Versatile Blogger Award

versatilebloggeraward

Rules:

Show the award on your blog

Thank the person who nominated you

Share seven facts about yourself

Nominate 15 blogs

Link your nominees and let them know

Many thanks to On the Edge of Enlightenment for nominating me for this award.  I thought it would be great opportunity to show my appreciation to you, whether you choose to participate or not:

1  Linnet Moss

2  Hariod Brawn at Contentedness

3  Nannus at The Asifoscope

4  Erikleo: All things creative

5  bloggingisaresponsibility

6  Mike Smith at Self Aware Patterns

7  Wyrd Smythe at Logos con carne

8  Malcom Greenhill at Malcom’s Corner

9  NicholasRossis

10  thinkingliketheancients

11  Michelle Joelle at Stories & Soliloquies

12  Johan at jmeqvist

13  Howie at truthiselusive

14  Steve Morris at Blog Blogger Bloggest

15  kevinsterne

15  bengarrido

15  Millie Ho

15  ratmancue0 at aspiretofindtruth

15  arkenaten at ataleuntold

15  ausomeawestin

15  And of course TheLeatherLibrary

 

And now the seven facts about me:

1  I never break the rules. 🙂

2  I started this blog very reluctantly and only because I thought I needed it to gather an audience for this novel I’m working on. But since I’ve started, I feel I have made new friends. I never anticipated I would enjoy this so much.

3  I’m half-Korean, but I’ve never been to Korea, I don’t speak Korean and I really don’t care for kimchi (the real stuff smells like a rotting animal corpse). Culturally, the only Korean thing about me is that I take my shoes off when I come into a house and can’t seem to throw away things like yogurt containers (hey, that’s free Tupperware.)

4   I prefer informal gatherings involving paper plates and dirty jokes to formal dinner parties with “intellectual discussion.”

5  I love karaoke and dancing. I’m actually a pretty silly person, but most of the time I don’t show it. This is my chance to show it. In public.

6  I love being in my 30’s. I never did any of #5 in my early 20’s, which is when most people do those things. Who knows what future decades will bring? The older I get, the more these ridiculous inhibitions fall away and the happier I am.

7  It’s a good thing I’m on my last fact because I’m starting to run out of ideas. Well…I started roasting my own coffee. I was using a popcorn popper to do it, but now I have an actual coffee roaster. (The popcorn popper thing is not the way to go because you can’t control the heat and timing.) There’s really nothing like coffee that’s properly roasted and fresh. If you’re interested in doing the same, check out Sweet Maria’s.

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45 thoughts on “Versatile Blogger Award

  1. I have to check out those blogs. Some of them I know, but some I don’t.

    I once drank coffee grown by my late father in law. An Arabica from the Bamenda highlands in Cameroon, from the village of Njinikom, with a very mild, chocolate-like flavour. It had been roasted in a simple frying pan, ground in a mortar and than boiled in a pot. This might be a crude method, but it tasted very delicious. He was not really a coffee farmer, just had a few bushes in his garden and made something like two bags a year. I would like to try roasting coffee.

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    • WOW! Now I’ve never had homeGROWN coffee. I bet that was good! Once you’ve tasted something like that, it’s really hard to go back to ordinary coffee (which is usually over-roasted for continuity…and in the worst cases we end up with Starbucks coffee.)

      I can see you getting into coffee roasting. It’s a very aesthetic experience, very much like bread baking. I’m still not very good at it, but hopefully I’ll be able to hone my senses. You have to listen for something called “first crack” and then “second crack”…all this can get a little tricky, but it’s a lot of fun.

      I got a drum-style coffee roaster for Christmas. It was a bit of an investment (about $400), so I would recommend trying out some other methods first to see if you enjoy doing it. I used the popcorn popper until I just couldn’t take it anymore…it was pretty worthless, except that you get a sense of what’s supposed to happen. I think the frying pan method might be good. Some people do it in the oven. I haven’t tried those methods, but I’m sure there’s information about it somewhere on the internet or maybe even on the Sweet Maria’s website.

