The most interesting person I’ve ever met

I like meeting new people, I meet them in line at the coffee shop, while riding my bike, in shul or online, in recent years I have met quite a few people due to my blog. Some of those people have become very good friends, while many of them bored me to death. The readers of this here blog are an interesting bunch, they range in every human way possible and then some, they have opened up their homes, wallets and refrigerators to me and I am grateful for that. There is nothing quite like meeting interesting people, I rarely find people that interesting they may be cool and fun to hang out with, but gaining the title of interesting in my book is very rare, I have some great friends who I wouldn’t call interesting and acquaintances I barely know who are super interesting.

This past Saturday night, I had the opportunity to meet what I may venture to say has been one of the most interesting and fascinating people I have ever met. The man goes by A. Nuran when he comments and anyone who has read my site in the last year has probably read something he has written, I had the pleasure of meeting him and his wife at their home in Portland, Oregon this past Saturday night and here is my story.

There are certain things that immediately allow me to judge someone, if the first thing I see when I walk into a room is an Anvil sitting on a small desk in the middle of the living room, I immediately say to myself “I like this guy”, further into the room I noticed several display cases of various older looking knives, multiple African drums piled high and books, lots and lots of books, so many books that most of the book shelves that were all around the room were two books deep and even then they seemed to need more room.

I was recently in someone’s house who had no books, I was deeply bothered by this fact, I really judge people by the amount of books they have. I love and cherish books, the subject matter is unimportant. It’s important that there are lots of books and that there are comfortable places to sit for hours engrossed in those books. People in Portland tend to be very fond of books; I went to Powell’s Books in downtown Portland and promptly exited because it was too overwhelming. Imagine the Strand and multiple that by 5, it was too much for me, but I usually enjoy well read people and to say A. Nuran is well read may in fact be an understatement.

The people I enjoy most are intelligent and intellectual, but not snooty about it, these people are usually left leaning, very passionate and happen to have a lot of hobbies, what can I say, I gravitate towards a similar vibe to myself.

Nuran was nice enough to buy some kosher stuff for me, Ungers Gefilte fish really caught me off guard, we must have spent a good half hour discussing what we could do with gefilte fish to market it to the public, I mentioned that deep fried and salsa topped gefilte were making headways into the frum community. We figured they haven’t discovered Cajun blackened gefilte or gefilte ceviche (which really isn’t possible because it would have to be raw)

The one thing me and Nuran probably talked most about was food, we are foodies, who enjoy the art and science behind food. I being the recent chef in training and he being a food chemist (it’s one of his many hobbies) let to interesting discussions of bread and booze, he has parsnip wine fermenting in the house somewhere, brought out some homemade citrus alcoholic eggnog for me to sell and we spoke of various starters for different kinds of breads. I am interested in basic things like the home kitchen making of demi-glace, stocks and sauces. He told me about his curry pumpkin pie and I told him of my distaste at the state of pumpkin pie filling and the strange fact that most people never bothered with real pumpkin pie, such a shame considering how easy it is to roast off some pumpkins and throw some allspice and nutmeg on them while mashing them.

Like most super interesting people I know, Mr. Nuran felt the need to whip out a book for me to look at every time the conversation changed, by the end of the night I had acquired two free books and there was a stack of cook books, strange Jewish stuff like How to Curse in Yiddish (amazing) and other stuff that only a professional Geek like Nuran would have.

It was like show and tell and I was having a ball, Nuran is growing saffron in his front yard and this year he decided to make saffron infused vodka, it smelled great and looked like whiskey. Anything infused is amazing to me, my exes friends made Chantrell Mushroom infused rum, which was awfully interesting, although I have yet to take a full appreciation in hard liquors, although my other super interesting friend Jim introduced me to Gin last shabbos and I absolutely loved the alpine taste and smell.

Who on earth is a hobbyist blacksmith? Turns out the Anvil sitting around isn’t just for show, he actually uses the things although he needs to build a new forge, he is building a still to fully take advantage of his alcohol making tendencies.

So why is A Nuran interested in Frum Satire? He and his wife who is of Chinese and African descent are Jew-Moo’s, this was the first I heard of the term, but they are interested in Jewish and Muslim specifically Sufi philosophy and practice – this just made them more interesting in my eyes. In fact Nuran told me that becoming interested in Sufi philosophy has made him do more Jewish stuff, like put on tefillin, which he rarely did prior.

