September 30, 2014 § 1 Comment
This office building in Bloomington, Minnesota, hurts my eyes and sense of style. It sits near the corner of Highways 100 and 494, and back in the day, it used to house Billabong, an Australian restaurant.
In my youth I was intrigued by the exotic world of Australian cuisine right smack-dab-a-roo in the middle of Siberian Minnesota, for the joint was an anomaly long before Outback Steakhouse became a suburban staple. But I never ventured in, mostly because I feared they’d force-feed me kangaroo meat.
Short story long, Billabong is gone but the building still stands and irritates me with its 1970s-era facade. I purpled up its photo a bit because 1) I love purple, and 2) Prince released two albums today. I’m indifferent about the latter, but thought it was a good excuse to go with a royal color.
September 29, 2014 § Leave a comment
Fall descends and the calendar fills up, but I still find time to read. What I’ve read and loved in the last week:
- “Freedom in 704 Square Feet” by Sandy Keenan (The New York Times, January 22, 2014) — I don’t need or want a big house, and this article allows me to dream of the small place I one day envision building myself.
- A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride (2014) — Have you read this? I need to debrief. The writing style gave my mind a workout, and it wasn’t always clear who was being talked to or about (none of the characters’ names are provided). The difficult stream-of-consciousness writing along with the dark topics — incest, a brain tumor, sexual recklessness, child abuse — are not for the weak of heart. It’s receiving rave reviews, but not everyone will like it — I’ve noticed on Goodreads that several reviewers gave up on trying to decipher the prose. But it’s probably unlike anything else you’ve ever read, and for that reason, I recommend it.
- “How to Deal with Prerace Anxiety” by Mackenzie Lobby (Runner’s World, September 19, 2013) — I’m running a 10-mile race on Sunday — my longest-distance race since a marathon nearly 20 years ago. I’ve followed a great training program all summer, and I know I’m ready. However, nerves often get the best of me, and on top of that, I’m dealing with an old Achilles injury that is rearing its supremely ugly mug in these final days. The tips in this article should help me arrive smiling at the starting line and perhaps even cross to the finish.
- “Kicking the Facebook Habit” by Richard Morgan (The New York Times, September 27, 2014) — I loved Facebook for about six months when I first logged on in 2007, but my affections have drifted into the love-hate realm these last several years. I’m not quite ready to quit cold turkey like Morgan did, but I’m slowly moving away from it (and onto Twitter, which is just another social media monster whose relevance I question). The article is worth a read if, like me, you struggle with the disparity between our Facebook versus our real selves, and whether or not it all just feels like a game of one-upmanship.
- “Southern Gothic: Hunting for the Peculiar Soul of Georgia” with photography by Alec Soth (The New York Times Magazine, September 28, 2014) — Alec Soth is one of the best photographers around. I’ll read anything about him, especially if it contains his work. A great companion to this piece is “States of Mind: Why Alec Soth and Brad Zellar Went to Georgia” on the NYT’s “The 6th Floor” blog, which includes an interview with Brad Zellar, the writer of the LBM Dispatches on which he and Soth collaborate.
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September 28, 2014 § Leave a comment
September 27, 2014 § 2 Comments
I went to the river this afternoon with pen and pad in hand and camera within reach. The only rules: 1) write one-sentence short stories, and 2) take photos from only one spot. Not allowed? Standing, moving in closer for a better view, or sliding down to a different part of the bench. Allowed? Turning sideways and looking up and down.
The writing went well and I conjured up several flash fiction pieces ripe for revision.
But the bench photography? Meh. A worthy experiment, but maybe not the right location, time of day, or mindset. Of nearly 80 photos, these are the few I liked:
September 26, 2014 § 1 Comment
All good things must come to an end, including three days of vacation on Lake Superior’s North Shore during the peak of autumn colors.
After a lifetime spent in this area, I’m always in awe of hills as large as mountains and a lake that mimics the ocean.
Before I return to the schedule I left behind, indulge me as I take one moment to reflect on Tofte, Lutsen, Grand Marais, and all the villages and trails in between on the largest of the Great Lakes.