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      • We have a little plot of land in Njinikom and I think there are even two or three coffee plants there. I have to ask one of my sisters in law if anybody is harvesting it. I am not sure anybody has the time for it now (there is some process of drying etc.) but I might have a little bit of coffee from my own plants one day. The area has the kind of highland climate that gives a good Arabica. Not too cold, not too hot. One can grow bananas and pinaples there as well as potatoes or cabbage. And coffee, of course.

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      • I am drinking home-grown coffee this moment 🙂 My wife brought some from her recent trip to Cameroon. It is from the plot that was once my father in law’s gardn and now belongs to one of my brothers in law.
        I think the basic taste is quite good, there are some chocoate-like flavors. Would be nice as a component for a good espresso. However, it tastes somehow “green”, like the scent of plants in a greenhouse or in a tropical garden. I guess this is a mistake in the roasting process (it was roasted in a simple fry pan. The result with a real coffee roaster like yours would probably be much better.
        I have also tried mixing it into our normal coffee and the result is quite good. However, we only have a small amount, less than half a kilo.

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        • Hm. I’ve had that problem with my coffee when it was under roasted. Did you or your wife roast it? Did you hear the coffee go through “first crack”? Did the coffee shed its chaff? Are the beans uneven and bumpy? Are you finding you have to use a lot more coffee than you normally use to extract the flavor?

          Well whatever the case may be, it shouldn’t taste green. You can roast them again. This is not going to be ideal, but you can give it a try. In fact, I just did the same thing with my last pound of beans because I still haven’t figured out how to use my machine properly. The machine started cooling before the beans hit first crack. Due to the safety mechanism, I couldn’t add time to the roast and it wouldn’t restart until after it cooled. So then I started the whole process again until I got to first crack. The beans still taste very good, better than anything I can buy…but, sadly, not as good as they would have been if I had gotten it right the first time.

          If you decide to re-roast, start with a small amount to get a sense of it and see if you like it. On the stovetop it’s harder to control the roast to make it even, but it could be an interesting way to learn how it works.

          First crack is an annoying term because it refers to a series of popping noises, not just one noise. I made the mistake of thinking “first crack” referred to the first bean to pop. So when you hear about “going through first crack”, that means nearly all the beans have popped. This stage is called “City” or “City+”…the latter is a bean that’s further along in the roasting process. Don’t worry too much about the terms. I still haven’t figured out the difference between City and City+.

          Water evaporates from the beans during the yellowing stage. Then the beans go from yellow to brown. Somewhere during this browning the water and gas pressure build up and break the cell walls inside the bean, causing a loud popping noise.

          Going through first crack is similar to popping popcorn. You hear a lot of noise, then it gets quiet.

          Then there’s second crack. This will come after a period of quiet, but each bean will vary in the amount of time that must pass before second crack. Second crack is more like crackling…it’s a fast popping and even hissing. You’ll notice a lot of smoke. I almost never let my beans go all the way through second crack because I don’t want to end up with a French or Vienna roast. If you let your beans go through second crack, there’s a real danger that they’ll get burned. If you start to hear second crack, cool your beans quickly by putting them in a colander and sticking them in the freezer to stop the roast.

          Some beans taste better when they’ve reached second crack, depending on the region. (also called Full City, Full city +) I believe African beans are best when they aren’t roasted to this stage, but I could be wrong about that. It’s also a matter of taste. The more you roast, the more “roast” flavor you get, at the cost of the regional flavors. This is why part of the reason why Starbucks tastes horrible. They lose the regional flavors in order to maximize the roast flavor and the beans all taste the same—burnt. You know when you see oils on the bean that it’s somewhere in the French roast stage. Also, the bean will have a very light weight. I’ve never really understood the point of roasting your own coffee to this stage because you can usually get a pretty good espresso roast freshly roasted at a coffee shop. I think the point of doing it yourself is getting that bean you can’t buy, the one that maximizes the regional flavors. (Unless you just happened to like spending a lot of time roasting coffee…I can’t say I enjoy it all that much!)

