Monday, September 26, 2005

Leo Kottke on sadness:

If the tragic view continues to shrink--and, with it, the strange, sad chance it offers to cheer up--there are worse things than the too literary: there is boredom, there is the total avoidance of the literary, or the dismissal entire of the "tragic view"...and the ensuing headlong, or headless, rush into kitzch: refrigerator magnets, un-founded optimism, soul-less-ness, blunted faith, religiosity. This is worse than sadness. (No, let's just say it's different.) It's still nothingness, though. It's being a reindeer, and reminding rooms full of people that there's something to be said for free-floating gloom. It's being ribbons on a poodle, fake flowers on pencil erasers, a bumper sticker...not fate, but flaw.

All of which makes me sad. Angry, even. It may be self-loathing that makes a thug, but it's a numb smile that pisses him off.

But we can be happy. We can swim with the mammals, maybe. If kitzch is the denial of shit (just to be literary and quote Milan Kundera) reality is the tragic view--Maybe Dick, to quote Bullwinkle. We are pinned by choice...because we're too damn sad, or stupid, to make up our minds.

Maybe I am only talking about myself.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Test of embeddable video

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Three Somerville Cafes, Reviewed

True Grounds
In Ball Square. These guys claim to have free wireless access, but when I tried to log on, they tried to charge me $4.95. I would have asked someone about it, but the staff is as uninviting as the furniture (metal tables and metal, armless chairs). Essentially everyone was there alone with his or her computers - so it's probably a good place to go to study (although I'd imagine my ass would go numb after about an hour in those chairs). There are two tables outside for the smoking set, but they're open to the inside, and I somehow felt guilty smoking there, even though I was outdoors. In a word, unwelcoming.
2 out of 5 extra shots

Diesel Cafe
Davis square. Yummy, reasonably priced sandwiches and really good coffee and non-caffeinated drinks (they make an excellent almond italian soda). This place is huge inside, with a mix of couches and tables and chairs. The people are mostly young and mostly female, but mixed other than that. About half had laptops, some had books and some chatted with friends. The very back of the place is almost like a bar, with a curvy couch where groups of people can congregate. Did I mention it's really big inside? One wouldn't guess from walking past it. There's a friendly vibe, people smiled at me and one girl (unnecessarily) asked me to keep an eye on her computer while she went for a sandwich. I didn't notice the music, which means that it was perfect for a cafe (in my opinion). No outdoor seating. (Website:
4.5 out of 5 extra shots (no outdoor seating)

Someday Cafe
Davis square. I came here first, because my english professor in Amherst mentioned this place as soon as I told him that I was moving to Somerville. He said it was founded by Deadheads, although I have not attempted to verify that information. There's no food here to speak of, although there are lots of coffee choices and ice cream. A good variety of non-caffeinated options as well. Clientele is mixed age-wise and activity-wise. Sitting around me right now we have 3 readers and two (counting me) laptop-users. A few chatters just left. This place is friendly to all types. The main room has the feel of a large living room, with mismatched, comfortable armchairs and couches and coffee tables. There are also more conventional tables and chairs for the studiers. It's easy to find a seat most of the time. With its central location right in Davis Square, the someday cafe would be an excellent place to meet someone who doesn't know the area very well. (Website:
4.5 out of 5 extra shots (no outdoor seating)

Subjective Summary:
True Grounds is the closest to my house out of these three. I never go there. I go to diesel if I want a coffee and a sandwich and I go to someday if I only want a cup of coffee, or if I've already eaten.