Reviews: Chickpea And Where’d You Go Bernadette

Here are some reviews.

Chickpea

Service was horrible. I asked the waitress what beers were on tap, she said “They are on the board,” that I couldn’t read as it was halfway across the restaurant and parallel with me. To avoid any awkwardness, I simply said “Oh.” She walked off. When she came back, I asked once more, this time stating I couldn’t see the board. She said, “A lager, a pilsner, a pale ale.” Needless to say, I didn’t order a beer.

 

With such disinterested service, I figured the food had to be fantastic. Why else would people continually flock to this place? I was wrong, it’s some of the blandest food I’ve tasted. It’s on par with lowest common denominator targeting workplace cafeteria food that needs to feed masses and offend as few palates as possible. To their credit, they do know how to plate and make the food look very presentable. However, I’d gladly take a hit in that department to avoid eating a potato that has had nothing done to it other than making it not raw.

 

Those wanting Lebanese or Mediterranean fare should go to Nuba or JamJar. Both restaurant’s flavors are superior. Heck for that matter, go to any hole in the wall donair joint and you’ll also save a couple of bucks.

Where’d You Go Bernadette

Simply put, I love this book. Mental health and biting social commentary permeate the pages. There’s a lot to mull over and empathize with. I started out thinking, “I know these people,” by the end I was thinking, “I am these people.” As I closed it for the last time, I wanted to immediately open it up and do it all over again.

 


 

Little Free Library: Sin Bins


 

Little Free Libraries was blowing up on twitter the other morning. Like any good blogger, I followed the trend, albeit hesitantly. I thought to myself, Oh good gahwd, what are the lefties up to? Why do you believe it’s the lefties and aren’t you a lefty, what would your friends say? Well, because only lefties could find the faults with and complain about Little Free Libraries. It’s probably that they are only in “well off” neighborhoods or have uncurated collections. And yes, I am on the left side of things, but I’m not a silly goose and I think my friends would agree. Even the more conservative ones. They may think I’m destined for hell, but at least I’m not a silly goose.

It turns out I was right, about everything. I clicked Little Free Libraries and was mystically whisked away to a land* of buzzkills. “They are only in affluent neighborhoods where there is no shortage of books,” and “they are just random piles of books,” some people with presumably nasally voices and a penchant for 1950’s British Comedy said. There were others that basically said the same thing. Then, I found patient zero. A blog post from a librarian in cahoots with another librarian.

They had more arguments that seemed to get stuck on the words, “free” and “library.” That a Little Free Library isn’t “free” and costs at least $130, if not just south of $1000 – for the true narcissistic philanthropist – to build. In fact, the author of the post said she spent $600 on her own Little Free Library, so she could conduct her study. As for “library,” well, libraries offer many services and have more books. Which is actually where the word free should come into play, but it was well spent on the dollar amount of the construction price. Perhaps if we called Little Free Libraries, Little Non-Taxpayer Funded, Subsidized, or Affiliated with the Government In Any Way and Therefore Non-Curated Pile of Random Books, it would clear up most of the argument. Put them in “less well-to-do” communities and book deserts and we’re done.

I’ve seen the Little Free Libraries near me thrive. Just because it’s in a good neighborhood doesn’t mean people have money to buy books or have the energy and schedules that facilitate trips to the two libraries that are within three kilometers. People of the community rally and continually trade books back and forth. One’s used Dan Brown is another’s Margaret Atwood.

Let’s take a page from The Politicians Hand Book for Arguing Good: A Table Flippers Guide to Appearing to Win Any Argument By Having The Whoops and Chortles of Your Lemming Followers Drown Out Your Opponent – I picked it up at my local Little Free Library. “If one isn’t in favor of Little Free Libraries, then that person wants people to simply throw away old, unwanted books. Mountains of outdated and ancient** texts will appear at landfills. As these books break down, the pulp and ink will strangle sea turtles. (Allows for gasping and bleats of fear.) And if they don’t want you to throw them away, I don’t know, maybe they want you to burn them, like Nazi’s. (Give’s time for cheering to subside.)”

 


 

*Feed.

**From the eighties.

Birthday BBQin’

Now time for something a little less heavy. I know that many of my recent topics have been about political and social issues. Then I had a few terse words for smokers yesterday. Today is going to be different! [Steps down off of soapbox. Digs index fingers into the corners of lips and pulls up. Although to some it may appear that I am baring my teeth, I am indeed smiling.]

