Thursday, March 27, 2008

Just Look at That Stupid Hat!

The New York Times ran an alarming article last week on hipsters moving out of Brooklyn to small farms, and I've been stewing about it ever since. Apparently, the rising popularity of greenmarkets, locavore-ism, and eating organic has made operating small-scale farming enterprises not only possible, but profitable, for the first time in a long while. So now hipsters, once doomed to a life of urban desperation, are donning overalls and heading for the boonies (well, if, according to your definition, the boonies are accessible via the LIRR) to make an honest living scratching around in the dirt.

Like many transplants to New York City, I loudly praise the virtues of urban living while secretly longing for a return to the Little House on the Prairie lifestyle that I admired throughout my formative years. These subjugated desires are alleviated by visits to the Union Square farmer's market and hours poring over my Simply in Season cookbook (two activities that my Man Friend cannot understand or relate to), but deep down in my heart, I know that growing herbs in pots in my sunless kitchen just doesn't cut the mustard. There are days when I feel like I've missed my true calling in life and I should be driving a tractor somewhere. And then there are the days when I feel like what I MUST do is try my hand at home cheesemaking (when I suggested this to the Man Friend, he looked at me as though I'd suggested whipping up a batch of napalm in the kitchen. On second thought, he'd probably be all for the napalm).

So I'm a little nervous about these developments. How am I supposed to romantically idealize a rural, Thoreau-esque lifestyle if the wilderness is filling up with ironic-hair-metal-trivia-night-attending jerks?? OK, I'm not going to panic about this, but all I have to say is that if I even catch the tiniest whiff of a rumor that the East Village crowd is moving in on the goat farm scene, I can't be held responsible for my actions.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Modern Library's Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century Quest: #89

Title: Loving
Author: Henry Green
Judgin' the Book by its Cover: Ugly! I hate peacocks!

Thoughts: This is, by far, the most dialogue-driven novel I've read thus far in the Quest. Description is minimal, action is fairly non-existent, and the plot moves forward through conversations, mainly. The basic plot is this: as WWII is raging in Britain, the domestic staff at an English family's Irish country estate... talk a lot. There's a rudimentary love story, infidelity, and a subplot about missing/stolen valuables, but the story was fairly meandering and never really grabbed me. I did find myself liking Kate and Edie, the two maids, who, according to Rule #487 of Stock Characters, pass the time giggling and gossiping (do real maids ever giggle?).

I really didn't grasp a deeper meaning to the book, and I couldn't get invested in the love story due to my dislike of the Romeo, so overall I'm left feeling unimpressed. Moreover, the characters' constant disparaging remarks (referring to them as unintelligible, violent animals) aimed at the good people of Ireland are hardly seasonal considering that I'm writing this on St. Patrick's Day!

While I didn't hate this book, I wasn't the least bit interested in it, so I can't say I'd recommend it. On the plus side, at just under 200 pages, it was short and quick to read, so at least my boredom wasn't TOO prolonged.

Next up is The Old Wives' Tale (I get to skip The Call of the Wild-- been there, done that!).

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Movies + Museums= Fun!

If you're a New Yorker and you don't have anything to do this weekend, boy, have I got a plan for you! Hop on the train to Astoria and head over to the Museum of the Moving Image for a rip-roaring good time. I visited on Saturday (after meaning to for, oh, about 2 years), and it was really, really fun. I brought along my spring-breaking sister and her friend from college, along with my Man Friend and his out-of-town parents, and a good time was had by all. They have all kinds of old-timey cameras, equipment, props, and photos, as well as great interactive exhibits (example: you could lay down music tracks to accompany movie scenes), so there was something for everyone. Best of all, they have an arcade with all kinds of sweet vintage and new video games which you can play FREE OF CHARGE! I nearly had a heart attack when I saw projected on a wall my favorite game of all time, We Love Katamari (I instantly forced my sister to play it with me)! So it's a perfect place to hang out and to take movie buffs, museum lovers, gadget geeks, like-to-touch-things types, AND video game junkies.

Now here's the bad news: it's closing for renovations March 23rd, and will remain closed until late 2009 (NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)! It's kind of like finding your one true soulmate the day before they leave for a semester abroad (no, it's EXACTLY like that). So, go check it out before it's too late!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Modern Library's Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century Quest: #90

Title: Midnight's Children
Author: Salman Rushdie
Judgin' the Book by its Cover: I like this cover, although it sort of misrepresents the book-- it looks more like nonfiction than a novel.

Thoughts: OK, I'm going to be honest-- I finished this almost three weeks ago but haven't had the time (read: discipline) to review it until now. That said, I really enjoyed this book. The prose was vigorous, energetic, and fanciful, and really unlike anything else I've ever read. I thought the premise was really cool-- Saleem Sinai is born at the stroke of midnight, the very instant that India was released from British rule, and as a result, his fate is inextricably tied with that of his mother country. I also really liked the idea that Rushdie puts forth that as our memories fade, parts of who we are begin to crumble and fade away. So then when we tell our stories, frantically rushing against the collapse of memory, we begin to invent ourselves, and the invention is no less true than the truth. Interesting stuff. Definitely recommended-- it's a long and hefty book, but well worth the effort.