The Last Song of Dusk

posted by ben on 06.06.24 at 00:52, null, books, books, Leave a comment Permalink

"I have heard that when your daughter sings, even the moon listens."

"That is nothing but a gross exaggeration!" Anuradha was mortified that someone had spread such tattle about her.

"Absolutely!" Radha-mashi stepped in. "The last time she sang, only a few stars stepped out to listen."

-Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi, The Last Song of Dusk, pg. 15

"Were you really walking on water?" Anuradha asked her when she was in earshot.

"Walking on water?" the girl said, entirely unflustered. "That’s nothing! You should see how I do it on land."

-Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi, The Last Song of Dusk, pg. 89

...whose famed Spanish cook Picasso taught her how to make a sauce hollandaise without butter as well as a chocolate souffle that was so light it had to be strapped down with thin copper chains in the oven lest it float away.

-Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi, The Last Song of Dusk, pg. 37

Dao Strom at Eliott Bay

posted by ben on 06.06.23 at 21:56, null, books, books, Leave a comment Permalink

I went to yet another reading… and it could have been great. The book was titled The Gentle Order of Girls and Boys... and that’s almost as good as The Last Sigh of Dusk which is actually titled The Last Song of Dusk... anyway, I was looking forward to a repeat.

There were maybe five people at the reading in the end, but only one when I walked in. I assumed he was a friend of the author… He said, “Please don’t go.” And, he said it so sweetly that even if I had been planning on leaving, I certainly would have stayed. We talked about nothing, several more people trickled in…

She read. It was ok, nothing grand. She sang and played guitar. It was passable, nothing spectacular. And then, god help us all, she answered questions.

Since it was such a small audience, everyone felt compelled to ask at least one question. I felt compelled, but successfully fought the urge to ask some driveling question about a book I had no interest in reading.

Unfortunately, a bearded, glasses wearing man toward the rear felt no such need to keep his cursed mouth shut. Question after question… if they could be called questions...

“Every time I hear a guitar I think of Johnny Cash and how he was in prison and came out and played music, but you play music and you aren’t like Johnny Cash and that’s surprising, which, I guess, I’m trying to say, you’re surprising and you should say something before you start singing about how you aren’t like Johnny Cash and it’s surprising that you are a woman and play the guitar and sing and… not many women do that and it’s surprising.”

“Um… thankyou.”

…which the bearded fool took as a request for more of his questions. My favorite went something like:

“You’re a woman and Vietnamese and you went to grad school and most of the Vietnamese I know run restaurants and you went to grad school and I can relate to grad school and it’s surprising that you went to grad school…”

On and on about how surprising poor Dao Strom was… Meanwhile, I was running my hands along my face getting ready to tear my eyes out if, please god, it didn’t stop. It didn’t stop.

If she’s not willing to say, “I find your ‘question’ intolerant and naïve, your disrespect irritating and your manner of speaking insipid,” then who is going to speak up?

Oh, the entire thing was awful. If that man hadn’t been there, an empty reading might have been a thing of joy, a chance to talk with someone who, even if she does look up to Alice Munroe, has had two books published and knows more about how to write a successful novel than anyone else in the room.

But no, it wasn’t to be.


posted by ben on 06.06.23 at 17:06, null, null, Leave a comment Permalink

Suppose, purely hypothetically of course, that you are riding your mountain bike of plushness down Pine, generally impressed with yourself for the wheelie you just pulled in front of the Bauhaus. Doubly impressed because you managed to wheelie and not fall into traffic… Assume all these things, and assume you come to one of those gigantic diamond shaped orange road work signs lying in the middle of the fucking bike lane…

Now, you’re going 30, because it’s a big hill and you’re cool. Further, this is Seattle and you have thoughts of what a great North Shore rider you are, etc. Never mind that they are ludicrously unfounded. Furthermore, you lost your gloves somewhere a while back and your spiffy new carbon ones haven’t arrived from Cambria yet because the bottom bracket you ordered to replace your tweaked isis one (how the fuck do you tweak an isis spindle anway?) is on backorder until the apocalypse.

So assume all these things and when you’re presented with that sign in the middle of the road, the inevitable conclusion is that it’s a teeter totter placed there by God for the sole purpose of providing a means to showcase your mad skilz to the cabbies of Capitol Hill.

Of course, the only mad skilz I have are of the crashing and rolling variety. So, I have a bloody knee, palms, shorts, and my fucking crosslink has a nice wobble in it.

I am become roadie, sucker of riding.

what an excellent man (or bubbling sycophancy)

posted by ben on 06.06.22 at 03:36, null, books, books, Leave a comment Permalink

I'm crazy about Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi. I knew I would be. Titling his novel The Last Song of Dusk was enough to do it. Then his voice, the way he pronounces "reportage," the kindness and gentleness of him. Oh, what an excellent man.