          By the way, what you’re tasting in that bean IS the regional flavors. If it’s under roasted, it won’t produce that full bodied cup, but now you’re getting an even greater sense of what’s special about that bean. The first time I had good coffee I was surprised by this complexity. So the trick is to preserve some of those characteristics that you’re tasting now while achieving a fuller body. It’s all about balance. You can roast the same bean variety and get vastly different results.

          I’m really curious to know how the stovetop process works. I’ve never done it like that. I used to use a popcorn popper, and that roasted way too fast. Let me know if you decide to do it. I’d love to hear your results.

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          • Sorry, I just realized I wasn’t clear about something. French roast isn’t when you’ve started second crack, it’s after.

            So it goes:

            City-City+: First crack. (415-435 degrees)…Flavor: Bright, sweet, fruity, light body.
            Full City-Full City+: Second crack. (435-450 degrees) Flavor: balanced, bittersweet, medium body.
            Vienna-French roast: After second crack. (450-470) Flavor: bitter, thin body, carbony.

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          • Thanks for providing this expert advice. Looks like this is an art and a science at the same time. I like that.
            Unfortunately, what we got was already ground powder, so it is too late for re-roasting. I think one of my sisters in law or one of my wife’s cousins prepared the coffee. They rosted the beans and then ground them. Maybe I will invest into equipment and try to get unroasted beans next time.
            In the village, they have a gas cooker and a traditional kitchen. I don’t know which of the twoo was used here. In the traditional kitchen, you have three stones on the floor. A fire is made and you put the pot or pan on top. It is somehow a place with a magic athmosphere. Very special. But maybe they used the gas cooker. In any case, I think they just put the beans into the hot pan and stirred them until they were brown. Some people who are in the coffee business probably have the expert know how and know how to roast coffee well, but I guess this knowledge was missing here.
            Actually, the flavour is quite nice despite the “green” taste. It is a bit bitter and quite complex. It resembles the taste of “bitter kola” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garcinia_kola), but you probably don’t know that one.

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          • Yes, coffee roasting is very much both art and science. I do think you’d enjoy it. I wouldn’t say that to everyone, because it is a bit laborious. You have to really enjoy this sort of thing. You seem like a patient sort of person. 🙂

            I just found this website: http://www.rohebohnen.de/epages/64353537.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/64353537/Categories/%22Rohkaffee%20Afrika%22

            I have no idea if it’s any good, but they ship to Germany. Of course, I’m Googling in English. You might find a better website on your end.

            You’ll find that green coffee is not very expensive. It’s usually cheaper than roasted coffee, except that you usually have to buy through a website and pay for shipping. If you find you like doing this, you’ll eventually want to order a lot at one time to save money on shipping. Green beans have a long shelf life, so this is okay.

            I buy my green beans from Sweet Maria’s, but shipping from there will cost a lot more for you. It is a very reputable company. Pretty much everyone I know who home roasts buys from Sweet Maria’s.

            https://www.sweetmarias.com/store/shipping-policies

            I’ve been roasting a pound of coffee at a time and grinding it right before I brew it. The way you know when you have really fresh coffee is by looking at what they call a “bloom”. I guess because it opens up like a flower. If you do a pour over, you see the grounds rise up to release carbon dioxide. When you have older coffee, you don’t see much of anything happen.

            Coffee bloom: http://cupandbrew.com/blogs/cupandbrew-blog/12135009-what-is-coffee-bloom

            It would actually be better if I did 1/2 lb. at a time, but I hate cleaning out the machine. Also, that thing is heavy and a pain in the butt to haul out from the cabinet. But you know, the fresher the better, although it is best to allow the beans a day to rest after roasting.

            Okay, enough of this. I hope I’m not scaring you away from it all. It’s not really that complicated, but it seems that way at first. It will become intuitive as you experiment yourself. But I must warn you, before long people will be inviting themselves over to your house or stopping by randomly in the morning. 🙂

            I bet the traditional kitchen is amazing. That would make quite a nice spectacle if you recreated it in your backyard! You know, I think Sweet Maria’s has equipment for this kind of roasting. I haven’t really looked into it, but that would be incredible.

