See, I'm in hate with Cleanth Brooks right now. Being "in hate" is analogous being "in love": it is a passionate, though ultimately transitory period of high wrathful dudgeon, destined eventually to subside to an abiding simmer of loathing. My present wroth is caused by Brooks' essay "Irony as a Principle of Structure," which I just finished reading at Cup O' Joe, in preparation for class tomorrow. It starts out (seemingly) straight-forward enough: Brooks basically asks why poetry uses metaphor so much (uh, basically because if you just said "X", that'd hardly be poetry [which... whatever, I have my reservations/objections, but it's not my essay]). He then wanders off toward irony, which he sees as a contextual function. I can vaguely connect this to metaphor, although honestly it's a stretch (which he himself doesn't make). THEN, he [sort of] reveals that he's interested mostly in why critics of his age are so apt to cry "irony!" Thus as a completely logical extension he begins to speak of the merits of a Jarrell poem. And comes to a 'conclusion'.
I'm sorry, but, while he's got some good material in the essay (and in case anyone whose specialty this is reads the above: yes, I know I'm grossly simplifying his essay, in part for dramatic purpose), his structure is just not good. I'm not requesting a five-paragraph form, certainly; that particular form is boring and excessively limiting. But I wouldn't mind him actually sticking to an argument, or providing pertinent support, or maybe returning to a point to tie it together. Right now he's got a through-composed piece, where what he really needs is a verse-refrain sort of gig. It's maddening, it's like he decided "I'm a beeg eemportant theorist, I don't need to hew to standard rhetorical principles, reader be damned!" Yes, we teach people how to write an argumentative paper for the express purpose of having them be able, eventually, to rise high enough in the academic echelons to eschew such forms entirely.
So anyway, you can thank Mr. Brooks for this actual update, since I just have to take a break before tackling the next bloody essay; hopefully it'll be more parseable so I can actually write a damn Statement of Understanding that doesn't have to include the phrase "irredeemably confused."
I've had a very good weekend. Kevin and I got together Friday evening to go out, which is a sort of novel idea :) We've tended to cook at home, or just hang out, or go to a gathering, or whatnot, so actual 'dates' have been less present. After looking at some menus online, we decided to go park in downtown Grandview and wander about looking at places before deciding. We did so, and eventually decided to go to Spagio
. The food was delicious (he had the potato gnocchi with veggies, and I had the fresh mushroom pizza), the waitstaff was attentive, friendly, and competent, and the atmosphere was trendy while still feeling cozy. I may also feel somewhat biased toward them because of the bright and sparkly caipirinha I had to start off the evening while we waited at the bar (a caipirinha is similar to a mojito, but has no mint and is made with the Brazilian sugar-cane liquor cachaça
). Dinner was followed by a trip to Jeni's ice cream next door, where you really can't go wrong. Cantaloupe sorbet, Backyard Mint, and Buttermilk Strawberry. Mmm. Hold onto the flavors of summer while you can!
We went and met nogoodnick
at the Arena Grand to see The Black Dahlia
(stopping en route at Caffé Apropos to see some of Kevin's friends who were there for the weekly wine-tasting. Of the movie... well, less said is more. There were some moments that were good, but by and large it was a big disappointment. I think it was trying to evoke film noirs of a bygone era, and occasionally the diction was perfect, but usually the effect was humorous, since... well, swing and a miss. The styling, however, was very well-done in my opinion; it's a pity the rest of the movie didn't hold itself up to the same standard. Oh, as a last note: while the movie was mostly a wash, the [unintentionally?] hilarious performance of Fiona Shaw as Ramona Linscott was worth the price of admission. Almost. Anyway, then we went back to his place and went to bed, it being late and all.
Saturday. Oh, Saturday, what did I ever do to you? You were supposed to be a productive day :) Instead we ended up going to Penzey's (after a long saga involving the recalcitrance of Kevin's car to, uh, work), because that's what you do. Oh, spices. So inexpensive if purchased in small quantities. We love you. And then, of course, what does one do with new-bought spices but cook with them? I'd had this idea for a roasted allium
pasta sauce, and decided to try it out, so we headed to my place. Although the recipe diverged from my mental plan at some point, the end result, with roasted garlic/onion/bell pepper and fresh garlic, plus veg stock, wine, and spices and just a touch of cream, ended up being quite delicate and very good with tagliatelle (although if I make it again I'll chop the vegetables finer to make a more homogeneous sauce). Also a sort of mango wine cooler/bellini appeared at one point, with Covey Run's off-dry Riesling and some mango nectar. Mmm.
Next, since it was stormy out anyway, I decided to try this intriguing recipe I'd seen for pfeffernusse cookies. It was intriguing because the method was rather unusual... almost more like a candy recipe than a cookie recipe. The results? Wretched. I mean, really, really unpleasant. The cookies looked benign enough, but upon mastication they transformed into a substance midway between taffy and caramel. Oh, and they had a sort of... crust?... that went crunch when you bit it. The mouthfeel was horrifying. I link the recipe here only so you can look at the method and go "huh?" So glad I halved that. Do not make this cookie
. I compensated for the horrible failure by breaking out my mixer and making my old standby: chocolateless chocolate chip cookies (basic Nestle Tollhouse recipe, omit chocolate chips, add in whatever you like, in this case walnuts and chopped dates). They are, as expected, perfect. We ended up the night by watching the first few episodes of West Wing Season One
, since Kevin had never before watched WW (SIN.). Discovered that night on the Anime channel (who knew there was such a thing?): Bento Beat Box, an all J-Pop music video program. Addictive.
Today we had brunch at Whole World, up at High and Como, and it was great. Their vegetarian sausages were startlingly good recreations of their meaty brethren, and I really can't figure out how. The texture was almost perfect, and I want to know how the hell they managed it. Kevin suggested TVP
, which seems like a possibility. Mind-boggling.
And then we come back 'round to the beginning of the entry. Ain't that a deal?
Other than Cleanth Brooks, the weekend has been wonderful. I've tried to keep my cute down to an absolute minimum, but... *smile* Like I told my sister a few days back: I'm really very happy.