This section is long, I wish I could place individual sections
under a "cut," LJ style. Anyway I would recommend skipping to the
end and then coming back to read this if you are interested.
I read Little, Big a few years ago. If you remember the feeling you
got as a child watching the leaves fall in the autumn in front of
your house, getting soaked by rain, or driving to the coast past
rusting farmhouses overgrown with weeds and the silhouettes of
trees seen in the twilight.. That's the kind of like the nostalgic
feeling I got when I finally finished reading Little, Big.
I like books or stories that need rereading to finish or understand
(The Book of the New Sun, Borges), or on the opposite side, books
that you read in one intense late-night session (The Haunting of
Hill House, The Stranger, Atonement).
I'm not a fan of dividing literary fiction from genre.
It's not an exaggeration to say that there are a few non-fiction
books I read in High School that have changed my life. I read The
Selfish Gene because my Biology teacher refused to teach evolution.
It's been said that evolution is the organizing principle of
biology, and that nothing in biology makes sense except in light of
evolution. This book exposed me to this beautiful and simple idea
at the heart of biology.
Phantoms in the Brain gave me the idea that I should pursue
Neuroscience. If you've read anything by Oliver Sacks, Malcolm
Gladwell, or Jonah Lehrer, you really owe it to yourself to read
this. As of now, I'm not a Neuroscientist, but I have a degree in
Psychology and Biochemistry because of this book and the cross-over
between these two fields within Neuroscience.
I like to watch movies at night, because I think that the essential
weirdness comes more to the foreground. Movies I've liked include:
A Fish Called Wanda (weird, darkly humorous), Being There (also
weird, also darkly humorous), The Exorcist,
Almost anything by Billy Wilder, Stop Making Sense (really, David
Byrne has an indescribably weird energy), Almost everything by
Kurosawa, 'Most everything by Studio Ghibli / Hayao Miyazaki as
well, Up / Most things by Pixar, Grizzly Man (weird) and No Country
for Old Men (incredibly, irredeemably dark) and most other Coen
As far as TV programmes, I'm watching Twin Peaks right now and I
like stuff that's weird. I don't follow a lot of shows, but when I
do, I watch them in big chunks. I like Louie, bizarre sketch comedy
(Kids in the Hall, Mr. Show), Arrested Development and I have a
love/hate relationship with stuff that's dark for dark's sake, like
Dexter, Luther, or Law and Order:SVU. Cinema in the 70s went
through a very dark, push lots of boundaries phase. I think TV has
been in a similar sort of situation since 2000 or so, maybe
starting with The Sopranos. There's a lot of amazing stuff out
there, I know I'm going to love Breaking Bad when I watch it, but I
have to wonder what's going on societally to produce all these
great shows that are so very dark.
My tastes in music are pretty ordinary, but I love listening to
music. I learn about bands mostly from "best of" lists. Here's a
list of albums I've liked:
- In Rainbows by Radiohead
- I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One by Yo La Tengo
- New Adventures in Hi-Fi by R.E.M.
- Physical Graffiti by Zeppelin
- Twin Cinema by New Pornographers
- Blacklisted by Neko Case
- Whatever by Aimee Mann
- Selected Ambient Music by Aphex Twin
- Holiday by The Magnetic Fields
- Remain in Light by The Talking Heads
- Maxinquaye by Tricky
- Portishead by Portishead
- The Goldberg Variations by Glenn Gould
- Trans-Europe Express by Kraftwerk
- Dreaming Through the Noise by Vienna Teng
- The Soft Bulletin by Flaming Lips
- Purple Haze by Hendrix
- Yellow House by Grizzly Bear
- When the Pawn.. by Fiona Apple
- The Suburbs by Arcade Fire
I'm open to eat anywhere and like to try new places. There are a
few restaurants I'd recommend to anyone in Portland, though.
- Pambiche (Cuban) for their delicious cuban stewed meats and cuban
sandwiches, happy hour plates (fried stuff like empanadas,
croquettes and smaller versions of their dinner menu) and fancy
- Rimsky-Korsakoffee House for the coffee-house atmosphere, even
more amazing desserts, and occasional live classical music.
- Little Big Burger, which is the Portland answer to In-N-Out
- Ken's Artisan Pizza, for the seasonal vegetable platter,
wood-fired pizza crust, and desserts.
- Nicholas restaurant, for large, inexpensive portions of great
Lebanese/Mediterranean food. If you eat much of their wood-fired
pita with your meal, you'll go home full, happy and with lunch for