My New Obsession.

img_2177-2.jpg This year we decided to celebrate New Year’s Eve in a very low-key and sort of impromptu fashion. At what could only be described as the very last minute, we gathered a small group of friends in our living room for some snacks and drinks. We spent the evening chatting, eating, drinking and laughing, only turning on the television at exactly 11.58. After the ball dropped, we promptly turned the television off and focused our attention again on each other. In my opinion, it was pretty much the perfect way to ring in 2008.

Something else that made this New Year’s extra memorable for me was the fact that it was my introduction to Lambic. I’m not much of a beer drinker; I mostly drink Belgian-style beers like Allagash. I suppose it made sense that I fell madly in love with the peach Lambic that Darlington brought over on a whim.

Lambic comes in a variety of fruit flavors, but thus far I’ve only tried the peach and the raspberry (framboise). I’ve got a particular interest in the black currant, as my love of the Kir Royale (Crème de Cassis and Champagne) is boundless. The apple is also appealing, but at the moment I am still so enamored with the golden brightness of the peach that even the fizzy raspberry couldn’t sway my affection. That said, I noticed last month that Picco‘s dessert menu includes one especially intriguing item: an “adult” ice cream soda. It is described as “your choice of Belgian Lambic poured over vanilla ice cream,” and certainly sounds as though for it alone is a visit necessary.

Deliverance by James Dickey.

deliverance.jpg Believe it or not, I’ve never seen Deliverance. Additionally, at the risk of sounding completely dopey, I didn’t know until recently that the film was based upon the novel of the same name. Recently, Keith purchased stacks of new books; when I mentioned that I needed a new book to read, it was Deliverance that he tossed my way. All I knew of the story was this: the characters encounter crazy hill country people; terrorizing and torture ensures. I was interested to learn how right — or wrong — my cobbled-together plot was.

It turned out I was partially right.

Ed Gendry and his three buddies Lewis, Bobby and Drew take a weekend canoe jaunt down the rapids of Georgia’s Cahulawassee River; to say that they are woefully unprepared for their expedition would be an understatement of the most extreme proportion. Firstly, only Ed and Lewis have any sort of experience with camping, canoeing and roughing it. After a picturesque handful of scenes we learn about the extent of Lewis’s gung-ho attitude towards outdoors living and survival, as well as Ed’s vague sort of ennui with his life. Then, quite literally out of the blue, Ed and Bobby make a chance encounter with a pair of aforementioned crazy hill country people. Terrorizing and torture ensues.

Unfortunately I’m unable to really say much more without giving it all away; I will mention that, for a while, Deliverance reminded me of the film The Descent, which is to some extent about a group of adventure-seeking people who soon find themselves utterly out of their depths. To put it mildly, however, The Descent takes things in a quite a difference direction than Deliverance.

Back to the novel… I couldn’t help but think that it felt a bit dated. Published in 1970, the writing is solidly evocative of that era. Does that mean it’s not any good? Of course not. Malaise and unhappiness are universal motifs; Dickey also writes about change, and how we as people deal with it. After all, Ed, Lewis, Bobby and Drew originally take to the Cahulawassee River because it is scheduled to be dammed and flooded, and the area to be built up into a residential community. Is that not something we are dealing with still? of Via its thematic elements, Dickey and Deliverance are able to captures something significant, even if it’s a time long gone.