But enough about you…

a writer's blog

Cool stuff

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I’m into cars and beer and art and travel, science fiction, fly fishing, film, writing, running, bikes, programming, cool tech gear, soccer, iPhone apps, clothing, motorcycles, all things NYC, woodworking, guitars and music. But I should start out my links page my mentioning my wife, Cheryl Taylor’s, very cool site showing her illustration work and recent encaustic pieces. Recently (2012), she’s been painting some of our old chickens, which we’ve raised at our Woodstock house for the past 10 or 12 years. They provide fresh eggs, compost for my hops, a natural alarm clock, art material and a lot to think about, especially at 4:30AM when the rooster starts to crow. I’ve also started Brewing beer, and have graduated from the relatively satisfying kits offered by “True Brew” True Brew Irish Stout Home Brew Beer Ingredient Kit, to custom concoctions formulated with the help of a local homebrew guru in Red Hook, NY. The long term goal would be to brew both good English Ale, like Landlords, American IPA like Dogfish 90 Minute, and some heavy sweet Belgian style brew, each of which I love for their own particular features. My touchstone for great American brewing is Sam Calagione at Dogfish Head Brewing who seems to be able to push the boundaries of traditional brewing in all sorts of weird directions without ever insulting my taste buds, and often creating things that are downright exciting. What America needs right now, is something like English Pub culture — something friendlier than a bar, with an emphasis on decent but not fancy food, and a range of great beers. What we need is a good hang. A well-developed pub culture could save our sorry politics (if it doesn’t get everyone killed first). On the other paw, what America does do pretty well is love RIDES. I worked for a while in a GM interiors factory to earn the money to go off to college, so props to the hard working American auto worker. But I have to admit our love of cars is still a little too muscly and straight-line for me. I’m more of a BMW and Mini fan, with the usual affliction for Ferraris, Porsches and other things that can take corners without the front sheet metal bending like 1972 Vega torsion bar and the wheels hopping sideways. I used to own a couple dirt bikes, and had a 1974 Kawasaki H2 750 2-stroke, which was a total monster death-machine in its day, but would now rank as a mid-level non-super-bike. Am sub-desperately jonesing for a 2007 Ducati SportClassic 1000 Biposto but so, apparently is every other bike-obsessed denizen of motors.eBay.com, because they disappear off the site faster than Kate Upton can remove her top for a photoshoot. Just realized how commercial this whole links page has become and would like to point out other not-for-sale great stuff, even CULTURAL STUFF on the web. Like everything ever done by Miranda July, whose original website was done entirely on the tops of large kitchen appliances with dry-erase markers. That version of her website has been taken down or moved somewhere, where I can’t find it, but no matter, she’s still cool as a Miles Davis solo. Her reading on NPR’s “Selected Shorts” is one of the best, funniest and realest bits I’ve heard on that always excellent program. And now I’m feeling shallow that I mentioned Miranda July after the Ducati. But it also reminds me of my other “Selected Shorts” story, which is about Michael Chabon. When The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay came out, I went with my old writers’ group to hear him do a reading at the Union Square Barns & Noble. He’s a really great reader and the next day I found myself telling my friend Janice about the reading and how dynamic he was and how funny and how he verbally annotated his reading with little asides to the audience. And then Janice told her friend, who happens to be a co-founder, along with Isaiah Sheffer of “Selected Shorts”. Janice’s friend called him and arranged for him to appear with Wes Anderson at a reading at Symphony Space — another great event for which you can download the podcast or listed at the “Selected Shorts” site. So Michael Chabon owes me, big time. Though I really enjoyed his reading, so I guess I owe him right back. Karma’s a funny thing. Chuck Palahniuk on the other paw, doesn’t owe me a thing, though I owe him, big time for Fight Club. Never talk about Fight Club.

Written by Alan

September 4th, 2012 at 5:58 pm

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