I recently had a birthday. Basically, a trilogy of days filled with back to back excellence. I would say that it all began when I was finishing up a previous blog post, listening to jazz with a tumbler of Glenlivet at my side. Not a double as I don’t want to end up drunk dialling on my blog.

My wife was busy in the kitchen baking an absolutely delicious carrot cake from scratch. She stayed up late finishing it for the party the next day. Even though the cake had cooled, it was so warm in our place that the frosting kept melting. She had to intermittently put the cake back in the fridge.

For the party we had a small group of people over. There was plenty of food, even though the entire day I was worried that there wasn’t going to be enough. Guests brought stuff too so in the end we had tofu burgers, veggie dogs, corn, potatoes, salad, an assortment of chips and of course beer. Plenty of beers from the local breweries. Delicious.

On top of a google play card, my wife also got me a writing journal that at the moment is still blank, but I have been carrying it around with me. Some other friends gave me some beers and some books and in general the gift of friendship. Just showing up was gift enough!

While it wasn’t intended as a gift, being told that Nazareth is responsible for Hair of the Dog also counts. I wasn’t alone in thinking it was AC/DC, although other than the part where he is screaming “ASUNUVBITCH!” it sounds nothing like AC/DC.

The BBQ was a great time! In fact after everyone had gone home I just kept saying, “We should do that again, maybe this time with tacos!” The feature image is of what remains of the carrot cake. In hindsight we should have taken a picture when it was whole, but forgot in the heat of the moment.

Another Article, Another Print Books Are Dead Headline. Part Two: Elf Boobs and Bastard Swords.

(Continued From)

  When you woke up, you were older and more sentient. You knew everything, particularly what you liked. Elf boobs and bastard swords! You had started reading Choose Your Own Adventures and Goosebumps. Started hanging out with the twins, maybe the Majeres, could have been Sweet Valley High. Damnit if both sets of twins didn’t have a lot of books. All of which looked great on your shelves. The Majeres were all about big muscles and bad attitudes. Regardless if you were the suavest wearer of braces and Z. Cavaricci’s on the planet, the minute the ladies saw those books, you were stonewalled. Something your parents knew all along. Which is why they kept buying you all those Dragonlance books. They were nothing if not the last line of defence in protecting your perpetual virginity.

  You moved out. Maybe you went to college, maybe your parents were crushing your rock n’roll dreams, maybe you just moved out. Either way, there was probably a box of books you took with you. A box that taught you to lift the legs and not with the back. In that new place, your first place away from your parents, nothing felt right. There was too much empty space. Then you unloaded the box onto your shelf and you felt better. Heck, you were home.

  You had roommates who also brought their heavy boxes of books. The weird kid who brought Pratchett, the gothyish kid who brought all the Ann Rice, the english major who brought a lot of shit you had never heard of. You all started trading and swapping. Learning about other works and worlds you had never heard of.

  Maybe you met the one and started to cohabitate. You started getting more money and a burning desire to live with less roommates. Either way, you got more books. Now you had more than one box, but you had it under control because you knew to lift with your legs. “Fahkenbok!” You breathlessly grunt through clenched teeth as you try desperately to not have your spine unravel as you carry the final and heaviest box up the stairs.

  Years pass. You had to downsize or had so many books you were running out of space. Reading is a hard thing to give up, so you get an e-reader. Maybe you held onto your books, at least some of them. You could still always pick up the rare print book. The one that completes your collection. There is always the library, which is like the best bookstore on earth. It’s like shop lifting, but with a return policy. Besides, how many of those damn Dragonlance books do you really need to own? Are you quoting from them? Referencing them in relation to dealing with issues in your own life?  Unless you have a sword, the ability to cast fireball, or know a real life hill dwarf, you may have issues practically applying such problem solving methods.

(Continued)

Another Article, Another Print Books Are Dead Headline. Part One: The Cynic and The Fox.

 Oh fuck me, here we go again, for the umpteenth time. I am sorry for the opening, but there is just no other way around it. Another article by somebody forcing someone to write something they don’t want to. Quota is quota. Got mouths to feed! What better way to kick start an article than to become an authority and declare something near death. Like vinyl, painting, or trans fat and the people that eat it. However, this article was about print books.

