“The greatest gift is the passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind.”
Where was I? Oh, yes. I cannot support Chris Brown’s music because I cannot support his behavior. Much like I can’t support factory farming by eating meat.
And much like the idea of both make me utterly disgusted.
Right. Though I can’t abide by how he’s conducted his personal life, a bunch of artists are in that boat — and I supposed it can’t preclude him from making his art if he insists.
Kids. “Love and positivity”?
Not to mention, “Best role model ever.” REALLY.
Rhianna aside, throwing a chair through a window is quite enough argument that perhaps this is not an adult who is equipped with the maturity to harness his emotions, and perhaps not who we want in the position to influence children.
Which of course he does anyway. The “Chris Brown can beat me any day” tweets stirred up by the Grammys? Clearly the two weeks of domestic violence training as part of his plea deal did not permeate to his fans.
Maybe in sentencing, instead of probation, the real way abuse can be repaid to society is a revocation of celebrity. For the famed, that seems to be the only real punishment. No more soap box, no more pedestal.
Because you’re no one anyone should look up to anyway.
Howard Stern via Kathy Griffin in the Official Book Club Selection (Book #8 of the 25 Book Challenge.) No, I am not saying I have anything in common with Howard Stern. I am saying four hours a day with a mic in front of you with clocks to watch and buttons to push at the same time will make you get to the end of a show and think a variation of this.
And, ooh. Fun book. I don’t usually go in for the celeb memoir — I prefer to life gawk at the regulars, but I didn’t want this one to end — plus, I wanted to know what happened with her husband, really. It’s in there.
Getting away was great for the quantity of books read — I won’t say they weren’t quality, I will just say…perhaps not the most challenging*. But you know what? They’re dang fun reads.
Nerd Girl Rocks Paradise City, Anne Soffee (#4) I will read a memoir about anything, and this was a good one (heavy metal journalist in L.A.) She has a second title, I think about belly dancing — but it wasn’t in my Army Clicky Book Library. I’m on the hunt for it.
Paris, My Sweet, Amy Thomas (#5) Fish-out-of-water memoirs aren’t… easy. And I keep hoping Sarah Turnbull will write more.
*Sweet Valley Confidential, Francine Pascal (#6) God. So shameful and so good. Nah, forget that. There’s no shame in taking your hot pink, trade paperback to the beach and while reading, noting the similarities to the narrative pacing of the old series (the book is set when Jessica and Elizabeth are 27), noticing that character names will date a work, and that it, as a fictional construct, it sort of stood up to an update pretty gracefully. It wasn’t bad at all. It seems to claim to actually have been written by Ms. Pascal instead of the ghost-created-bys that populated the series, and I dig the way she backs into a story. You don’t start out with all of the information — and aha, page-turner and whatnot.
If you read the original series, it’s worth an afternoon of your time.
Money For Nothing: One Man’s Journey Through the Dark Side of Lottery Millions, Edward Ugel (#7)
Very Ben Mezrich like, but because it wasn’t him, less… Okay, it’s like Old School Mezrich. Ugel was a lump-sum lottery salesman. I told you, I will read a memoir about ANYTHING. Good. Probably the best of this bunch.
Tout Sweet, Karen Wheeler (#9) This book expired when I was halfway through and I had to wait to re-check it out. That I did, says something. It’s a memoir that reads like fiction..so can that count toward having read one? Look, I’ll give you one-for-ten. One fake book for every ten true ones.
Seems like realistic odds to me. (And I have that daggone Hunger Games book downloaded — for there shall not be a fuss I don’t look into a few years after the fact.)
Agreed, taking photos of things you eat and then posting them on the internet can be insufferable and pointless. But when you’re not home, finding food goes from dumping a bag of lettuce in a bowl, to a little event. New places, novel flavors, and a nice framework for a day where you really have nothing planned. So in an effort not to be insufferable, links and anecdotes? It’s not a pictures of food. It’s a review.
We stayed at the Anse Soleil Beachcomber. If you ever find yourself on an island called Mahé, four degrees south of the Equator off the coast of Africa, don’t stay anywhere else. Honestly, truly, without a doubt it was the best part of the whole trip. Anything you could possibly ask for, and three steps from the beach, with a patio dining room for breakfast and dinner. Or as I like to think, “I’ll have my avocado and yours too.”
Next door is the Anse Soleil Café. Open-air, open at noon, and the best Thai-style veggie curry in a ten-mile radius. And yes, it was my mission to rate them all. They also have…local delicacies on the menu. And by delicacies, I mean, “Not Birds.”
Not Bird Curry. It was Not Sampled.
Bats or carrots, they like their curries in the Seychelles, and they like them hot. Perfect. And in case you want more, they serve a dish of ghost peppers, supposedly the hottest on earth, crushed with lemon juice. Sriracha-y and delicious, but do not rub your eyes after. Or expect to feel your tongue for a while.
I don’t think we ate a single place that was indoors. All the better for the plate-side views. Kaz Kreol, with its “Special Salad” might have had one of the best. Of all of the places, it was the hardest to find veg-friendly food, but everything else made up for that. I really expected to have a hard time finding stuff I could eat — I haven’t had great luck with island-vegan fare before — but it was easy. And spicy. And yay more spicy.
But this was my absolute favorite place. The Anchor Cafe. Lights gleaming out of nowhere after sunset, it’s casual and homey and perfect. Like eating in your neighbor’s backyard.
