Monday, January 11, 2010

some people find solace in an empty wall

...i am not one of them.

the wall that divides us from our neighbours is one big expanse of pale grey, completely unbroken, extending up into the second floor. i think the very size of it is daunting. it's hard to think of filling such a large, cool, clear space. you either have to leave it alone in its monastic spare tranquility, or make sure that what you put there makes sufficient use of the negative space to feel deliberate and planned. it's not the kind of thing where you put up one thing at a time - i feel like with that amount of wall space, you kind of have to have a plan, collate your materials, and execute...anything else would seem too jarringly odd to sit well for too long.

so...what to do? here are some idears:

origami letters spelling something out (shamelessly cribbed from design sponge). made from giant sheets of paper (so the resulting letters would be at least 8.5 x 11") possibly framed. i think if i didn't do our names (or aliases, rather)...i'd like it to say, "our house is a very very very fine house" or, "just suck the tit and go" (j/k!) i think hand-folded origami animals would be great on a kid's room wall.

i also love the idea of a cascade of embroidery hoops with all kinds of fun material stretched inside:

inspiration care of desire to inspire. i love this idea because i'm such a fabric/print junkie that it allows me to have an outlet for all the wonderful japanese quilting fabrics i don't have enough sewing projects for and that i'm constantly favoriting on etsy. incidentally, isn't that soft, clear, green-y turquoise perfect for a kid's room? and the slight variation on that colour with the red! love it. sigh. the problem with having a wee lil' house and too much inspiration is that you don't have enough space to implement all the wonderful colours/patterns/textures/eye candy that exists in the world. infinite beauty.

i wonder, if you were to count all the things that have the potential to make your heart thrum with joy, would that infinity be greater than the set of all things that can make your heart contract with sorrow? personally, i'd like to think yea.

my attempt to slip mathematical constructs like "infinity" and "set" into my everyday vernacular serves to gently guide us to today's book review, the comic "logicomix." this was oh so very very very good. such a wonderful little book. the kind of book you want to pick up and do a crazy dance with, clasping it to your chest in gratitude. it's such a little wonder! ostensibly, it's about the life of bertrand russell, mathematician cum logician. but it's about so much more! it's meta meta meta.

first, you have the story of russell's life, told by russell at a non-interventionist rally in england on the cusp of world war II. you also have the authors of the comic writing their attempts to tell russell's story into the story. several themes emerge: the tenuous line that divides madness and reason, the quest for truth, the genealogical history of logic as we know it, the nature of the quest, the frailties of language and the ontology of truth. through the course of his life (and with a little bit of creative license from the authors) russell meets and converses and takes up the work of all the great minds of his day: godel, hilbert, frege, can feel the excitement, inspiration, and paradigmatic earthquakes as these men grapple with the epistemic shift that shakes mathematics from centuries of axiomatic stability, as they try to ground mathematics in capital "t" truth. what is accepted and known suddenly becomes as insubstantial as smoke, dissipating under the scrutiny of the best minds of the time.

i was introduced to so many concepts, theories, individuals, given clear-cut definitions for terms that i've used but could never really explain - tautology, axiom, etc. the whole cast of characters were people that informed the work of the theory that i know, but that i had never come across before, because their milieu was distinct from the philosophers of the day - and yet, synchronous with their work.

this comic book is outstanding. one of the best examples of the genre - a seamless conjoining of form and function. would that all learning could be so addictive!

tonight for dinner i made this braised sausage, bean and greens friend C calls it "fake cassoulet." more correctly, i inseminated the dish and the slow cooker gestated it - incubating the warm, stewy goodness and birthing a melange of delightful aromas that suffused lil' ugmo and made the turning of key in lock at the end of a work day just that much more enjoyable. i added a bit too much water, so it turned out a little more soupy than usual, but no less tasty for it. it's a very simple recipe that i'll post (i can't remember if i've posted it before.)

a funny thing happened over the holidays, featuring little ze. there was a fairly large box left over after we finished divesting the presents of their red-green-white suits. miss ramona hopped in and i playfully boxed her up, saying, "okay! looks like we'll have to take this box out to the garbage!" she giggled inside, playing along as i closed her in and faked dragging the box out, on the way to the curb. little ze LOST IT. "NOOOOOOOOOO!!!" he shouted, using his little chubby hands to open the box as quickly as i was closing the flaps. "little ze," i said, "i'm just taking the recycling out." then he uttered the cutest, most heart-warming words ever: "BUT I'LL MISS HER!" he cried, which promptly made me stop pretending as the dotytron, my sister, and i looked each other in the eye, welling up internally. SO GOD DAMNED CUTE.

the other awesome moment was when he was (mis)directed to open a present by my mum, which turned out to be a piece of pink princess luggage. "what." "that's ramona's gift." lol! he was considerably more good-natured about it than miss ramona was upon opening a set of nerf dart-guns which were meant to be shared with her brother. the boyishness of the present resulted in tears.


faux-cassoulet (braised sausage with beans and greens)
serves 4 (easily adaptable)

4 farmer's sausages (i used italian sausages without fennel from our italian grocers)
1/2 spanish onion, diced
minced fresh garlic, to taste
1 big spoonful of tomato paste
2 c. dried white beans, soaked overnight (cover with water and soak overnight in the fridge, drain and rinse before using)
2 sprigs rosemary
1 carton of grape tomatoes
1 big bunch of kale or swiss chard
4 c. chicken stock or water

- i stir together the beans, onion, garlic and tomato paste and throw that in the bottom of the slow cooker
- i add the rosemary and layer on the tomatoes
- i chop the kale or swiss chard fairly coarsely and pile that on top of the tomatoes
- i sprinkle the whole thing with salt and pepper and then pour on the chicken stock or water, put the lid on the slow cooker, and cook it on low for about 8 hours.
- you can't lose with this can't overcook it, add too much water, or ruin it. it'll just either stay as a thick stew of beans or slowly morph into a hearty soup with big chunks of sausage. everybody's a winner!
- you can also add poultry pieces of duck or vary the meat as you like.



Chris said...

I do love me some fake cassoulet. I made it last week - it's become one of our winter staples. Thanks M!

Talking to your sis about dim sum with you guys in mid Feb.

kitsch:in:sync said...

tautologies are redundant!