            You’re right. I’ve never heard of “bitter kola”. I wondered if it was a German soft drink. 🙂

            When you said you mixed the greenish coffee with other coffee, that reminded me of when I did the same thing. It’s not a bad way to create a kind of balance using what you have on hand!

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          • I’m so jealous! I bet you enjoy the harvest. That would be so nice to have so much space. A perfect way to do it if you live in a city.

            I tried vegetable gardening here in Tucson and I thought it would be terrific since we get so much sunshine. I couldn’t wait to grow tomatoes…I had just come from Vermont where each year I’d be stuck with a bunch of fat green tomatoes because the sun hardly ever came out. So the first year in Tucson everything went fairly well and I had delicious tomatoes. The next year the little pack rats and various other creatures started to eat them. They would take one bite out of each tomato, ruining them all. (I wouldn’t have minded if they just ate an entire tomato and left some alone, but this wasteful phenomena bothered me.) So I came up with every conceivable way to keep these pests away, but none of them worked. It was like the plague fell upon me all of a sudden. Everything went wrong. I even covered each tomato in little containers and sealed these with duct tape. This took hours and hours of labor. I was being ridiculous, but I just love home grown tomatoes. Well, the critters chewed through each container, through the duct tape, took one bite of the tomato, then went on to the next. So infuriating. I was on the verge of staying up all night with a shotgun. Eventually I decided I’d better stick to native plants. There’s a reason everything around here has thorns. It was a sad day when I just stuck a bunch of agave in the beds and let it go.

            I went to a friend’s house in Oklahoma last summer and he had a huge area in his backyard dedicated to tomatoes. He had this enormous harvest and no time to pick them. Hundreds and hundreds of perfect tomatoes were going to waste. So during his party I stood around in the backyard trying to pick as many as I could. When I ran out of room in my basket I just shoved them in my mouth. He thought it was pretty comical. I kept yelling at everyone to help out…but they just wanted to drink beer and they thought I was nuts. I would have helped him make sauce or something if I didn’t have to fly out the next day. It was heartbreaking to see all those tomatoes go to waste, especially after all the work I put into my garden and all my failures.

            You wouldn’t believe how good those tomatoes were. I’m still mad about it. Ugh, I can’t even think about it.

            Well, I’m glad that you get to have a vegetable garden. There’s really nothing quite like home grown vegetables. Sometime you should post pictures of your harvest.

            I’m eager to read your post on black walnuts…

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          • In that place, tomatoes are the only thing that does not grow there at all. There is some pathogen in the soil that lets them rot before they are ripe. But many other things grow fine. There are also some pests. This year, all of my kale plants where eaten by something (maybe crows) when they where small. In one year, most of my carrots where eaten by a kind of mouse. The dug a tunnel along the line of carrots. Maybe one should not sow them in lines. The same happend to one row of parsley in one year. There are also thiefs. Some of my potatoes got stolen last year. But I had a great harvest of beans.
            The thorns are maybe an explanation why these rodents get at everything no matter how you protect it. There must be a long history of an arms race between the two. You would need a cactus-like container, transparent but with very nasty thorns. I mean, even the fruits of some cacti have thorns. There are also some kinds of squash that have so damned hard shells that you can hardly open them. Probably from a desert area.
            Try local plants. Maybe squashes are worth a try, I think they originated in Mexico. There are some extremly nice ones, see http://asifoscope.org/2013/09/29/squash-harvest/

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          • Oh, I had raised beds (I can barely dig in the ground around here) for the tomatoes, plus I tried a container garden…even a hanging container garden. You’d be surprised how high those pack rats can jump. The ones I had suspended in the air about four feet off the ground came out okay for a while, until the birds noticed them.

            Anyways, it was a small operation here. Nothing like what you have going.

            I can’t believe someone stole your potatoes. What a jerk!

