Surviving the gray

If the beginning of fall brings the normal climate changes thisyear, we can soon expect to be spending more time indoors. Sincefall in the Pacific Northwest is almost identical to the long andsometimes excruciating winter, it is important to keep whateverlevel of sanity you posses afloat and, above all, avoid thesometimes-fatal Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

I am going to make a few suggestions on things that, for somereason, seem to make the fall more pleasant. You can take them,leave them, throw them in the trash, try them again or tellyourself over and over, “I know what I like and need in my life,and no hack reporter for some damn college paper is gonna tell mewhat might keep me from losing my own damn mind just because Ihaven’t seen the sun in eighty five days, have a perpetual cold,and drink too much.”

A dangerously simple recipe for taking in liquor: BourbonBalls
1 cup vanilla wafer crumbs, 1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar, 1/4cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 3 tablespoons light corn syrup, 1/4cup bourbon , 1 cup chopped pecans, unsweetened cocoa powder (forcoating).

Combine the crumbs, confectioners’ sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa powder,corn syrup and bourbon in a food processr or electric mixer. Blenduntil thoroughly mixed. Do this before getting drunk. Rolltablespoonfuls of the mixture to form small balls. (Mixture shouldbe soft. If it is too dry to roll easily, add more corn syrup.)Spread cocoa powder on a plate and roll the balls in it to coatthem. Store the bourbon balls in an airtight tin and refrigeratethem. Makes about three dozen. The more liqour you add…the betterit gets.

Speaking of bourbon
Perhaps the best way to keep you warm.

The cheap good: Ezra Brooks ($9.95 a bottle). The next up: OldEzra 7 year (12.95 a bottle).

The not-so-cheap good: Woodford Reserve ($29.95).

Try something else besides Maker’s Mark, damn it. Trust me, I’mfrom Kentucky.

Three novels
“The Winter of Our Discontent” by John Steinbeck.

The story of Ethan Allen Hawley in the world and time of sleepyNew Baytown. Picturesquely depicted so well it can only be comparedwith the same feeling one might get when seeing a Wes Anderson filmfor the first time, shot in the ’60s, set in New England.

“Martin Eden” by Jack London.

There are no wolves, amputations or wilderness, rather a wellwritten, semi-autobiographical account of how the young Londonercame to be one of the most well known writers of the time.

“The Sun Also Rises,” by Ernest (Castro) Hemingway.

Never have I wanted to leave the States more and spend the restof my life kicking around the Mediterranean, seeing everything anddoing nothing else in the evenings but drinking absinthe, than whenI finished this book, which I tend to read every year around thistime.

The Dylan Thomas sweater
Just go to Powell’s and look at the cover of “Portait of the Artistas a Young Dog” and you will know what kind of sweater I’m talkingabout.

Long Movies
“Tokyo Story” (135 min.)
By long-overlooked Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu, this film mayremind you that there are other people besides you in this worldwho are thinking about you, and you can spare a little trouble on aredeye flight every now and again to show your gratitude for beinghalfway across the country having someone else’s money being spenton you.

“The Fugitive” (133 min.)
From director Andrew Davis and starring everyone’s favorite lostchild rescuer, Harrison “CIA” Ford. It’s long for a Hollywoodblockbuster and a damn fine piece of entertainment. Why”Chicago”?

“Twin Peaks” television series (25 freaking hours!) and “TwinPeaks: Fire Walk With Me,” (135 min.)
From David “Maggots” Lynch and Mark “Madman” Frost and filmed inand around Snoqualmie, Wash., this very character-involvedwhodunnit is easily the greatest television series of all time.

“A Chinese Odyssey: Pandora’s Box and Cinderella” (213 min.combined)
Jeffrey Lau directs this insane, two part, fantastical, epicmasterpiece, starring Stephen Chow as the Monkey King.

Short Cuts (183 min.)
Director Robert Altman presents nine loosely intertwining storiesbased on the short story writings of Northwest native RaymondCarver. Drunks, husbands and wives, cops, writers, bakers,accidents and incidents, and it’s long enough to keep you occupiedfor hours.