Monday, September 29, 2008

Nietzsche Coffee Tender Nerves Toussaint Dalkey Archive

"Anyone with a loud voice is almost incapable of thinking subtleties." --Nietzsche

Hey, sorry if you're a loud one, but Nietzsche said it, so . . .

Leaves are changing colors here.

Survey: what kind of coffee do you drink? I'm not coffee snobbing here, I'm just curious. Starbucks, Maxwell House, Sanka, some special foreign blend? The only judgment I have about coffee is that I might rather drink out of the toilet than consume instant coffee. I've never been forced to choose, but that's what I imagine happening. Sometimes I'll buy Tim Horton's (there's one a block from my house that is also on the way to work). I've been getting Starbucks with a gift card that my wife, who is not a coffee drinker, got from work. Most often, though, I make coffee in my coffee maker that needs a good cleaning. I usually brew some darker blend of Maxwell House: French or Colombian. For whatever reason, it seems like every time I switch back to Colombian from French I get a raging sinus infection. Sometimes I brew a pot in the French press, but I'm lazy and usually don't like cleaning it out after I'm done.

Something that annoys me every time I watch TV: many many commercials feature men who are absolute idiots. And to a hyper-sensitive fellow like myself, I get at least two messages from these commercials:

1) X product will make your life better and more fulfilling

2) men, categorically, are really really stupid

1 Oct 2008: UPDATE: These are two particular commercials I'm thinking of:

Maybe it's just me being afraid of being stupid. I don't know. See, case and point. Stupid.

I will add this peeve to my tender nerves for commercials where the make believe consumer smiles gleefully when mock-using the product being pushed. For instance, any kind of sleep product, whether a pillow, mattress, etc, the person smiles while they sleep because they are so happy with the product. Now that, my friends, is stupid.

I've mentioned it before (though not really complained): the way the coffee cup signifies ease, security, and leisure in advertising. That hurts me a little. I really like coffee, and to see it pimped out like that stings.

It is Monday morning and I am complaining. Mostly about stupid things. I realize how petty I get about this stuff when I remember that some people are starving or worried about being in the wrong place at the wrong time when someone decides to blow up a public place. Yeah, insulting commercials just don't bite as much after that.

Elsewhere: I read The Bathroom by Jean-Philippe Toussaint over the weekend. I liked it. I am still feeling it and thinking about it, which is the mark of a good book for me. I will be reviewing it with Toussaint's novel Camera, which I am reading right now. I had previously thought that these were bookend novels, The Bathroom being his first novel and Camera being his most recent novel. But this is not the case. The former was published in 1985 (in French) and the latter in 1988. There is an interview with Toussaint as an afterword to Camera that I am looking forward to reading after I finish the novel. The Bathroom and Camera are being published (Camera for the first time in English) by the amazing Dalkey Archive.

Posts below: archived stories from print pubs that are themselves pretty much archived and not being caressed by any reading eyes. More stories to follow.

Thank you.


Matt Bell said...

Man, who gave you that bum idea about the Touissant books? What an idiot. (Sorry!)

Glad to see you posting the Binnacle stories. Open Mic Night at the Chemistry Club is still super badass.

Josh Maday said...

If you mean reviewing them together, I think that will still work fine. The books are short enough. I thought they were bookends before, and I only found out yesterday when I checked out the dates on the French publication dates. No problem, though.

Thanks, yeah, it's interesting going back over some older work (older being only a year or three ago) and how the stories feel like they're from another epoch. It's strange, but it feels good to have grown and changed since then.

jereme said...

i drink ca fe (vietnamese coffee)

very strong, very good

and I have friends who roast their own beans. those are good but i usually only drink when it is provided

i stopped watching tv almost a year ago. no more worries about marketing nonsense

Josh Maday said...

thanks, jereme, i'm going to look into ca fe. i'm really looking for different kinds of coffee to try.

no tv is a good idea. low stress. i don't watch unless someone else has it on. i loathe tv (mostly).

Adam R. said...

I bought a thing of Seattle's Best beans but I've only made coffee twice since then. For some reason I can never make it very well. At work I drink French roast, but I don't know what company makes it.

Ortho said...

I read Toussaint's Television last year. I'm still thinking about it. If you liked Bathroom, I'll read that, too.

CM said...

Sometimes I read every third word of your posts, then I comment on the post, then I go back and read all the words I missed to see how wrong I was about what you wrote about. I do know it is a sin to brew shitty coffee. Instant coffee must only be consumed in life-or-death situations, like right before a frozen dawn when you know there will be close contact with the enemy, with cold bayonets, knives, pistol-butts, and hand grenades. All that said, when you brew coffee, don't brew it stronger than whatever the bean can take -- an inferior bean has a chalky flat brown look to it, a superior bean is glossy, oily and darker in color. The inferior bean is dry, and not very aromatic, superior beans are delicious smelling and it is even acceptable to eat a few to see if they are as good as they smell. Superior beans can be brewed at the highest concentrations you wish -- but filter the boiling water through the grinds one time, and one time only. God bless us all.

Josh Maday said...

Adam: I'd like to try Seattle's Best. I always have a tough time brewing my coffee just right. Maybe I need to clean out my thermos and travel mug. I like French roast. I'm trying a new South Pacific blend from Maxwell House (I know, I know, cheap and unsophisticated), and I like it.

Ortho: I've got Television in queue after I finish Camera. Yes, The Bathroom is worth a read. It surprised me in a few ways. I'm glad I could not have simply read the cover copy and had pretty much read the book. That's not the case at all. I'll be interested to hear what you think.

CM: That's okay, I only write about every third word of my posts, so you're probably getting everything. Thanks for the tips on coffee, etc, that's the kind of stuff I always want to know but am too lazy to just research and find out. So, thanks. You are a glossy aromatic bean, CM.

BlogSloth said...

Why, in all beer commercials, are the men idiots and slobs. But married to hot controlling wives?

Gender theory? Gender questions?

1.) Can't these women do better?
2.) Men are children who need control, some religious idea. Hell (DH Lawrence) as free. Heaven as bars/chains.
3.) Others.

BlogSloth said...

I put ripe fruit or gum into the filter and then brew the coffee with it. Tastes like shit.

peter b. said...

my coffee is called LOVE BUZZ

CM said...

It has been proven you can fix bad coffee with things like chicory, gunpowder, mummy dust, vinegar, asphalt, and even large additions of medicinal alcohol.

Josh Maday said...

Sean, yes, now that I am super sensitive to this seeming glee at portraying a meathead male in most commercials, I see it everywhere. There's a Cheerio's commercial with a man and a woman arguing because the man assumed the woman was eating said cereal because it is 'low in fat' and she proceeds to wear a droopy-eyed glare for the rest of the commercial until the man admits that he ought to just shut up. I see I'm not the only one who was irritated by this commercial (which maybe means it worked (except I haven't gotten any Cheerios, so maybe not)). Then there's the yogurt commercial where the woman is standing at the edge of the kitchen and talking to her friend on the phone and telling all of the great flavors of yogurt she's been eating. Getting the url's for these is the first time I'd looked these up on YouTube and saw the comments that basically echo what irritated me so much about the commercials.

I use old socks for filters sometimes, and that does pretty much the same thing as the used gum etc; or I lay hair down and filter through that. Works every time. Gun powder sounds good, too.

LOVE BUZZ is my new brand of coffee. yes.

jereme said...

seattle's best is mediocre in my opinion. it is slightly above starbucks.

good beans can be bought here:




Josh Maday said...

you are the man, jereme. thanks for the links.