17 February 2017

Miscellanea, etc. / 17 Feb 2017

I've had a string of flare ups in the last couple weeks and have been spending more time at home than I would have hoped. Thanks to technology, though, here is a smattering of miscellanea that has kept me occupied in my couch-bound days:

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Rachel Sussman, “Study for Sidewalk Kintsukuroi #01 (New Haven, Connecticut)” (via Hyperallergic)
“Cracks represent something in need of attention, and the surfaces we walk, bike, and drive over are usually overlooked until they’re in truly critical condition,” Sussman said. “By gilding them, it’s a way to see what’s around us with fresh eyes and to celebrate perseverance.”
Artist Rachel Sussman takes the Japanese tradition of kintsukuroi, repairing ceramics with gold, to the more macro scale of the floor, the sidewalk. I can't help but be drawn to her careful attention to the scars in our cities. Her work is currently part of an exhibition on gold at the Des Moines Art Center. (via Hyperallergic; emphasis my own)

03 February 2017

Perusing Princeton / Cafe Vienna

Linzer torte and iced green tea, with a view of the sunny street

It's been a year since the Tall Man and I moved to Princeton, so it's about time I reviewed one of my go-to places in town: Cafe Vienna. I seek it out when I want a quality hot drink and a sunny space to work. They also have brunch on the weekends and breakfast throughout the week, so it's destination for many types of bites.

This is the kind of place that brings a bit of austere European charm and calm to a town satiated with tourists and "too quaint"-ness. It's on a less busy stretch of Nassau Street, between the main downtown and Hoagie Haven. The cafe has a variety of seating inside and out (high tops, regular tables, and an outdoor patio space), with a large glass front that lets in plenty of natural lighting.

12 January 2017

Bookishness / The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Read _ in bed, with hopes that I would awaken in a clearing of fir trees and snow

A beautiful and haunting world in which
the veil between the real and spirit realms has disappeared …

I was born in the middle of a snowstorm, so in some ways, the protagonist of The Bear and the Nightingale, Vasilisa, is a kindred spirit. She is also a youngest child with a healthy streak of contrariness – something I can relate to, for better or worse.

But that’s where the similarities end. Vasilisa – or Vasya for short – is a child of the wilderness, the fourth child of a lord in the frigid Russian hinterland. She’s impish, crafty, and gets herself into all kinds of scrapes like a typical kid. But she can also see and communicate with the spirits of the home and natural world, an ability that is both a blessing and a curse. When her stepmother and an attractive young priest campaign to cleanse the village of its demons, Vasya is thrust into the critical role of protecting and restoring the balance.

28 December 2016

Bookishness / Mysterion: Rediscovering the Mysteries of the Christian Faith

Read _ During pockets of time throughout the day, as an e-book

I don't think anyone would disagree that life is messy. It doesn't always make sense. As much as we use our (mostly) rational minds and science to contain life's experiences in an orderly box, the next moment something spills into the unexplained. As the apostle Paul puts it in his letter to the Corinthians in the Bible: “For now we see through a mirror in darkness” – we're operating in a world that we still only know in part.

The anthology Mysterion: Rediscovering the Mysteries of the Christian Faith offers a creative approach to this partial perspective of ours, with speculations on the many unknowns within the faith. This loose theme results in a wide range of stories from both Christian and secular authors, making you ponder angels and aliens, theology and technology. Whether or not you're a spiritual person – and even if you're not typically a fan of science fiction and fantasy – this serious, humorous, and irreverent collection is worth picking up.