Unlike most of the fans I meet, we really didn’t talk much about Jewish stuff, there was so much other interesting stuff going on and he understood that my interests were just as varied as theirs were.

Him and his wife used to teach women’s self defense and were also certified NRA instructors at one point, they continue to be involved with a form of Indonesian martial arts and knife fighting. The knives I mentioned before aren’t the only weapons lying around, various swords, spears and random other stuff is tucked away in corners and each piece has a history and tradition behind it. There are masks hanging on the wall and some very interesting paintings and one particular framed wood carving of a frontier battle caught me eye. Another of Nuran’s interesting and random hobbies is frogs, his grandfather and father were also into frogs and I find this 3 generation hobby fascinating no matter ho uninterested I myself am in frogs.

Of course words can barely scratch the surface of what Nuran, I his wife and some friends who came over discussed. We are both excited people with ADD who have such fast paced intricate conversations that only a few people would be able to keep up. I did appreciate that both him and his wife laughed at my ultra geeky joke about all Iron being treife before Bessemer.

I now know that probiotic yogurt is just another health scam and that I should totally make my own beer. Nuran is probably a genius, he does a lot of stuff and he does it well, he went to Reed, which in itself is pretty impressive, he’s a computer techie, I noticed several computers taken apat on the floor. He’s the only person I have ever met who wanted to make his oven mimic that of a brick oven for baking bread at high tenpratures so he dumpster dove by a marble store and found some slabs to place inside his kitchen oven to make the radiant heat better for baking.

I’m sure he’s blushing, but I asked him if I could write about him, which is really my attempt to show you what type of ladies I like. If I could meet a super interesting lady and I know there are loads of them out there, who knows what would happen? The last girl I dated is probably the only girl on my list of most interesting people I have met, that’ not to say the others aren’t interesting, but super interesting people I could sit and have days worth of uninterrupted conversations with are very hard to find.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Moshe

    you sound like you have a crush!!!

    • Dave

      A budding bro-mance!

    • Mahla

      Nah, what he’s indicating is valid! To have a partner who’s so interesting, engaging, and cool that you’d still want them for a best friend if they were the same gender you are is awesome! :^)

      • A. Nuran

        That describes my wife exactly. If we were the same gender I’d want to spend lots of time with her anyway.

        • Mahla

          Ryan and myself as well. :^)

          A couple of years ago, we went on a trip. We biked from Eugene to the coast with 50 lbs of gear apiece & camped at Jesse Honeyman in a 2-person tent. The wind and rain started just as we made camp and continued for 5 days. We spent virtually 24 hours per day in a leaky tent. On day 3, the tent collapsed and a puddle formed underneath it. We kept ourselves cheerful with good conversation, reading to one another from Hermann Hesse and joking about our circumstances.

          When we got back and had the chance to tell the story, ~dozens~ of people made comments along the lines of “If that were me and Emily we would have murdered each other” or “Oh my God, I could NEVER spend 5 days trapped in a tent with my husband!”

          I found that really sad. :^(

  • http://evolvingjew.blogspot.com Philo

    I now know that probiotic yogurt is just another health scam

    The marketing of it is disingenuous, because ALL yogurt is probiotic. But what’s marketed as probiotic yogurt is usually higher in beneficial microbes than regular yogurt, and also usually contains acidophilous, which most “regular” yogurts don’t have. And it does help some people – it just depends on the person. A good friend who used to have a recurring health problem started eating a Stonyfield Farms probiotic yogurt every morning and his problems totally went away. (Stonyfield Farms, aside from having no junk in it, like the Dannon Activia does, also has a hechsher, which is hard to find on the probiotic yogurts.)

    • A. Nuran

      That’s part 1 of the scam.
      Part 2 is the idea that just piling acidophilos in will magically recreate the complex, highly individual ecosystem of your intestine.

      • Nachi F.

        Nice where did you get seeds/cuttings for the saffron though?

  • http://evolvingjew.blogspot.com Philo

    He’s the only person I have ever met who wanted to make his oven mimic that of a brick oven for baking bread at high tenpratures so he dumpster dove by a marble store and found some slabs to place inside his kitchen oven to make the radiant heat better for baking.

    You should spend more time on the upper west side. I have a friend there who’s been doing this for a couple of years and has been trying to convince friends to do the same. Only he didn’t dumpster dive, he bought the marble in a store. I’ll tell him to try Nuran’s idea about the marble store.