I don't know if it's appropriate at an under attended reading, I almost mustered the courage to ask him for a drink. Oh, it would have been wonderful. He must have stories. He tells stories. He told stories for alcohol at school.

Of course, I'm horrifically awkward. Any time I'm presented with a person I respect or suspect I ought to respect my voice fails. Oh, sure, I'll tear them to pieces in private, write scathing bits about them, but it's not how I really feel. I know enough to respect genius in person, even if my ultimate sign of respect is characterized primarily by stammering and a detailed study of the floor.

Nadia over and over.

posted by ben on 06.06.21 at 01:38, null, music, music, 1 comment Permalink
-Michael Nyman
via 9 Songs
Comment from: ben [Member] ·
I'm having deja vu issues staring at this picture framed with the blog. Why?
Permalink 06/21/06 @ 17:20

posted by ben on 06.06.20 at 04:19, null, books, books, Leave a comment Permalink

My copy of We is still wrapped in a purple bow. It's very sweet. There's a book club later at Elliot Bay, so I intend to remove said bow and read the whole thing in the next 14 hours.

The Collected Works of Claudius Ptolemy

posted by ben on 06.06.20 at 03:25, null, television, television, Leave a comment Permalink

Alexandria had a library, and what a library. Its opening hours went on for maybe a thousand years. At its height, it had more than half a million books. And that was it, I mean, if it wasn't here, it wasn't worth knowing about. And then in the end, somebody burnt every single book. Nobody knows who, fanatical Christians, fanatical Arabs... take your pick. Religion at work.

-James Burke, Connections 1, Episode 2


posted by ben on 06.06.20 at 03:18, null, television, television, Leave a comment Permalink

I’ve been watching the first episode of Connections. The connection has to do with the potential collapse of our society, people fleeing cities, that sort of thing. It’s bringing back apocalyptic fantasies I had as a child, no doubt brought on by such unfortunate reading for a child as The Folk on the Fringe, The Peblar Cycle, Parable of the Sower and Schrondinger’s Cat. I’m sure living on the foot of Cheyenne Mountain didn’t help much either. Sure, NORAD is supposed to be nuke proof, but that doesn’t mean the Soviets won’t try, right?

So, I’m having these fantasies again, while Burke continues on. I’m thinking Seattle’s a much better place that Colorado Springs should the end of the world come. I through all my backpacking stuff, my Carharts, my pasta, my knives, and probably a bunch of stuff I’d forget until it was too late… and I’d paddle out past Juan de Fuca while eating far too much Dungeness crab. Now, if I could only start a fire in the rainforest… It may also help to learn how to fish…

So, now I’m thinking about that man in the Brautigan book who eats salmon and tends his kale like a rose garden. I could do that.

Of course, the most important question is: what book do I bring? I’m vacillating between the collected Robert Frost and the collected Dylan Thomas. A bible seems like kind of a waste, since there will no doubt always be a great number of those running around.

Hell's Kitchen

posted by ben on 06.06.20 at 02:00, null, food, television, Leave a comment Permalink

This show is fucking terrible.

Only Fox could come up with a concept for a show that takes a great chef, shows nothing of his genius and makes everyone look bad.

I was so looking forward to it. Fucking Fox.

It's a fucking reality show. The winner gets a restaurant in Las Vegas. It's broken up into a men's team and a women's team. I assume it has some Survivor-esque elimination mechanism. The major plot device seems to be Ramsay spitting food out.

And, hey, big fucking surprise, a prison chef can't cook haute cuisine.

Who on earth would eat at this restaurant?

give up

posted by ben on 06.06.20 at 00:10, null, rant, Leave a comment Permalink

New theory: Love is wanting to taste every part of her, every scent, liquid and stench her body makes. To hear every sound she makes, to smell every part of her.

Bing Cherry Clafouti (Rainier Coming Soon to a Kitchen Far from You)

posted by ben on 06.06.19 at 20:24, null, null, food, Leave a comment Permalink

with Kirsch from paradise

cars that are "80% waterproof"

posted by ben on 06.06.19 at 20:02, null, null, Leave a comment Permalink

cars that are reasonably waterproof

posted by ben on 06.06.19 at 19:19, null, null, Leave a comment Permalink

Taiwan's Exploding Whale

posted by ben on 06.06.19 at 18:30, null, random, Leave a comment Permalink

ummm... yes... ok...

posted by ben on 06.06.19 at 18:22, null, random, Leave a comment Permalink
via fleshbot