Food

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There is so much about food on the internet. Much of it beautifully photographed (unlike this unfocussed photo). Most of it depicting scrumptious looking, calorie-laden food. The sort of food that health-conscious humans are trying to resist on a daily, if not hourly basis. I am no less susceptible to temptation than the next guy, and I have an insistent sweet tooth, but I find what gets me excited enough to want to post a picture of my dinner online is a tasty dish whipped up out of nothing from whatever healthy ingredients I happen to have on hand.

This dish started with a tin which had been waiting patiently in my cupboard for just the right occasion, probably involving guests and garlic and red wine. It looked forlorn, so I spontaneously decided to rescue its contents. Gave the contents a whiff. Smelled like nothing – which is usually a good sign. I decanted into a tupperware container and ate something else for dinner that night and the next. The afternoon of the third day, however, I recalled my intention and decided that, since I had on hand ingredients that seemed like they would be complimentary, I ought to honour it.

So, I slowly sauteed some chopped fresh garlic in a combo of olive oil, butter, anchovy paste and thyme on medium heat. Added the items in the tupperware container. Let them absorb the flavours for a bit. Added chopped, ripe grape tomatoes and some chopped arugula stems. Waited a bit. It looked a bit dry. Decided white wine would suit better than red, but didn’t have any, so added a splash of Lillet. Added one shredded radicchio leaf. Waited another bit and added the  shredded arugula. When all was wilted I topped some whole wheat spagettini with the whole lot. Gobbled it down accompanied by a Lillet spritzer. It needed some chopped green olives but was otherwise a rather delicate and subtlely flavoured way to enjoy escargot.

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Guitar Heroes

kevin breit playing

I went to see a local guitarist, Kevin Breit, the other night.  (He played solo at the Melody Bar at 9:00 and then again at 10:30 for a regular monthly gig with the Sister Euclid at the Orbit Room.)

He was interesting to watch, sure, but why did I just choose the word “see” to describe what I was up to? For most of the second show, I had my eyes closed. I was hearing, feeling, swooning, grooving, picturing, imagining, remembering, contemplating and mourning, but I was not using my eyes. The music was so penetrative it drugged me; it invaded my body, my brain and my psyche, pushing around the molecules and triggering the synapses, digging up old memories and cradling them.

Kevin’s extreme musicianship took me back to a previous incarnation of myself when life seemed to be all about absorbing and feeling. I could almost sense the world just as I had many decades ago, experiencing Jimi Hendrix and Alvin Lee at the Isle of Wight festival and Al Kooper at the le Hibou coffeehouse in Ottawa, or just lying on the living room couch with my eyes closed, listening to Donovan, the Beatles, Tchaikovsky, Cream, Georges Moustaki, Paul Butterfield, Led Zeppelin, Janis and King Crimson on the hi-fi, moving on to stereophonic  Pink Floyd, Dylan, Beethoven, Jeff Beck, Bonnie Raitt, Miles and Marley, Roxy Music, George Jones, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Jane Siberry, Joshua Redman, Tricky, Arcade Fire, Jon & Roy.  I remembered, not for the first time, how much I have relied on music for emotional therapy. No wonder we humans sing and whistle to ourselves. No wonder a world devoid of birdsong is a meme for apocalypse.

Since that show, I have been more receptive to all the music I listen to, in clubs, in the car and at home. I let the sound wash through me more completely. I let my mind wander further. I let it evoke deeper memories. I use the music to turn off the eternally playing, nattering tapes of indecision and insecurity.

The Café

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It was cool for early September – late afternoon. The sun was stretching, peering past the corner of the building opposite. I was waiting on a cafe patio for a friend who was late. She isn’t usually late, but had stopped to help a young man she didn’t know help a middle-aged man he didn’t know.  The middle-aged man had fallen on the stairs, gashing an arm and breaking his leg.

I had arrived early and brought a couple of chairs over to the only empty table.  One of these chairs was initially occupied by a purse and when I asked the woman next to it if I could take the chair, she had to think about it for a moment, indicating with a sideways nod that perhaps her purse deserved it as much as my, as yet imaginary, companion.  She agreed to let it go charmingly, with an Eastern European accent . She was very attractive in that idiosyncratic way that people from formerly communist countries can be. I suppose that having had to live for years without any depth to her sartorial choices, she knew how to use charm as we would a pretty scarf, and to dress with unique flair.

The cafe was on a large central square, cobbled-stoned and surrounded by tall limestone and red brick Victorian industrial buildings – part of a repurposed historic distillery district near downtown. Bubbling out onto the patio of a restaurant across the square were the employees of an insurance company – giddily convening corporately. Between them and the cafe, a low stage had been built.  Two American luxury cars were parked on it while a crew of detailers shone them up, having already finished vacuuming the interiors. Another crew was applying fake brick veneer to the outside edge of the platform.

Beside the square a pair of businessmen discussed global sales and drank iced tea.  They were dressed in bespoke suits and wore shiny calfskin oxfords.  Their faces were shiny too, as if they had taken the time to shave again before leaving the office. The larger one with the least hair wore a pink silk tie and gold cufflinks.

Next to me were three plump middle-aged people wearing funky eyeglasses, talking about arts funding and smoking vociferously.  At another table were a threesome of Latin American twenty-somethings, speaking Spanish with enthusiasm. Two gorgeous men with tight shirts and spiky hair sat while two women in casual office-wear stood alongside, chatting coyly with them.  The women left and the men did too, hand in hand.  As the sun slid off the patio, the charming Eastern-European moved to a another table where she could continue reading in the sun and her purse could have its own chair.

My friend arrived breathlessly and my surroundings backed away as she told me of her adventure on the steps of the subway.

LED EnviroArt

LED lights on The Bay Bridge

I am new to blogging and thought I would try the Press This bookmarklet. It worked and I posted this image/link of The Bay Bridge lit up by programmed LED lights without any dissertation from me. People responded! How exciting. I would love to know why they did. Do they like bright bridges? Do they love environmental art? Do they just love art? Beautiful things? Do they have any, like me, questions about its usefulness to society – can art be useful? Is it worth the effort? The cost? Is it eco-friendly to light bridges up at all, LED lighting regardless? Will its innovation last? Will people remember if it doesn’t? Does anyone living in the Bay area have an opinion? Where is the best place to look at the bridge?

It’s up and shining! Go to: thebaylights.org/ to learn more about it.

Winter

 Kite boarding

I live in Canada. For those of you who don’t, let me inform you that we have 4 distinct seasons here, one of which is called winter. For much of the country, this means that for at least 3 months of the year it is going to be cold enough, on a daily basis, for most precipitation to take the form of snow. Locals who are not staring at a computer screen are often found outside, playing in this phenomenon. If there is ice, they are skating on it, if there is a hill they are skiing down it, if there is a wind, they are kite boarding. Or sailing.

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Some animals just like to hang out. These gulls are warming their feet in the lake, which isn’t as cold as the air.

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Some humans like to walk on water in the winter. Or play shinny, a recreational form of Canada’s national sport, hockey.

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When the city was young, its citizens would convert the iced-in harbour to a recreational paradise.

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It’s a beginning

I have never blogged.  I am not a frequent blog reader nor do I follow any bloggers. But I do occasionally feel like having a say, about something that might be meaningful to someone other than myself. I also want to relearn the art of communicating via the printed word: honing the skill of turning thoughts into sentences by using proper punctuation (rather than a series of dashes or ellipses as I tend to do now) and structure, such that the reader is carried along from one thought to another.

I might also want to pass on: ideas, sites, sights and sounds. I am looking forward to the feedback.