  • http://evolvingjew.blogspot.com Philo

    Don’t let the last 2 comments make you think I’m not impressed. Now I want to go to Portland to meet him too!

    • http://kissmeimshomer.wordpress.com kissmeimshomer

      Yea lets all go to Portland to meet him :). I have family members with interests all over the place and it always fascinates me.

  • http://evolvingjew.blogspot.com Philo

    Re: blacksmiths, you can sometimes see them at renaissance faires or restoration villages. Very cool to watch them work!

  • lowa

    Please note, when the babies wake up and the breakfast isn’t done and the laundry needs to be folded and the garbage is yet to be taken out, there’s very little time left for long hours of conversation. Don’t mean to break your bubble, but just letting you know there will be a time (very little) and place (probably your bedroom) for meaningful conversations with your partner. Everything else is WORK!!

    • Mordechai M

      Iowa is right on with her/his comments. That said from being a long time reader of Heshy’s I think that he is a long way from having children. That is a significant problem with being observant, yet not being ready to have a career and family. It kind of leave one in a nebach middle ground.

      • Anonymous

        So I wonder why so many people with careers and children have fun hobbies – maybe you two just don’t know how to have any fun.

  • Gordon Davidescu

    Nuran, we may not agree on all things Jewish but this article really actually made me want to meet you, too! You sound awesome.

    The Strand, however, is way bigger than Powell’s. 18 Miles of Books is their slogan, after all. I’m pretty sure it is way bigger. I have been to both — and I do know that Powell’s has more than one location. :)

    • A. Nuran

      Gordon, if you’re ever in the area, give me a call!

      I’d love to go back to the Strand. But it would be expensive to rent a shipping container to bring the treasures out West.

      • Gordon Davidescu

        My brother lives in NE Portland so that should be hopefully sometime in the next couple of years. How can I get a hold of you? Have you seen the awesome Powell’s I (oregon shape) PB mug that they’re selling now?

        • A. Nuran

          Heshy has my contact info.

  • Daniel

    Jew Moo?
    Is he actually Jewish, or is this even more interesting?

  • Mahla

    I should have bought the train ticket to Portland for the meet-up, and I would’ve if I’d known I couldn’t get a ride up there. We seriously need a car. :^(

    I KNEW that A. Nuran would be even cooler and more interesting face-to-face! Plus his wife’s married to him, so you know she has to be super-cool too!

    Sufism is awesome, so fascinating. Khomeini was attracted to Sufism when he studied in Qom, but his religious teachers discouraged him from pursuing that path, since the mysticism and sensualism of Sufism are regarded by fundamentalist Muslims as vaguely suspect and dangerous, kind of like Kabala in Judaism.

    Khomeini continued to write Sufist poetry in the style of Rumi until he died. A few of these poems were published by one of his sons after his death. To me as an Iranian, Khomeini’s turn from Sufism as a young seminarian in Qom is one of history’s greatest what-ifs.

    • A. Nuran

      And Rambam was personal friends with many Sufis, who all recognize him as a Shaykh. At least some of his descendants became Sufis.

      • mamzer talmid chochom

        Some of us would consider that a loss.

  • Post FFB

    This Nuran fellow you speak of, sounds like quite an interesting chap. I would be interested to know what goes into his Cholent (I know many food scientist here at Drexel U and many of them put different things in their cholent)

    • A. Nuran

      Meat – beef, lamb or goat, Anasazi or black beans, chilies, spices, hard-boiled eggs, sometimes a little unsweetened chocolate, vinegar or vodka if the meat is a tough cut, sometimes potato or yams, sometimes bulgur wheat or barley

      Chicken – chicken (or course), chickpeas, hard-boiled eggs, spices, wine, onions or shallots, potatoes, corn, citrus peel, sometimes a little apricot jam or quince paste

      • A. Nuran

        For the chicken – also corn or bulgur

  • http://thinkingbochur.blogspot.com Thinkingbochur

    I am surprised that A. nuran gets the content written on this website , if he does not know the frum world. I guess thats a testament to how smart/knowledgeable he is.

    • Yankel

      He happens to be smart, but he’s apparently had lots of experience with kiruv Rabbis. Don’t overdo it :)

    • http://www.frumsatire.net Heshy Fried

      You obviously have failed to realize that 40% of the folks reading this site are not orthodox – woth a small percentage of non-Jews – who all come here to understand things from a non-whitewashed and unapologetic site.