            And I bet even if you planted your carrots in some other configuration, the critters would figure it out. They have their ways. But who knows, it’d be worth a try.

            I grew squashes for a little while, but I do have limited space and I hadn’t quite realized how much they take up. Those did well though. I realized though that I can buy some nice squash here and I didn’t need to waste that much space in my garden.

            Beans and peas do fairly well here too, in the winter time. I have some snow peas growing right now. That’s the only vegetable I have out there. I’ve pretty much given up and I let my husband put in whatever he wanted, so that’s mostly desert plants. I have to admit, his choices look a lot better than mine. And they require virtually no maintenance and little water.

            I’m considering growing tomatoes in containers again. I might have to bring in the plants every night though. That would be annoying.

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  2. Ha! You stick to the rules just like I do Tina; something about being within the spirit of the law, if not the actualité. Seriously though, I’m not known for being overly burdened by a sense of my own inadequacy, but in this exalted company, how could I not be? Thank you.

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  3. I’m honored by your nomination; thank you.

    Would it be out of place if I ask if there’s some reason you think of me or my blog as “versatile”? I hadn’t thought of me/it as such.

    Better content to come, methinks… 🙂

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  4. Tina, I’m indeed honored by the nomination. “Versatile” is a polite term for my blog’s somewhat scattered and unfocused nature, but I’ll take it 🙂

    On coffee, I have to admit to going to the dark side last year, otherwise known as using a Keurig. Yes, laziness is me. Although it is kind of nice when several visitors are over and we’re each drinking our preferred type of coffee (at least within the selection I keep on hand).

    I’m totally with you on informal being preferred, although intellectual discussion mixed with dirty jokes is probably the optimum level of entertainment, when it happens.

    I think being able to let go and be silly is one of the keys to happiness, although I have to admit that it takes a lot of alcohol (which I rarely drink anymore) to make me do karaoke.

    Thanks for the nomination!

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    • I have to admit, those Keurig machines are pretty convenient. Speaking of lazy, I considered getting one to put in my mom’s room in memory care so that I wouldn’t have to walk down the hall to get coffee. How’s that for lazy? I soon realized that it would probably get taken out of the room…not stolen, just taken out by someone with dementia. There’d be little Keurig cups all over the place.

      I’m totally with you on the mixture of dirty jokes and intellectual discussion. That would be the ideal. Unfortunately I can’t seem to find others who share my feelings about that…usually it’s one way or the other. I probably only prefer the paper plate parties because I’ve been putting on formal ones since my early twenties for professors and such, and I’m really burnt out.

      You know, I used to have to drink quite a lot before I’d get up on the stage to sing karaoke. Now I don’t have to do that because I just pretend I’m in the shower singing to myself. Besides, it’s not about the quality of your singing, but about the song you choose. That’s about 99% of karaoke, playing that song that everyone secretly likes. When you hit that sweet spot, some forgotten song that’s slightly embarrassing, slightly awesome, everyone in the room with be singing with you.

      If in doubt, just go with Journey. Everyone loves Journey.

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  5. Thank you for the nomination, and also for the insight in your personality! Raosting your own coffee takes some kind of dedication – I’m all about my Mr Coffee. I don’t even grind my own beans. Also I like my coffee flavored. Hazelnut.

    I’ve said too much!

    And Karaoke is the best 🙂

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    • You know, I’ve learned to pick my battles when it comes to foodie things. I used to get into anything it’s possible to be a snob about, but that can get pretty time consuming. Now I’ve narrowed it down to a handful of things…coffee just happens to be one.

      Too bad you don’t live here. It’d be fun to hit up the karaoke bars together!

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  6. Thanks for the shout out! My blog is where awards go to die, but I very much appreciate the thought!

    Looking at your seven facts (and don’t worry; as you get older you’ll have more than seven facts about you) I see we have almost nothing in common. For one thing, I’m so old there are nine facts about me!

    But I don’t drink coffee (like, ever) or eat yogurt (I’d make the usual crack about eating spoilt milk, but I love cheese). As for Karaoke, I’m the guy they sometimes hire to sing at the end of the night and make everyone go home. Fast. Couldn’t hold a tune with vice grips.

