5 Things to Know

I thought it was time for a brief update all about me.  Youth Services classmates, feel free to skip right over this post, as there is nothing school related here.

There are some important things I think you should know about:

1.  Wondermade

Wondermade Bourbon Marshmallows

As all of my friends and family know, my downfall as a vegetarian is marshmallows.  I love them too much to give them up.  I am also a sucker for packaging.  And bourbon–well, more for whiskey, but bourbon is good too.  When I stumbled upon the Wondermade marshmallow site, I was left will little choice but to order these beautiful treats composed of Marker’s Mark and “100% Sweet, Magic Air.”  At $7.50 a box and nearly that in shipping, I’d been waiting to order until I was off unemployment and on a real payroll.  With my first pay check, then, I immediately placed my Wondermade order and got myself a student membership to the ALA.  Nice.

I confess that afterwards I was worried I might have been duped out of $14– that these “gourmet” marshmallows would be good but no better than the sack of Campfire marshmallows in very grocery story.  Happily, I can report that these marshmallows were worth every penny and are, by far, the best I’ve ever eaten.  These are the first marshmallows I have ever had self control around because they are just that good–like the French who can have a croissant everyday at stay svelte because a small portion of truly delicious food satisfies you in ways an entire package of junk food never will.  I also found that the tiny Tupperwares I bought for the cat’s meals perfectly fit 2 marshmallows, for easy transport and sharing.  I highly recommend trying a Wondermade marshmallow.  They rotate their featured flavors, so if you don’t see one to your liking, keep checking back.

2. Rumpus Letters

I have received my first two letters from The Rumpus’ Letters in the Mail service!  If you missed my earlier post, click here to see what this service is all about.  If you can’t be bothered, just know that you can subscribe to a mailing list whereupon authors write you letters.  My first letter was from short story writer, Anthony Doerr (The Shell Collector, Memory Wall).

Anthony Doerr Letter

His letter taught me what a “yurt” was and provided delightful reflections on the need to occasionally disconnect from society’s technological strings and reconnect with life’s simpler pleasures.

The second letter was from writer and blogger, Emily Gould:

As you can see, she wrote hers entirely by hand and rambled about yoga and the challenges of making it as a writer or artist.  At one point she discussed the performance artist Marina Abramovic, which I found interesting until it lead to David Blaine, the street magician who happens to hold the #3 position in my top 5 fears.  So, enough said on that topic.

3.  How to Sharpen Pencils by David Rees (My New Filing Technique is Unstoppable)

How to Sharpen Pencils by David Rees

This is my current “train book” and it is hilarious.  It is indeed a guide to artisanal pencil sharpening, which Rees writes with a straight-faced passion for the subject. I was enticed by a campaign of blurbs and have not been disappointed.  Here are a few, that they may entice you as well:

A good friend was thoughtful enough to sen me the gift of a David Rees artisanally sharpened pencil.  I was blown away when I saw it.  My wife and I proudly display it in our home.  I have always been a pen man, but if you’ve got to have a pencil in the house, this is the pencil to have.

–Paul F . Tompkins, actor/comedian

You may think that sharpening a pencil is easy, but David Rees makes it look hard, and that makes all the difference.

–John Hodgman, writer

The artisanally sharpened pencils were absolutely flabbergasting! Question: What is your favorite tropical fruit?

–Nailah, 3rd Grader

Rees walks readers through supplies, technique, and various sharpeners that may be encountered in the artisanal pencil sharpening trade.  So far, “Chapter 8: Using a Multi-Hole, Multi-Stage Pocket Sharpener” is my favorite.

4. H.P. Lovecraft

In preparation of the Halloween season, I found this collection of Lovecraft in a Barnes & Noble bargain book pile.  It is my creepy bedtime book.  I was actually in Barnes & Noble to buy a New Yorker because there was a piece about the Cloud Atlas movie.  I have to say, the article left me more optimistic because the Wachowskis love the book and have David Mitchell’s full support of the script.  Still, I think there will be too much CGI.

5. CharmerTelegraph Avenue

And finally, I went on a spending spree this week, picking up a copy of the new Aimee Mann album, Charmer, and Michael Chabon‘s new novel, Telegraph Avenue.  I’m already enjoying Charmer, which is a character study of an album dressed in catchy melodies with darker undertones.  I’ve been desperately craving some new music, so this is a welcome addition to my collection.

I have very little experience with Michael Chabon’s writing, but I can’t wait to plunge into his new novel.  This also looks to be a character study with hints of High Fidelity, one of my all-time favorite books and films.  I actually know very few of the plot details, but writer Jennifer Egan spoke so highly of it the New York Times Book Review  Podcast that I was sold:

I also think that sentence by sentence he’s [Chabon’s] probably the best fiction writer out there right now.  I mean, he can pack a single sentence with so much humor, intelligence, surprising imagery, and just virtuosity. And so there’s a payoff line by line, in addition to the big payoff of the whole book and all that it’s doing.

I just have to see that in action.

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