Tuesday, August 10, 2010

kate. books. links.

This is the view from the Ferris Wheel at Coney Island. I was out there with my niece Kate. She came to NYC to look after me for a few days.

Here she is eating a famous fry at Nathan's famous:
Needless to say I was quite complimented whenever anyone asked if she was my daughter. We had a pretty fun time. We went to a dance performance by Pilobus. We went to the Broadway Musical Wicked. We did some back-to-school shopping. We took the Staten Island ferry to see the Statue of Liberty and saw polar bears at the Central Park Zoo. We saw Despicable Me in 3D, which I liked a good deal. She had to get back to Raleigh to take a babysitting course, but I'm pretty sure she knew everything she needed to after taking care of me for four days.

In other news, you know I've been flying around and running around a lot, like I do.

I was in Ellington, Connecticut last weekend with 15 fine women from Brooklyn's Women's Team Frisbee. We had a rough go of it, but had fun nonetheless.

All the flying for work and play has me madder than ever about the freezing temperature on airplanes. I'm planning to get a thermometer and keep it with me at all times. Take that airlines, I'm taking readings. And recording them. So there! (I'm too busy to start that project up right now, but consider yourself warned.)

One upside of all the time on planes and at the gate is a bit more time to read.

I finished David Foster Wallace's Consider the Lobster essay collection. It was fun reading that on the plane to Ali's wedding and getting dirty looks. I had always though of DWF as too condescendo and cute with all the footnotes of footnotes, and I'd pretty much dismissed him as a dry pedant. I had based that on one essay, "Host" which I had read years ago. That essay is particularly heavily footnoted, and in an artsy, postmodern way that really does not work in print format, but should be a linked webpage. I'm really glad I gave him another chance. While some of the essays in the collection are pretty dense and would at best only interest those already intimate with the subject on which he is training his microscope, others are hysterical, touching or both from the first sentence. "Big Red Son" in particular was fascinating. My take away from finishing the collection was that each essay pretty much holds it's tone and form, so if you hate the first 3 pages, skip it, it's going to be more of that. Skip to the next essay right away because it might make you laugh and cry at the same time.

On books that elicit both tears and laughter, I urgently implore you to get your hands on a copy of Jonathan Tropper's This is Where I Leave You as fast as you can. I cannot recommend this strongly enough. I got this book from a tip from a friend at work in Knoxville. She was right. I laughed out loud on the plane and people looked at me funny (like reading Sedaris). This might be my Corrections for this year, a book I give everyone for Christmas. It has a dysfunctional family in common with Corrections, but one not quite so dark.

I also quickly finished Paul Harding's Novella tinkers. This was trying a bit too hard to be Faulkner and missing for me. The Pulitzer Prize winner segs seamlessly between three generations of Crosby men and their musings and hallucinations, with lengthy nature description passages and detailed clock repair passages woven in between. The novella was like a pretty quilt, but I like my fiction with a bit more plot and purpose.

Odds & Ends:

Jesse just reminded me to stay up on Zach Galifianakis.

No one needs to remind me to stay up on Kenny Powers. He's keeping the pen.

Dorks sent this along, which reminds me of my flying adventures. I wish there was a cartoon of him trapped in a block of ice.

Periodically the NY times runs a story, the gist of which is, "people play ultimate." I think we all recall in May of 2009, when they broke the story "ultimate is a sport and girls can play it."

Someone just anonymously posted this picture of me to my other blog as a reminder. I'm playing that game where the last one to touch their nose is it. I was not it!

The Gastronauts were in the New York Times again too. Breaking News!

14 years later and they got a hit on me in the Bone Marrow donor registry. Thanks Charlotte! Stay tuned for how that progresses.