  • The Real Joe

    He writes a lot of discusting stuff on failed messiah

    • http://www.frumsatire.net Heshy Fried

      Like about doing little dead girls or something else you don’t agree with and therefore call it disgusting

  • Yoreh K’chetz (aka Phil)

    Interesting view into one of your many twisted readers (myself included?).

    I made my own pot still once, was very messy, but the stuff was actually flamable, tasted like strong rum.

    • Mahla

      LOL Phil, there should be a Canadian Frum Satire meet-up. :^D

      • Yoreh K’chetz (aka Phil)

        No problem. Wait until mid winter, we can drill some holes in the ice, set up some tip ups and make a few l’chaims. Even if we don’t catch anything, one things for sure: The beer will stay cold.

    • A. Nuran

      Learning to make the cuts is an art and best learned with someone who knows how. That’s why I’m trying to get a job at one of the local craft distilleries.

      • Yoreh K’chetz (aka Phil)

        Nuran,

        I did it more for the fun. The still worked, it was just that I used some apple wine I had made and distilled it, so it tasted very different from what I’m usually used to drinking.

        I bought a 4-5 foot piece of copper piping, probably less than 1/2 inch wide. I coiled it around and old can, then attached one end to the cover of a pressure cooker. I ran the coil through an empty bucket, and plugged the exit point aroun the coil with plumbers glue to make it watertight.

        I then filled pressure cooker with the “wine” and the empty bucket with ice. As I heated the pot and the still started functioning, the ice kept melting a high speed so I had a plastic hose syphoning the water into a bigger bucket, while refilling the coil’s bucket with ice/snow.

        All I have to say is that the best way to do this is outside during the winter, as the fumes were nasty, gave me a semi buzz as I was doing it indoors with the help of a friend. Don’t know how legal it is where you live, so you might not want to do it where other can see you if you attempt this method. I ended up with about 500 ML of hard stuff from about 3.5 liters of wine.

        I’m sure you can build something more sophisticated, especially if your into blacksmithing.

        • Mahla

          There are tons of alcoholic hippies who work in my office. A couple of years ago, a household full of them decided that they would save money on booze if they figured out how to make their own. I don’t know what they did wrong, but first of all, the first batch of stuff they concocted, everyone in the household got seriously ill. After that there was some type of minor explosion. They don’t try to brew their own stuff anymore.

          • Yoreh K’chetz (aka Phil)

            Explosions while using homemade still are always a risk. Any blockage in the coil will eventually cause an explosion. A good way to avoid them is to use a pure liquid base, so you don’t get particle buildup that blocks the steam.

            You can save plenty of $$$ on booze by simple fermentation, without the mess and dangers of distilling. I’ve made very strong apple “wine” that cost me less than $1 per liter, and trust me, it was extremely potent. I was sipping some while still fishing of a pier one afternoon, when it was time to go, I had trouble standing :) .

            • A. Nuran

              What Phil said. You can make wonderful wine and beer cheaply and safely.

              That’s what the comment about “making the cuts” is about.

              Ethyl alcohol – the stuff people drink – is only part of what comes out of a still.

              Before that you get really poisonous Coleman stove fuel stuff called the foreshots. Then you get heads – aldehydes, esters and so on – which are also bad for you. Then come the “hearts” – the ethyl alcohol. Finally you get the “tails” – nasty poisonous fusel oils. Making the cuts means collecting only the alcohol fraction and a tiny bit of heads and tails. Do it right, you have booze. Do it wrong you get sick.

              Alcohol is very flammable. Alcohol vapor is explosive. A still is a bomb waiting to happen. If you have an open flame in the room and the still’s joints aren’t completely sealed – BOOM!

              That’s why I’ve applied for a parfumier’s/medicinal permit to use (tax-paid) alcohol as a solvent, use it to extract stuff from plants, and then distill off the alcohol and sell it back to the wholesaler. This is much simpler than using it to make beverages. Much simpler and it’s legal.

              • Yoreh K’chetz (aka Phil)

                Nuran,

                Or you can get a job working in a pharmacy. A friend of mine works in a hospital pharmacy, he has access to tons of free alcohol, he makes his own drinks flavored with different herbs and spices. I’m sure he concocts some other powerful stuff, though all he’s ever offered me was his homemade hootch.

