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Caffeination / Joseph Dunphy

Chicago

I'm starting a blog about books, caffeinated beverages, black and white movies and photography, and other things. This makes more sense than one might think.

At least, I hope it will.

Caffeination, the main focus of my activity as I used this profile, is not going to be a book review blog in the conventional sense, and if it were, it would be maybe the most pretentious effort to reach the Internet. While I might talk about recently published works, sometimes, usually I won't. I'm going to spend more than a little time reading old classics I've meant to get to, or have been away from for too long, along with lesser known work from the same eras. Do you really need me to tell you that Poe wrote some excellent horror or that MacBeth was worth watching?

I wouldn't imagine that you would, but I will have fun talking about the work. The difficulty of customizing Tabulas blogs provided me with a fortuitous accident, I think. The grayscale minimalism that I initially viewed with displeasure suggested a deliberately anachronistic, "retro" look at I now consider with pleasure, as I begin. It helps set the right mood for a blog in which most of the fiction and poetry I'm reading as I write it was published before the end of World War Two.

Think of the act of reading my blog as being the equivalent of taking a virtual trip to a coffeehouse with me. I bring some reading material with, probably relatively light reading, because I want (and need) dead, churchlike quiet for my research and studies. "Relatively light? Like Wittgenstein and Proust, Joseph?", somebody asks, staring at the stack of books I've gathered for the trip. "Anybody tell you that you have a strange idea of how to relax?" "But I'm only reading them in translation", I plead, seeing that I am not making my case.

I am not cool. But then, I don't really want to be.

I hike to the coffeehouse, perhaps taking a few black and white shots along the way, enter, order my drink, go upstairs and park myself in a nice, soft seat, spending the next few hours reading, at times putting away my books for a little crowd watching and journaling, in between sips. The coffeehouse, as much as it may resemble the Bourgeois Pig in Chicago, when it doesn't morph back into Kopi, exists only as a metaphor, and so has no trouble stocking itself with an assortment of gluten-free, vegetarian dishes based on a variety of cuisines, some of which aren't as fashionable in the Midwestern United States of today as I wish they might be, for some reason or another. You'll see recipes.

In part, then, I'm blogging about an idealization of the experience I have when I go to coffeehouses, into which I'll let reality intrude.

I'll add more later. I notice that Gravatar seems to be broken. I just tried to verify my Wordpress.com blog as a service, and discovered that Automattic couldn't find a blog hosted on their own server. I'll take that as a bad sign, and wait before doing much more on this page.

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