  I am sure we have all seen articles like this. The ones that are waving goodbye to print books while adjusting the e-reader’s settings to look more like paper. In my opinion, Jane Austen is more sepia than umber and Clancy is soul sucking black against pupil nuking white. I am not some hermetical luddite who doesn’t own a few e-books. I have many and I enjoy reading on my tablet. I am just really tired of reading about the impending doom of print books by death dealing epubs. Yes, I know I don’t have to read the articles, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. I thrive on frustration and disappointment. And this isn’t about me, this is about books. Real, honest to google books made of paper.

  “Children’s books on a tablet?” I ask while I wipe down my whiskey soaked bar with what appears to be an old grimey rag. “Well that sounds like fun.” I answer as I ring out my whiskey drenched rag, revealing that it is magical and turns whiskey into sarcasm. Punctuating my sentence. Allowing my bar to be thoroughly soaked once more. Albeit this time in sarcasm.

  I can see how some children’s books could use the tablet and amp up the interactive experience. Going places books couldn’t go before. A few traditional kid’s books on the old tablet couldn’t hurt either I guess. It could be fun and I sincerely mean that, but there is something important we are missing, something vital.

  Don’t you remember being a kid? You had books on your bookshelf, they were big and small. Some fat, some tall. You got a lot from your grandmother and some from the bookstore in the mall. You loved them equally though, one, two, three and all.

  They looked great on your shelf. You would get excited just by looking at them and thinking about all the wonderful worlds and characters they contained. You’d grab a book that was half your size, hugging it in both arms and drag it to your designated adult reader. Drop it on the ground, pitch it up on the couch. They would give in and let you pick one more book from your pile before bed. Remember that paper smell? Remember the feeling of the paper as you would turn the pages? Crackle crackle, oh the sound. Remember drifting off to sleep?

 (Continued)

I’m So Excited!

  People get so excited when they hear their favorite book, comic book, video game or whatever is going to be made into a TV show, movie, or other media. Regardless of who is attached as writer, director, or any other information. Mere seconds have passed since the announcement. People scream and shake with violent glee as they tweet their own casting calls and scream praise. Who is acting? Who is directing? Who is writing? “Errrrrrmaaaahhhgaaaaahhhhd! Going to be soooooooooo gooooooood.” Alright, who cares!

  Some people may slow down after thirty tweets and twitchily realize the potential for soiling something they love, is huge. Some will never realize it and walk blindly into season two of The Walking Dead. There will be confusion, anger, and people at work talking about the TV show adapted from a book they haven’t heard of. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad those people are watching it. This isn’t about elitism. We aren’t talking about them. [Grabs you by the shirt and shakes] We are talking about you and why you are so fucking excited! The dang thing was just announced via twitter three seconds ago! You don’t know a damn thing except someone is making another version of something you love! Oh look, here is the creepy android version of your mom! Good, but something isn’t quite right. [Lets go of shirt]

  Why get so excited about something you love getting made into another media? It is just another media. A media that quite possibly wasn’t the first choice because it wasn’t the best choice. You love the story the way it is. All six thousand pages! Why condense it to a two hour movie? How can you still be excited when you know they are going to expand a one hundred and twenty page book into a trilogy of three hour movies? You read it faster than you can watch it! What the hell! Casting! Writing! There are so many ways this stuff can go wrong and has. Do we even need to experience this? Could it be like having a coffee grinder that plays “La Cucaracha” when you use it? Mostly unnecessary, although amusing. Why are you so excited with such little information? See how it pans out, then get excited! This way, you won’t be disappointed. I’m just trying to protect you, like a bearded blogging big brother.

  To be honest though, I can’t wait for a Full House comic book. I’ve always wondered what would have happened in season nine. Plus, there could be a Joey vs. Doomsday issue.

  “That would be amazing! I’m going to google a pre-order right now!” You say.

  Don’t! Don’t you dare! You just failed your test! Have you learned nothing?

  “I think Keanu would portray your expansive range of cynical anger in Zweihander Plus Ein, the movie!”

  Don… You really think so? You think my hair is that good? That would be amazing.

  “And R. Lee Ermey would play you as an old man.”

  Now we’re talkin’! That one was bang-on!

  “You know that book you’ve been working would make a great movie and comic book! There is so much story there!”

  Man! You’re totally right! Who do you think would play the main characters? Errrmaahhhgaahd!

 Going to be soooooooooo gooooooood.  Ah, crap!