                • A. Nuran

                  It’s actually not about making booze. And interfering with pharmaceuticals would be … mmmm…. really stupid.

                  The extracts are for cooking and for a couple liniments I sell as a sideline.

  • FrumGer

    A nuran
    I am glad to here all this. anonymously we’re are all so 1 dimensional to hear more it paints humanity onto the canvas that is the commenter A.Nuran.
    A knife enthusiast and eskrima practitioner? yasher koach. I have a steady collection of knives/ weapons myself…. I am really into throwing knives, archery, iaido/kendo and have been since i was a teenager. also i took Emperors long fist Kung fu and aikido throughout my teen years and am still very much into martial arts though I dont stay in practice much anymore. i like that i like knowing that. Chag Hanukkah Sameach :)

    • A. Nuran

      Used to be an Eskrimador. So did my wife. We took the Silat exit from that highway a long time ago. Our motto is “The family that slays together stays together” :)

      Long Fist and Aikido seems like a very interesting combination. Too different for cross-training problems or different enough so they don’t interfere?

      And a very good Chanukah to you and yours!

  • anonymous

    you a montrealer or in toronto?

    • Yoreh K’chetz (aka Phil)

      Just another Toronto hating Montrealer ;)

  • Anonymous

    what does he look like? I read his comments I imagine he has a moustache and wears a cowboy hat.

  • http://jewishdepression.blogspot.com OfftheDwannaB

    Nuran, Baby. Always new you were well read from your crazy quotes and factoids. Btw, have you been starring in beer commercials lately, or was that someone else?

    • A. Nuran

      Not me, that would be my cousin who was one of the Budeweiser frogs :)

  • AztecQueen2000

    A. Nuran–
    One question: Have you ever been to the John C. Campbell Folk School?

    • A. Nuran

      Never heard of it before you mentioned it. Sounds like an interesting place.

    • A. Nuran

      The John W. Campbell Finishing School for Socially Maladjusted Science Fictions Geeks, maybe :)

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/perelpesha/ prili

    this was a cool post! you should do more posts on interesting fans. like one on schwartzie!

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/perelpesha/ prili

    also, it’d be cool if nuran could teach me how to throw knives

    • A. Nuran

      I’ve never learned how to do that. Seems kind of a waste. If you have a perfectly good knife why would you throw it away?

  • WACKY MAC & CHOCOLATE PIZZA

    A. Nuran, which books did you give Heshy? Do you have any others that you are giving away?

    If you are, I’ll give Heshy my mailing address… just let me know.

    • A. Nuran

      I gave him a copy of Barry Deutsch’s wonderful graphic novel Hereville: Just Another 11 Year Old Troll-Fighting Orthodox Jewish Girl. It really is great, and very frum-friendly. Can’t remember what the other was. If you want books you’ll just have to come out to the North Wet in person.

  • s(b.)

    For the first time, I’m jealous of Heshy. Looking forward to meeting the family that slays together, whenever I happen to be up that way (no current plans to be).

  • Frumsatire Fan

    Does the saffron-infused vodka leave indellible yellow stains everywhere?

    • A. Nuran

      I haven’t spilled it on anything yet. Turmeric infusions do, big time.

  • http://www.kolberamah.org Mordechai Y. Scher

    Interesting post. Glad I chanced by to see it.

    From what I understand, a number of Jews are involved in the non-Muslim Sufi culture to various degrees. This is a branch that developed in India and made its way from there. It tends not to be so well known or discussed as Jew-Bus, etc. from what I’ve seen. At least one of the regular learners in our beit midrash is an accomplished Jewish member of that culture; though we haven’t discussed it all that much. I do know that they practice very serious and deep meditative disciplines. This particular person has been doing it for many decades. My own discussions of meditation and spiritual practice with this person and another (also learns with us on Wed. evenings) reveals a very deep, sophisticated experience. They find parallels between their Sufi experience, and some elements that appear in Rav Kook’s writings. A. Nuran may know about this. Most likely you also know that Rambam’s son, Rabbeinu Avraham, is often purported to have Sufi similarities; especially in his Hamaspik L’ovdei Hashem. Actually, I’ve heard that much more about him than about his father, the Rambam.

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  • Max Junge

    A couple of spelling errors in the second to last paragraph.

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