We had dinner there as our wedding celebration. Right after that video, the table of blokes who, judging by the empty SeyBrews on the table, had been there most of the afternoon, got up to leave. Well, all of them got up but one, who was passed out cold. After his buddies took photos of him, they all picked up a corner of the plastic deck chair he was sitting in, carried him chair-and-all across the lawn while everyone laughed and watched, and then they dumped him into the back end of the car.
Dinner and a show.
I live in a place with not-too-shabby food. But as great as tomatoes and olive oil are, sometimes I miss the 87 other kinds of cuisines out there, Indian most especially. Absence makes the heart grow fond of airport food court offerings, especially the Rupee Room Express at the Dubai Airport (right above Arrivals.) Best veggie combo platter with diet pepsi on three continents.
Maybe more, give me a minute.
Because I am not a travel agent, nor good with numbers, there was the tiny matter of an unnoticed 26-hour layover in Dubai. A night in the city and a chance to eat at McDavid’s? You bet. (McDavid’s serves Japanese and Italian, inexplicably.)
I stuck with McDavid’s three wise men instead: Hummus, tabouleh, and Baba ghanoush.
Every major American chain is represented here. Subway, Chilis, Cold Stone, KFC, Burger King, Starbucks, (I haven’t seen one of those since…May? But this Starbucks had tables of men on their Blackberries in their Agal and Kandura.) and yes. Dunkin Donuts.
It might be time to go home when your last morning runs on Dunkin.
A stop at a Dubai grocery store for plane snacks (samosas in a bag, and spicy graham flour stick things? By all means, happy to have you.)
The tallest building in the world, and the tallest trip to (b)eat, probably ever.
Air Sign says, “That which is Under the Sea shall remain known to Ursula and maybe Sebastian on a good day.” Sea creatures freak me out. Goldfish in a bowl, fine. 20,000 Leagues under, well, there IS crying in fishball.
The water is clear enough that you can SEE. You’re not surprised by some trout when it’s five inches from your face. You can float at a polite distance and wave at the pretties. They’re not all tiny Real-World-Aquarium fishies. Some are medium sized, your Clown Parrots (TM Jacques Cousteau and etceaux.)
Behold, the Dog Fish. Named such by moi because when I swam around a rock and Ryan did the “THIS BIG” motion with his hands, he gestured Golden-Retriever puppy size.
He was right. Those suckers were 18 inches long at least. And that is what an underwater scream using your eyes looks like.
No. Too big, no no no. But a lot of them were just pretty. Outlandishly pretty. And I swam with them with my face in the water just fine.
Okay, I didn’t see the barracuda Ryan did, but that’s clearly for the best. Heart is as close as I need to get to that.
From the first view in the morning to the last…
I’ve been to beachy places before, but somehow they were…sanitized for your resort protection. There was always a strict disconnect from the vacation zone and where people lived. It’s a hard economy, paradise. With great beauty comes great seclusion — from a lot of things, including opportunity. You can see that here. Feel it. It’s the most stunningly gorgeous place I have ever seen in my entire life, without exaggeration, and yet it’s clear — even the most stunning place on God’s green earth can’t hide struggle.
The Garden of Eden and Hell are in the same story, after all.
We went out to see what the island was really like. It’s small enough to drive around in a day — as long as you stay on the wrong-hand side. We ended up in Victoria, the biggest city, and I got to use my long-rusty French on a girl about five, with dark, curly pigtails. Paying for parking, asking how many roupie to give her, she said it in French, and then gleefully counted it out for me in English. “One, two, three, four!”
Verbs are useful, and my French accent is still better than my Italian.
The weekend market bustled the middle of town, and those plus grocery stores are my favorite places to see real. Everybody has to eat. My French earned me oil in a bottle marked with masking tape “Hell Fire” for Dad.
And seeing how others live is the spice of life.
Ryan takes pictures. A lot of them. It makes me and my gathering-illustrations-for-stories-iPhone-snappery, pale. Which makes it nice. He has his project, his passion for communicating through 819 pictures of me running along the beach this morning and the four hours of legitimately awesome underwater video of the fish we snorkeled at today (OMG. Angel fish the size of small dogs and I didn’t scream. On the outside at least.) And I have…whatever it is I do.
The point is, if you have your own passions, you develop patience and appreciation for others’, which means you get it back for yours. It’s a pretty good deal.
Uh. Speaking of passions? I am continuing mine for the almighty written word with some very important beach literature.
There isn’t any better place to read a trade paperback of the Sweet Valley High revisit, than face down on a beach towel.
Because there’s a lot of that happening too.
God bless Francine Pascal, salted avocado on toast, very hot curries, sweet warm water, tiny striped fishies, and the unending amazement that the world gets bigger the more places you go.
(If these are the postcards, here are the snapshots.)
*Okay, not the first time I’ve used that — but since the last time was about Denver four years ago, it stands.
When you get married in Italy, instead of doctoring up the couple’s car with cans and shaving cream, you hang up Oggi Sposi! signs. “Just married!”
They usually just have the date and a picture of the couple, and they get plastered all the places you’d usually find a “Have You Seen This Cat?” flyer.
I love seeing these. They’re casual and celebratory and decidedly…analog. You get married, you put up signs telling the neighborhood, “Hey, look! Something nice happened right around here!”
We get to put these up in a week. And you better believe there will be Comic Sans.