What I Learned This Week: #28

Sunday, December 3 – Saturday, December 9


The Week in Re-setting My Library Book Pile: A couple times a year, I walk through the library (or scour “best of” lists) and pick up a pile of books “that look good.” Then I take that pile home and give ’em a try, fully reading on average about one out of every five. This week I cleared out a pile of 12 (3 of which I read!!!) and hauled them back. Well, sure as Jane Austen was a romantic, my book space looked empty and I was sad about that. I immediately ordered 12 more books. They start rolling in on Monday. Whew!



The Week In Finishing a “Bucket List” Book: I finally finished reading Infinite Jest which was my big reading goal of 2017. I know there are people who find every word of this novel staggeringly brilliant and others who find the whole thing an exercise in unedited, unrestrained, nonsense. I think it”s both. Wonderful in parts, over-written in others. The 1100 page book, with 300+ footnotes (some with their own footnotes), was difficult and complex. I’m not 100% sure I understand the ending. But I’m glad I read it, because the fingerprints of this book are on a lot of the fiction books I’ve read that have been written post-Infinite Jest.

Here’s a picture of me reading the book around the time when I first started it in April. The big pile of manure could be symbolic.

The Week in Age: My Dad always used to tell younger people “I have underwear older than you.” I thought that was a weird thing to say, on many levels. For one, I think this sentiment is most often expressed using socks, not underwear, but still, I thought it was weird way to talk about how young people were. Now that I’m older, and work with people who were not born when I bought several articles of clothing that I regularly wear, I have to stop myself from saying it out loud because I don’t want to be that old fart. Now, I realize the comment isn’t about being young, it’s about being old. #Dammit

The Week in “I Can’t Possibly Take the Last Piece”:  I thought I had a picture of this, but I don’t, so you’ll have to take my word for it. I took a breakfast casserole into work and spent the whole morning watching people take normal size portions. In the afternoon, no one would just finish the last square. It kept getting halved until it was about two bites worth. I’d like to think it’s about being polite, but I believe it’s about not having to deal with the guilt of finishing the food and not wanting to clean the dish.

The Week in Holiday Drinking: Santa Con is supposed to be an afternoon pub crawl during the holiday season where people dress up in Santa/Holiday outfits and drink to benefit The Cure Starts Now. To some extent, it really is a jovial, holiday event. On the other hand, the drunken Santas, Santa’s Helpers, and other North Pole-esque costume donners (that is wearer’s of the clothes, not Donner the reindeer) who are still drinking at 11 are just ridiculous. And so very drunk! And, therefore, pretty hilarious.

End of Santa Con 2017

The  Week in Christmas Realty Music: The band Over the Rhine, a quiet, Ohio/Cincinnati-based folk band has three Christmas albums filled with music about how sad the Holidays can be. In other words, the reality of the season. Every year, they come back to Cincinnati to perform their thoughtful, mellow music to sold out crowds. Comprised of husband and wife Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist, the two have a laconic banter that fits the mood of their music. They put on a lovely evening of music (with a guitar/mandolin player whose name I can’t pinpoint) in newly restored Memorial Hall. It was a very enjoyable, if not quite traditional evening.

Memorial Hall before the show with apologies to the woman who would not sit down.

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