Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 157


Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

I cooked a curry but really it was just some stuff I had lying around. An onion, two tomatoes, garbanzo beans, a healthy heaping of cardamom and turmeric. At first I had the burners too high so some of the onions caramelized, only they didn’t stop getting sweeter and burned black onto the pan. Too much of a good thing.

In the end, my makeshift curry matched the mood of the day: hot and scattered, but overall alright.

I talked to a guy who’d lost his job a few years ago. The company he worked for went under and out went his life savings. Since then he’s been building back up, and now he runs a few small businesses. He told me the worst decision he’d ever made was to do just one thing.

Later, I talked to a woman who’s just starting out. New job, new paycheck, looking for a way to build credit. She comes to me with a couple friends. I’ve met them all before, they move in a unit, they complement each other. Anyway, she’s got bigger dreams than I can help her with, but we have a long conversation about putting plans in motion, and she never stops being optimistic as she leaves for the door.

When I ate the curry, I couldn’t help picking out the different parts. I’d spear an onion or scoop a tomato. I had it all over rice. It was red and white and yellow, bits of green from some leftover edamame that snuck. I liked the colors. They looked good together, a complicated life.

For a moment, or a second, the pinched expressions of the cynical, world-weary, throat-cutting, miserable bastards we’ve all had to become disappears, when we’re confronted with something as simple as a plate of food.

Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential

Coffee Log, Day 344


Coffee: Locomotive Blend, PennyCup Coffee

My head’s so stuffed with business things that I’m having trouble thinking what to write. I’m one of those new ‘most stuf’ oreos. There’s no room left in me.

How do you evaluate yourself? When I was six, I wanted to be a grocery store clerk. The coolest thing in the world was going to Food Lion with my mother. Then, a little later, I wanted to be a teacher. It felt good when teachers praised me. Figured I should give back.

Well I was a teacher and now I’m not. I think in the end it doesn’t really matter how you spend the time that makes you money. You need the money, that’s enough. There’s value in taking ownership. There should be pride in being good at it. But the details are non-essential.

The first time I read Murakami was in tenth grade. I read ‘A Wild Sheep’s Chase.’ It was like singing with someone: it’s perfect, but you’d be embarrassed if anyone saw you going on like that. Anyway, the book was the first thing that made much sense to me. It wasn’t a goal or fancy title, it simply made me want to write. I stopped writing poetry the next year. I wrote my first short story two years after. And on, and on.

Who am I? Am I a banker? A writer? I don’t know.

I briefly knew a woman in Japan who liked to look in people’s windows when they were lit up at night. She told me how there was something special – and a little scandalous – spying on these intimate worlds. We walked around watching for the tiny lit rectangles. It was a nice night. It was like reading Murakami for the first time.

Novel Count: 20,917

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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Of course, that rationalization didn’t work at all. It would have helped if I’d had some Oreo cookie ice cream to eat that the same time. I’ve learned that self-delusion is much easier when there’s something sweet in your mouth.

Lee Goldberg, Mr. Monk on the Couc