About Me

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Armchair theorist, poet, and occasional IT manager, Sascha B. is equipped with a Master's Degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas, and is not afraid to use it. His work has been published by the University Press of America, Edwin Mellen Press, University of Texas Press, and a variety of small journals nationwide. He is also the proprietor and baker for 3141 Pie, of which you should eat many.

The Deal

I stopped blogging in 2013, when life overtook me. My father became ill and died shortly thereafter, and my mother was left with increasing dementia. I became the primary caregiver, and now orchestrate my mother's care and our family estate.

Now, I am coming up for air again.

Looking for the next book to read. All suggestions welcome.

My reading list is over here.







Saturday, November 19, 2005

Last Thought Of The Day

There's something about family; as long as they are not actively cruel or evil, they command your love and respect, even when they drive you insane. Sometimes I am reminded the most of how much I love them at the very times when I cannot stand them for another waking moment.

Today is saturday, the 19th of November. I leave Rome in 10 days, and for 8 of those days will be without a moment's solitude, whether with my parents, or my nieces, or my brother and his wife, or any combination thereof. And despite my frustration with them, despite the realization that they at their worst are merely a reflection of me, I will try not to flinch. My parents will be given a gift, my nieces given fond memories, and I will take away the knowledge that there are a few who love me in this world unconditionally, for no other reason than my mere existence in their lives.

God help us all.
A Quick Observation

This morning I sat with two diplomats in Rome as they talked shop. It was neither good nor bad, illuminating or opaque; it was just another two guys trying to get their job done without the shit hitting the fan. After that we went to the country to take my nieces for their horseback riding lessons.

I think the horses have a better sense of it all.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Pictures

These are just a few winners: here, moonrise over Scarborough Castle...

And here is Sunny enjoying a pile of leaves in Roundhay Park....


...And the pile of leaves enjoying Sunny!


Mart taking stock of the view above the harbour....


...And it is quite a view, too.



That's all for now. More soon, with Rome too!
Quick Rant

I've just finished my first run through the park in Rome, and have read the news of the last two weeks to catch up on things.

I should've stuck with just the run. At least that was a positive experience.

Not that the news is ALL bad; just unbelievably aggravating and absurd, as it has been these last many months. What struck me most of late is the election result from California: while all of Arnold's pet pissing matches went down in flames, in San Francisco we pulled yet another daydream moonbeam moment of idiocy. I am amazed that the city was not completely pro-Bush in the last election, as we seem to have exactly the same fiscal sentiment and policy. Spend like a drunk sailor on payday, but demand lower taxation at the same time. And ignore the white elephant across the table from you who keeps muttering under his breath that we are as close to bankruptcy as a city can get without actually calling it that. So we will have more bond debt, more city costs, and of course legal costs defending the no handguns policy which in the end will be knocked down by the courts, though it will take time, money, and enormous wasted effort on both sides. It's a shame we can't take that money and actually use it to reduce crime, increase social services, and provide some support systems in the communities that are so grievously hurting. Thanks, Chris Daly---this was a winner.
Cheese

Eating cheese in Europe is always a fine thing; eating lots of cheese after a good meal is even better.

We went out for a bite at St. John Bread & Wine, across from the Old Spitalfields Market, and even though by the time we all got there the Goose special was done, we made do with grilled sardines, and chitterlings, and foie gras, and skate, and venison. Washed it all down with a nice wine, and then moved on to the cheese course.

Now unfortunately, aside from the Shropshire Blue, I can't remember the names of what we ate. I can only remember sight and taste and texture: one was a brie-like cheese, ripe and sharp and lovely. The other was an herb-rinded goat cheese so runny I was afraid it might escape from our table and head off round the corner to the table where Michael York was having dinner, in order to be better appreciated by celebrity. But it stayed, and it was remarkably wonderful. In fact, it was so nice that Giles inhaled a good portion of it (and the portion were quite generous), and I glanced away, savoring a bite with a bit of wine, and when I looked back it was mostly just cheese rind left on the plate, and Giles was leaning back in his chair, eyes closed, holding his stomach, and I believe the words he uttered were "Oh, my god."

Nothing wrong with a bit of cheese after dinner. Now if only I could remember what it was called!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Travels

I've been on the road for almost two weeks now, and wanted to catch up with things, as I have finally arrived (I've finally arrived! How nice if it were true in the metaphoric sense!) at a place with easy computer/internet access.

I left SF on an upgraded flight with a terrible flight crew, and awoke after 10 hours of champagne to find myself at Heathrow airport with a crooked back and dinner plans. Once ensconced in the flat by my very gracious hosts (thanks again, and still, Matt & Andrew!) we were off to South Bank to have a few pints and watch the fireworks of bonfire night with Matt & Andrew & Neil. Once all the lights were done exploding, a journey back south for some excellent curry in Kennington, and a bit of a time at the local bar, a place called "South London Pacific"---you guessed it, a Tiki bar South of the Thames. Who'da thunk it?

Then, it was wanderings, and lunches, and photos of people taking photos of people in front of picturesque monuments, and a lovely dinner at Neil & Lisa's flat, complete with Lisa's wonderful cassoulet, and far too much wine for the likes of us. A bit more wandering, a few more meals and conversations, and then suddenly it was time to head north.

North. I'd forgotten both how lovely it is, as well as how wretched the weather can be. Setting aside a run to Scarborough, my time in Leeds with Sunny and Mart was full of beer, cold wet weather, good food, very gracious hospitality (thanks again and again to the both of you---and Chloe as well!), excellent conversation, new people, packets of crisps, and, well, more beer. I will never grow accustomed to a winter night that begins at 4:00 p.m.

Leeds was a surprisingly nice city, considering the bad rap it has from years past; full of restored Victorian shopping arcades, a pedestrian downtown, a fine small art museum, and lots of hustle and bustle on the streets, in all a nice place. Not stunning like York, nor rugged and lovely like the coast. But nice indeed.

In any case, time wound up in the UK, I said my farewells, and managed this time to not miss my flight, and here I am in rainy muggy Rome, a full 20 degrees C. warmer than Yorkshire.

Next up: Cheese, and parties, and pictures!