Short Bites: Lunch with the Person Who Dumped You

Not a traditional short story, “Lunch with the Person Who Dumped You” runs us through the thought process of someone who’s just received a lunch invite from someone s/he used to know. There are five what-if scenarios presented in this short piece, and the anxiety runs deep throughout the piece.

But I appreciate the candidness of it all. The story reflects what we would all be thinking should the same thing happen to us. I don’t blame this person has gone overboard analyzing one message—I can relate. Not everyone is perfect, and some of us have our neurotic moments.

Someone who will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory is a fun collection to read. It’s written by Raphael Bob-Waksberg, the creator of Bojack Horseman, which explains the cloud of dark humor that envelopes the book. Another piece, “LIES WE TOLD EACH OTHER (a partial list),” is exactly what the title says, a list of things we have said that aren’t actually true. Not everything is in a short story format, but that makes the collection a more entertaining and refreshing read—if you’re a fan dark humor, that is.

The Stamp of Arrival

And so The Grand Detour of 2019 has finally come to an end. (I will still be posting a few more installments, but FYI, in real time, it is over.) It lasted long enough. It’s time to rejoin the workforce and …reality. I’m quite excited actually. I’ve had ~3 months of breathing space to read and explore. Now, I am ready to bring back some routine into my life and, of course, to take the next steps of my career.

That said, I’m (yet again) in a different timezone (GMT+8), which I will now be following for my future posts. This means that my recently regularized schedule of posts is shifting approximately 12 hours earlier. (I’ll see how it goes! I might tweak the schedule a little.) Also, I’ll start categorizing my travels in the Philippines as local, but I will also still include it in the Asia category.

That’s pretty much it! I just wanted to give a quick housekeeping update. Other than that, I’m still reading, I’m still traveling, and I’m still going to have a lot of things to say.

Novel Reactions: Rebel Cities

David Harvey’s Rebel Cities challenges the capitalist norm in which owners of capital are the only ones thriving in cities and poses that we can find a socially just solution to allow the majority to reclaim the cities.

This book made me think: yes, that’s true; our cities are flawed.

Rebel Cities doesn’t dictate the one solution to solve the issue—to be frank, there isn’t any one yet—but Harvey gives us a comprehensive background on the issue and provides us with some alternatives.

For a book of ~160 pages (paperback edition), it was quite a heavy read. There were times I’ve had to look up concepts mentioned in the text to make sure I was on the same page as Harvey. I think this was largely due to the target audience being people with economics or policy backgrounds. Nevertheless, the content wasn’t that hard to follow, so and it wasn’t at all intimidating to read my way through this book.

This is one of my favorite nonfiction reads. It has made me curious enough about social and political issues that I will likely read up on related topics to this. I would recommend this to anyone interested in social justice.

Short Bites: My Brother Walter

Walter is depressed. His family knows this and makes great efforts to constantly keep him company. His family often (almost weekly) holds gatherings for the sole purpose of spending time with Walter. Here’s another thing: Walter is also lucky. Great things are accomplished whenever he’s around. What a guy.

For all of the effort of bringing everyone together for the sake of Walter, the family seems to care so much about Walter. Everyone seems to want to make sure that Walter is okay. Here’s another thought: they do not actually care about him.

Although the title of the story is “My Brother Walter,” it is not actually about not about Walter. It’s about the benefits Walter’s family members reap from his presence. The narrator has a false sense of sympathy towards his brother that masks the selfish motives the narrator and the rest of the family have.

“My Brother Walter” was a bit disturbing to read, but I found it thought-provoking. Similarly, the other stories I read in Mouthful of Birds also had the same eerie vibe. For a quick read, it had a long lasting aftertaste. So: this story was good read, but a reading full collection would be too unsettling for my liking.

Curious Travels: The Grand Detour of 2019 | Blue Mountain Village

A two-hour drive north from Toronto, Blue Mountain Village is a resort for recreational activities and events. There are restaurants and shops as well. In the winter, people usually come here to ski, but in the summer, people can hike and do other activities (which I obviously didn’t look into, but feel free to look at their website). In our case, we ate by the pond and just browsed the shops.

I enjoyed coming there for the view. I brought a book along, so I spent some time reading. It has a different scenery and pace from the city, and if you like sitting by bodies of water to unwind, this is a great place to go. Everyone else with active ways of blowing off steam can pursue other activities Blue Mountain Village has to offer.

It’s not very far from Toronto, and it’s a wholesome place to visit with the family and friends. I say go.