Saturday, July 14, 2007

input exceeds output

It's been far too hot to blog this weekend. I even had to change the font so that the letters are spaced further apart. Every little bit helps.

But I have been putting the time away from you, my lovelies, to good use, putting giant dents in two of the books on my summer reading list. I will finish reading Blindness today and it is everything that John said it was.

It is the fascinating story of an epidemic of blindness which sweeps the population. With the resulting panic and incarceration of the blind into an abandoned mental hospital, and the formation of societies within that setting, it is indeed an allegorical tale. The unique structure of the novel, with none of the characters having a name other than descriptions such as the doctor's wife or the old man with the black eyepatch, with the dialogue written without quotation marks and only separated by commas, one truly gets a sense of blindness. It sounds as though the format should make a difficult read, but it is surprisingly easy. That Nobel Prize for Literature was well deserved. I recommend this book very highly: Blindness by Jose Saramago.

I have reached the point in Trainspotting where I no longer have to read aloud or mouth the words in order to understand the thick Scottish brogue. It is written phoenetically after all and while it does slow you down initially, it really does immmerse you in the language. Like the lack of quotation marks in Blindness, the accents and the gritty language in Trainspotting transform you from an observer to a participant. Try it:

Ah sais nae mair. Wihn ye feel like he did, ye dinnae want tae talk or be talked at. Ye dinnae want any fuckin fuss at aw. Ah dinnae either. Sometime ah think that people become junkies just because they subconsciously crave a wee bit ay silence.

Fresca has become my offical drink of the summer since I rediscovered it last week. I like the sugar-free original (grapefruit) flavour. Yesterday I abandoned my tank and capris in favour of my beach cover-up dress, which is just like wearing a nightie/towel. It's fire engine red and has a little curtain ring cutout thing between the boobs so now I look like a high class trailer park soccer mom.
And I'm hoping it's just the heat talking, but if that kid next door doesn't stop its incessant screaming, I'm going to give it something to scream about. There are two peak periods when its screaming really sets me off: 6 am (which is fine on a work day but pisses me off no end on the weekend), and just as we are settling down to a nice supper al fresco. The rest of the time I can ignore it, and the sounds of kids yelling actually doesn't bother me at all. Hell, the people on the other side of us have a trampouline upon which all 75 kids in the neighbour regularly bounce around. But this kid's screaming just pushes my button. Aggravating the sitation is the fact that the kids in that house have taken to strewing their crap all over my yard.

I think I need to up my shower intake.
the New Pornographers' Mass Romantic always feels like summer to me.

Maybe it's the Beach Boys-like "do do do - do dodododo" or maybe the boy-girl harmonies that remind me of beach parties (well the beach parties of my imagination anyway, none that I have been to have ever involved singing).

What's your ultimate summer song?


Dale said...

Nice reviews and thank you for spacing the words out a little Barbara, you're a humanitarian. Glad you enjoyed Blindness, it was good.

I haven't read Trainspotting but if you've ever read any Hubert Selby Jr. or Burgess, it takes a little getting into as well. Luckily, I'm hooked on phonics.

As for the Fresca, my pal Berry was burping the praises of it a few short days ago! I'm still not convinced.

JustRun said...

Fresca mixes well with just about anything, too! Like rum, or vodka, or, you know, whiskey if you're going to stick with that trailer park deal.

John Mutford said...

Great review and new font. Like Dale, I'm glad you enjoyed Blindness. Trainspotting too. With the movie, play, and now the book you'll soon be able to recite it beginning to end. Never tried Fresca. I've heard of it, but I don't even recall seeing it in a store. I don't really have a favourite summer song, but I do gravitate toward reggae more in the summer. Speaking of music, did you see the Radiohead OK Computer cover album over at Stereogum? I've got some of the tracks but so far I enjoy the Radiodread covers better.

Allison said...

Ooh, good question, I'm going to have to give this summer song question some thought...but right now my favourite summer album is shaping up to be the Super Furry Animals, because I think they're much fun.

I'm still stuck on Blindness, but I'm glad you enjoyed it so much.

Oh and p.s. Fresca is ACES. So is strawberries, brown sugar and sour cream believe it or not. That's summer to me :)

Anonymous said...

fresca is a nice sumer drink. A good alcohol summer drink...lemoncello and white cranberry juice.

A song I just listened to all will likely roll your eyes and cringe....Summertime, sung by Renee Olstead (sp?) written by George Gershwin in 1930's or so

Joe said...

I had no idea Trainspotting was written that way. How very cool!

Fresca, huh? I vaguely remember Fresca as a diet drink in the 70's, and every time I hear the name I think of Judge Smails telling Danny to go get himself a Fresca...