    On the other hand, I’ve never been to Korea, either, so we could talk about all the places we haven’t seen there. (Don’t get me started… I could really talk your ear off about all the things I haven’t done there!)

    And I do eat off paper plates most of the time. They don’t do well in the dish washer, but I like the informality! 🙂

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    • I have a place in my backyard where plants go to die, but not a place for awards…pro-bab-ly be-cause…I don’t get them that often.

      No coffee? I can’t imagine a day without coffee. Actually, I can, and it would not be pretty.

      At the karaoke bar I go to, there’s a guy who really can’t hold a tune. Not at all. But he gets up there and sings anyway, all the time. Like I was telling Mike, it’s a matter of picking the right tune, then everyone will sing with you regardless of what you sound like. Especially if you do a really bad white guy dance. That will always bring a hearty applause.

      Speaking of putting paper plates in the dishwater, my mother would hand wash those plastic disposable plates and use them again and again. I would point out that she could just use real plates if she’s gonna bother to clean them, but this point never went over well.

      So I know exactly where my bizarre tendencies come from.

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  7. Thanks so much for the nomination Tina! I enjoy reading your blog as well.

    I can totally relate to #4 and #5 – I’m much more comfortable at relaxed chill-out paper plate parties, and karaoke is totally my thing. Funny thing, I actually think much higher of my singing than anyone else does. At least I enjoy it. 😉

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  8. Thanks so much for the nomination; I appreciate it, and I really enjoy your blog as well. 🙂

    The facts about you are quite interesting. I think wearing shoes inside the house is a specifically American thing, as generally people in Canada seem to take their shoes off whenever they are inside the house. So you would fit in here.

    How can you not like kimchi? It is delicious. In all reality, kimchi fits in with the aesthetics of disgust, as the smell is definitely foul, so I am not surprised that you say it smells like a rotten animal corpse. Although, its smell is not as bad as durian or as odd as rauchbier (beer that smells like smoked meat.)

    I would love to try freshly roasted my own coffee. While I don’t drink coffee often because caffeine really makes me jittery, I do really enjoy a good espresso or a nice cup of coffee when I do have it.

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    • You are welcome!

      I had no idea Canadians take their shoes off. Is it because of the snow?

      One day I was cleaning out the garage with my buddy (I needed him to get down some things off a high shelf) and we noticed this foul odor coming from one of the boxes. We argued over who would open it. We stood there for a long time, picking at the edges nervously, fully expecting to find some rotting creature at the bottom. Then I turned around and noticed that my mom had opened the kimchi refrigerator and that’s where the smell was coming from.

      It says something that the kimchi had its own refrigerator out in the garage.

      Oh the kimchi…I can’t imagine putting something in my mouth that smells that awful. Plus I’m not a big fan of things pickled, so that rules out many other Korean foods. I do like bibimbap, though, but really only when my sister-in-law makes it in the clay pots. That crunchy rice at the bottom is the best.

      I do like pretty much every other kind of asian food, though. It’s too bad Korean is on the bottom of my list. I’d say Thai is at the top.

      Since you don’t drink coffee that much, I’m not sure it’d be worth the investment of time and money to get into roasting your own, but there might be a good coffee shop near you that does it. Here in Tucson there’s a place that roasts their own, and when you order a cup, they grind the beans and make your cup individually using a pour-over method. It’s very good. I just like to have awesome coffee every morning. But you might find someplace like that where you can get your occasional fix.

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  9. Totally with you on the dirty jokes plus intellectual discussion! Very tough to find that combination. Like you, I am a rule follower (and terminally early). But now I am almost fifty, I am starting to feel more confident about rule-breaking 🙂
    I like vegetarian kimchee, which no doubt bears very little resemblance to the authentic stuff.
    Thanks again for the nomination. I shall investigate the other bloggers on your list!

