Okay, this is going to be one of those long, rambling, soporific, multi-segmented entries. Sorry. Maybe I’ll bold a part of each segment so you can find those that catch your fancy.
Mispronounced words. Remember when you were growing up you’d mispronouce some words, because you’d only read them and never heard them said? That happened to me a lot, at least. I had some classics: “awry” (aw-ry), “misled” (missle-d), etc. I thought I had gotten over that phase for the most part, but I just found another gem: “biopic”. I thought it was bi-op-ic, as in biopsy and biology, and of course it’s really bio-pic, as I learned on the plane flight back east for Thanksgiving. Luckily, about half the friends I queried (the ones who, like me, don’t watch E!, I imagine) were also duped. Amusing, though — and I’d be interested to hear any good ones you’ve had!
I feel better now. Recently, a life decision I had made several years ago came back to haunt me, and until this last week it was far and away the the decision I’ve most regretted making (as much as I’ve tried to justify it morally). Anyway, some friends in Boston pointed out that several good things — wonderful things, really — occurred because of that decision, events that are really incomparable on the scale I was using. Long (and totally vague) story short, it really hit home that our lives are complicated and intertwined and my decisions may affect others in ways I can’t possibly fathom. In the end, it made me feel very happy.
Reunited with the green shirt. As a poetic (well, prosaic, really) coda to my odes to green shirts found here and here, my mom reunited me with my missing green shirt when I was home last week. Wahoo! Unfortunately, it’s a bit rattier than I remembered.
Other home activities. My parents got me hooked on Six Feet Under, much as they did with the Sopranos when I went home two years ago. We watched most of the first season, and now I’m buying back into my brother’s Netflix account just so I can get the remaining DVDs ;).
I also played some piano at home, which reminded me of two things 1) how much I suck at piano and 2) how much easier it is to explore various harmonic constructions on a piano, where you can just think about the notes and play them, than it is on a guitar, where you have to struggle to come up with a fingering that’s attainable by humans, and not just 18-fingered creatures from Alpha Centauri.
And I read. Ooh, I’ve been reading some good books lately…
For Whom the Bell Tolls, Hemingway, which I found ultimately very good and depressing, although several of my friends claim that they found it incredibly uplifting.
Positively Fifth Street, James McManus. McManus was sent to cover the World Series of Poker and the coincidental murder of one of its founders for Harper’s. However, smitten by the poker bug, he used his advance money ($4000) to earn his way into a $10000 seat in the tournament, much to his wife’s dismay. But he’s a skilled amateur player and ended up doing amazingly well. It’s a fun read, and has gotten me hooked on poker recently. Also, in another coincidence, the people accused of the murder were just acquitted this past week.
The Living Planet, David Attenborough. He’s one of my favorite nature writers. A fascinating book.
Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Tad Williams. One of the best fantasy series ever, and some fun brain candy. I’m just digging in now (it’s about 3000 pages or so).
Thanksgiving, Lake Tahoe. I love Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday of the year, because it actually means something and it’s not quite as overloaded with consumerism, cynicism, and greed as the other major holidays are — no gifts, no cards, and few platitudes. Also, I usually get to see most of my friends and family in one fun-filled week! During H-Y weekend I hung out with a bunch of college friends, which was great. I was only there for 24 hours so I didn’t get to see everyone, but I did get to meet some new people like Feng!
Home was great too, although I missed my high school friends by a day. Next year I’m getting my ticket well in advance so I don’t have to fly back at weird times.
On Friday, after travelling for 20 straight hours from Cheshire, CT to Hartford to Phoenix (three hour wait since my plane arrived just after my connecting flight left) to Oakland to El Cerrito to Route 80 East, I arrived at Lake Tahoe to spend the weekend with some IHouse friends. It was awesomely fun, and also quite ridiculously beautiful. Here are some pictures:
I meant to give the vacation a perfect ending by seeing Pinback at Bimbos. They’re super fun live, and Umesh liked the CDs he heard me play so he wanted to come too. Unfortunately I hadn’t gotten tickets in advance since I didn’t know when I was coming back from Tahoe, and when we got there we found out that the show was sold out. Doh.
Misinformation. Have you seen this report that claims that red states are more generous than blue ones? Specifically, Mississippi is the most generous state in the U.S., and the New England states are at the bottom. I’ve seen it mentioned several times in the last couple of weeks, and I feel obligated to point out that it’s totally bogus. Thank you for your time.