A couple months ago friends asked me if I would like to join their book club.  A month after, the discussion of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz occurred over good food and grog.  In between then and yesterday, we were to read Fool on the Hill by Matt Ruff.

Fool on the Hill
Fool on the Hill by Matt Ruff

The novel, which is made of several interlocking stories, describes a battle of Good versus Evil.  The novel is full of allusions, literary and music and more.  These allusions were questioned today, because the work seems already pre-written.  He’s not making fun of the other works in the allusions, but you do have to give Ruff credit for putting them together.

How the story is written, it’s similar to a comic book/graphic novel and Stephen King’s The Stand.  Of course, there is no comparison to King’s incredible work.  It flashes back and forth between stories, and the characters’ paths cross.  There are many characters in the book, and they are listed in the front.  Not all of the characters are listed, and some of those characters have bigger roles than some of the listed characters; no, this does not make sense.  What are seemingly crucial characters in the first half of the book are completely abandoned in the second half; this is disappointing to me, and it makes the novel come across written as half-assed.

SPOILERS (well, sort of):  The climax/battle scene is greatly rushed in my opinion; and so this all ends without a climax.  The resolve between the antagonist is half-assed.  The epilogue is a quick bore.  The purpose of Mr. Sunshine, a retired and fictional Greek God, unfolds and displays lack of purpose.

I am left thinking that I can take this character down, Greek God or not.

However, the purpose of our going to Ithaca and Cornell’s campus to walk around and see the sights from the book.  We checked out a suspension bridge, which is significant, but we are unsure if the suspension bridge that we walked on was the correct one.  Cornell has such a beautiful campus.

In the morning and before we hit up Cornell, we attended the Ithaca Farmer’s Market, which is celebrating its 40th year.  Congrats!  Buy local!  There were two places that really stood out, and they provided my breakfast.  Solaz made the best breakfast burrito that I have tasted today; the special burrito had eggs, home fries, cheese, and hot salsa.  You are able to pick what salsa you’d like.  The burrito was not too little, and it was filling enough to hold me over until lunch.  It was the perfect breakfast item.  The burrito went really well with a cup-o-joe, French press, from Silent City Uprising Coffee.

The rest of the day was filled with lunch from Ithaca Beer Company, a visit to the barn book store that is Phoenix Rising, and another quick stop at Hopshire Farms and Brewery.  Our soundtrack provided:  The Tossers, Built to Spill, and The Black Keys.  Here are some pictures to take you through.

Ithaca Farmers Market
Ithaca Farmers Market
The Suspension Bridge
View from the Suspension Bridge
Joe and Baby Z
Joe and Baby Z
Beer Flight
Ithaca Beer Company Flight

Left to right:  Ground Break, Cold Front, Oh Danny Boy (porter), and Gorges Smoked Porter

A growler of Oh Danny Boy was filled.  This porter is a part of Ithaca Beer Company’s 5-Barrell Series.

Ithaca Beer Company Lunch Special

The lunch special was meatloaf with a Shiitake gravy.
A couple of perfectly-crisped onion rings sat atop with garlic mashed potatoes on the side.

Phoenix Rising Books
Pheonix Rising Books

Looks creepy on the outside…

…is creepy on the inside.

However, there is a plethora of books, reasonably priced.

Vampire Grammar
Vampires Use Grammar

I would describe this book that I found, but I don’t have to.

No, I did not buy this.

Grammar Example
Vampire Grammar Example

Yes, good grammar can be disturbing.

Lesson learned:  If you use poor grammar, Lucifer will eat you.

Hopshire Farms and Brewery Tap Room

We went in Hopshire without any idea about their crafts.

We enjoyed the Mellow Beer: Beehave Honey Blonde, but the Blossom did not sit will on our palates.

The Middling Beer grabbed our attention:  Daddy-O, Shire Ale, and CoHOPeration.

The Mighty Beer kept us wanting more:  Near Varna and Hop Onyx.

This little brewery packed a punch.  I cannot wait to go back.

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