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    • I think its fascinating how we change (for the better in my case I think!) as we grow older! I’ve recently got much more into jazz after a lifelong fix on classical music. One of the differences in jazz compared to classical is that the former is more dependent on rhythm and less on form. And of course on improvisation. Rule breaking again! I’m thinking about Lousis Armstrong’s famous scat recording. One isnt ‘better’ than the other but each requires a different mind set.

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      • I love that you’re getting more into jazz as you get older…the progression usually goes the other way around, or at least that’s what it seems like to me when I go to classical music concerts and observe the sea of white hair before me.

        I definitely have music periods which correspond to life periods. In college I listened to Bach’s cello suites and Chopin’s Nocturnes on repeat, day after day after day, and little else, but I wasn’t interested in all classical music. You’d think I would’ve gotten sick of those albums, but I never did. Oddly, I was also into Edith Piaf during this period.

        Now I’m gravitating towards acoustic covers of bad pop songs. Don’t ask me why, but I just love it. Maybe it’s that silly part of me coming out as I get older. I also enjoy bad 80’s and early 90’s songs from my youth. “Everything Changes,” “Girlfriend” (Pebbles) …that kind of stuff.

        I won’t be the least bit surprised if I start getting into country music in my 40’s. I’ve seen it happen so many times. I’ve been told several times that I’ll understand when I get older.

        I’ve always liked jazz, but I couldn’t tell you any specific kind of jazz. A lot of it bores me—especially the improv stuff, if it’s not really spectacularly well done. Maybe I’m just not enough of a rule breaker yet. A great number of my friends are jazz musicians and they’d shake their heads at me if they heard this.

        Louis Armstrong’s great, always and forever. I love him with Ella Fitzgerald especially. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Esperanza Spalding…which usually has a lot of soul mixed in. Perfect for me, I love pretty much ALL soul music:

        Oh, BTW, totally off-topic: I reread the Death of Ivan Ilyitch last night. So good! I had forgotten how short it is.

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        • Great! I’d be interested in how you thought about Ivan Illyich reading it again. Do you think it bears repeated readings? Do you think you got something from it you didn’t get before?

          Yes, I’ve got Porgy & Bess with Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. Some one I’ve been listening to today (as it’s been sleeting in the NE of UK) is Artie Shaw.

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          • You know, I didn’t bawl my eyes out again. I’m sort of glad about that, but I must say it didn’t affect me as strongly as it did the first time. That said, when I read it the first time I wasn’t looking at it from a writing perspective. This time I was amazed by new things. Tolstoy’s distance at the beginning was incredible. The way his omniscient narrator slowly delves into Ivan’s mind was so well done. It’s as if a camera slowly zoomed in until we were right there in Ivan’s mind. These techniques really MAKE the story. Without them, we wouldn’t see Ivan as an ordinary person, as really a representative of everyone. And the simple writing towards the end, the shorter sentences, etc., make for a great sense of immediacy. I imagine myself writing about the same subject and I suspect I would have gotten lyrical here. Tolstoy masterfully avoids that, which would have been tedious, and keeps the thoughts of Ivan simple and relatable.

            I sense myself going into a long pontification, so I’ll stop myself now. I could really go on and on about this.

            Wait, no, I just have to say one more thing. It takes a lot of courage to write about death in this way. To really get IN it and try to see it with such immediacy. The tension Tolstoy creates is incredible. You know what’s going to happen to poor Ivan, but you must know the details, which is what it’s all about.

            Okay TINA! I’m stopping now. I’m stopping. 🙂

            I will check out Artie Shaw on Spotify…and stop talking about Tolstoy.

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          • Excellent! I’ve just finished The Cossacks and was blown away by it. It seems to me word-perfect and again a very moving story with spiritual depth. Great news about your health Tina. All the best.

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    • I don’t believe I’ve ever tried vegetarian kimchee. I have tried fresh kimchee at a restaurant, and it was okay. (My family probably wouldn’t acknowledge this as kimchee because it had no odor). But it wasn’t anything special.

      Enjoy investigating! I hope you find something you like!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Versatile Blogger Award | bloggingisaresponsibility

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