
Writing: Finished Chapter Twenty!  Woo!  Only two chapters and an epilogue left to go.  I plan to finish it tomorrow, then make a few tweaks before calling it a draft.  Also been ruminating on a short story idea that might take place in Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos, in a roundabout way.
Guitar: Sadly haven’t played as much as I wanted this week since some work came up with unusual hours.  Also dedicated a lot of potential practicing time to writing.

01 December 2011

Lagaria Pinot Grigio Delle Venezia 2010


I had the chance to try a glass of Lagaria Pinot Grigio Delle Venezia 2010 at Tannin Wine Bar in Kansas City where I had lunch a while back.  I was having risotto for lunch and decided to test out a pair of Italian wines.

The Pinot Grigio was a pale straw color, with a nose of sweet fruits, especially apricot.  I don't usually seek out Pinot Grigio, but this one was enticing.  On the tongue, it had a mellow, round acidity, with jammy flavors and a finish that again exhibited the flavor of apricot.

I had a 2-ounce pour to taste, so there was not much chance for experimentation, though I did have it with  some of the cheese from our cheese plate.  I don't recall any major interactions, but it did handle the creaminess of the cheese well.

It was a fun wine, but ultimately not one I will especially seek out again.

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Books: Catching up on magazines right now.  I'm focusing on those and on finishing my second draft of ITSS before I start on my annual Lord of the Rings read.

Bottles: Had a bottle of 2007 Ramey Claret over Thanksgiving which was, as expected, phenomenal.

Writing: On Chapter 17 of ITSS.  Trying to get back into the habit of doing a chapter a day after falling out of it over the course of my trips.

Guitar: Working on "Coming Back to Life" and looking at "Learn to Fly" as well as Carcassi's Study in A.