Being very new to blogging, I was busy creating presences at a number of services, with the intention of trying each and seeing which I liked the most. Being very bad at naming things, I found myself staring at the screen. What would I call this place I've created at Tabulas? "Joseph Dunphy's Blog"? I muffled a yawn. No, that wouldn't do. What, then?
"Caffeination", the thought came to me. "Call it 'Caffeination'" "Why Caffeination?", I asked myself, as if I were likely to get an answer. I had no idea of why this new blog was going to be called Caffeination, but it felt right, and so, with a feeling of great satisfaction, I pinned the name on my brand new journal.
Which then stood unused for about a year, because I still had absolutely no idea of what it was about. It was then that the administrator of another service, which shall remain unnamed (here) came to my rescue by acting insanely at the right moment. He was running a social networking site focused on books, and never you mind which one. Deciding that I didn't want to give him any business until he calmed down, but still determined to have a book reviewing site, or at least something that was in part a book reviewing site, I looked around at the sites that I had left dormant. I noticed that my blog on Tabulas was available, and largely undefined, and a silly idea suddenly made sense.
When I went to a coffeehouse, what did I usually do? What did I usually bring with? Books. I'd deliberately seek out the quietest coffeehouses I could, at offpeak hours (early morning), bringing light reading with me, to be enjoyed in a brighter and airier setting than I'd find in my apartment. I don't really go to the coffeehouses to be very actively social. Mostly, this is quiet time for me, a chance to do a little journaling. Books and Caffeine - it is a natural combination.
The caffeine I'll be speaking of will usually not be coffee. It's not a bad drink, but I find that if I make a habit of drinking the stuff, I start having trouble tasting tea, which I enjoy much more, and which seems to have fewer unpleasant side effects. I'll post a few recipes for tea and food that goes with tea, all of it kosher and gluten free (vegetarian, most likely), maybe a little observational writing about what I see when I'm out, and a free form, not quite stream of consciousness ramble about whatever I'm reading at the time. A coffeehouse experience from my point of view, as it would be if I were setting the menu at the coffeehouse.
A fair warning - if you haven't read the book I'm discussing, and it's a work of fiction, you probably don't want to read my review of it on Tabulas, because there will be a lot of spoilers in that review. Instead, you want to go the corresponding review I'll post on the associated Tribe.net profile, where I'll try to stay politely vague about the details of the plot. Sometimes what you'll read will actually be a review, sometimes it won't. I might take a passage out of a book, and play around with creating variations on it as a writing exercise, even when the passage is written by one of the recognised greats. (insert muffled gasp) This is not because I vainly imagine that I could out-Faulkner Faulkner, but in the hope that as I work my way around the structures an author builds into his prose, that a little part of him will become a part of me, and that I'll grow a little as it does. Either that, or that I'll just have a little fun, and it is, of course, only literature, not holy scripture. Some of the awe that surrounds the old works might be a little overdone.
While I'll never give you so much information that you don't need to buy the book, I will usually dig into each book a lot. The format will not be one of "today I've mention this book I read and what I liked about it", it will be something that takes place more in real time. "Today, this is the passage I read, this is what I found interesting in it, and let's go off on a few tangents about the subjects that come up in the course of discussing that passage - which is sort of what people do in a University setting when they talk about what they've read, usually over ... some sort of caffeinated beverage. The wandering will be a little aimless, then; I won't be shy about switching from one nonfiction book to another in the course of a discussion, though I'll be a lot less likely to do that with fiction, because doing so would tend to take me out of the book.
Most (though not all) of the literature will be older pieces, some pre-20th century, items I've picked up here or there, not recent releases, in some cases books well known enough that the entire idea of doing reviews of them would border on pretentiousness. That's deliberate. I could pick up more recent work when thrifting, but I just don't care for it most of the time. Relatively little of this is going to be about politics, and none of it about celebrities or sports. Instead, expect books about history, philosophy, and science, and other subjects as well.
The level of sophistication will vary widely, because as much as I wish I could be, I'm not well versed in all subjects, but I'm working on it. My academic background is strongest in Mathematics, then in Electrical Engineering, and then after that in Physics, finding its weakest points in the Humanities, quite contary to my wishes. I'll try to explain the Mathematics as well as I can, assuming as little as I may, when I discuss Mathematics at all, and hope you will be patient with a layman as he blunders his way through subjects that he hadn't the time to pursue adequately while in school, or the spirit during an unacceptably long period of unemployment. But that's a subject for a different site.
Having bored you with what I hope was an adequate level of grace, I'll now point you in the direction of my blog. When you decide to return your ring, look for the link on the second link from the top labelled "links" and you'll find a link back to the ring return page for this site. Or, if you prefer, you can go to the first post, where you'll find ring code and a link back to that same ring return page. If you'd like, we can now continue on to the blog or, if I've scared you off, you can find the code for your ring right below.