Beth said...

I've been meaning to pick up Blindness; you've now convinced me.

I think we have each other's weather. It should be in the nineties with humidity dripping off the charts, but instead we're happily enjoying low eighties with no humidity. I've had the windows open all weekend.

And now I'm off to crack open a can o' Fresca ...

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Dale, Berry knows of what he speaks - Fresca is gooo-oood!
As for the hot weather font choice, well I do what I can to make this world a better place.
And I'm still hooked on phonics too; I tried methadone, but keep coming back to phonics.

I like the way you're thinking on this, Justrun. I'm now thinking that gin and Fresca would be pretty unbeatable, although maybe not quite the image I'm persuing.

I did see that cover album, John. I haven't heard any of the tracks, but the artwork is pretty cool. The Radiodread versions would be pretty hard to beat.
I can certainly see why you liked Blindness so much, it's quite an astounding work. As for my vast Trainspotting repetoire, I could almost pull off the Choose Life monologue at this point, so obviously I've got my work cut out for me.

I still have yet to give Hey Venus a proper listening, Al. In the car tomorrow I shall rectify that.
Isn't Fresca the cat's meouw? Mmmmmm, your strawberry concoction sounds divine, and I do believe I have all the ingredients.

I will certainly not roll my eyes and cringe, Kelly, Summertime is a fantastic song! I don't know Rene Olstead at all, but there are some great covers of that song.
What's lemoncello?

We should all go get ourselves a Fresca, Bubs, and the world would be a better place, I believe.
Trainspotting is so much fun to read. I'm going to have the best Scottish accent (in my head) by the time I'm done.

We want our weather back, Beth! We've got a nasty looking yellowy green sky now with tornadoes happening north of here. Please enjoy our weather responsibly.
And yes, do read Blindness - it's a little Lord of the Flies, and little Animal Farm, and a whole bunch of brand new ideas

Anonymous said...

italian lemon licquor

Barbara Bruederlin said...

mmm, sounds tasty, Kelly.

Johnny Yen said...

Those of us who are increasingly visually-challenged with the onset of old age thank you for the new font-- much larger and easier to read.

My favorite summer songs are a tie between Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back In Town" and The Kinks' "Sunny Afternoon."

phlegmfatale said...

What is it about other peoples' screaming children that makes me want to throttle the parents?

Conky said...

my summer song: I HATE SUMMER by Jen Conklin

its too hot
im too fat
the sun is the devil
i wear too many clothes
to protect the fragile of heart
from my mammoth self
its too hot to live
its too hot to live
yeah baby
fuck the sun
bring on the rain
and wind
and S.A.D. weather
so i may flourish
its too hot
yeah baby
rock on

the end

Metal Mark said...

I have not had Fresca in forever. i am not sure we still have it around here.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I might stick with that font, Johnny. I figured it was just for the hot weather, but it's rather nice to be able to read without the reading specs.
Thin Lizzy and the Kinks? Very nice, very nice indeed!

Whew, I thought it was just me, Phlegmmy. Well, first I would strangle the parents and then then kids.

Oh baby! That really is the ultimate summer song, Jen. You win ... something. You rock!

I was surprised to see it actually, Mark, as I didn't know they still made it, but happily they do. You should bug your grocery store manager because it is refreshing as all get out.

Serah said...

mmm...fresca. It's a summer day in a can for sure. Goes quite smoothly with Prince's "Raspberry Beret and Little Red Corvette" - best driving to the beach anthems ever since I can remember them (thanks Mom!)

Danny Tagalog said...

Like the review of Blindness enought to want to venture out into the torrential rain here and purchase.

But "Nadir's Last Chance" by Peter Hammill - apart from 'Mental Health' there's a few other gems that inspired Rotten. And a great ballad called Pompeii.

Worth purchasing,

Keep being prolific B!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

"a summer day in a can" - that's the truth you are speaking there, Serah! And yes, Raspberry Beret! Good one. Prince is good summer music, in general.

I really think you will enjoy Blindness, Danny, what with your own ability to write such wonderfully evocative stories.
I must certainly look into Nadir's Last Chance. Anyone so influencial as Peter Hammill appears to have been deserves a place on my cd shelves

justacoolcat said...

My summer drink is Pinot Grigio and my summer song is Jane's Addiction - Summertime Rolls.

Just two of the reasons why I kick major ass.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Oh great - now I'm going to have Summertime Rolls stuck in my head all night, Just A. Oh well, it will replace Let's Fighting Love from South Park that's been stuck there all day. You and South Park - I don't know who kicks the majorist ass.