Folks, it will be fun to win this award. Robots Spils, Hodel, and Benson will all be on hand at SXSW - but if we win, it will really be because of the dedicated folks who make 43 Things what it is. All of you!
Well I wasn’t really too sure how it would go, but it all went fine. Neither the rain, nor the traffic was too much to deal with and I wasn’t too winded when I got home. The hills at the end were a challenge but not too much of one. It will be interesting the first day I go for it both going to work and coming home. I think that will be sometime next week. This weekend I’ll try and get in a bit of a conditioning ride down to Seward Park.
I bought the Breezer Greenaway. It’s a simple commuter bike, comes with its own generator and lights, fenders, and has a comfortable set up for start and go city riding. This afternoon will be my first commute home. Let’s hope I don’t pass out like I almost did on my test ride. I’m going to ride from the bike shop on Western down to Pioneer Square, take a break and do some work from a cafe, and then ride home early while it is still light out. I’ll post an update from Caffe Zeitgeist.
Wow. I’m like a teenage gerard way fan going crazy for these kids from Sheffield. I’m serious thinking of paying $65 to see them play at the Crocodile Cafe next month. While the album has a few weak tracks, it is generally smoking.
Philip Roth seems to have thought of two different ways to tell this story. The first has to do with an interesting espionage plot that gets hatched and changes history, involves luminaries of mid century history, and basically is a pretty interesting idea. Roth spins this part of the story out in newsreels and an omniscient narrators voice – and while it makes for the overall thrust of the novel – it is given short shrift. Instead, Roth labors over his other idea which involves the Roth family in Newark and telling the story of President Lindbergh’s defeat of FDR and tilt toward fascism through the eyes of a nine year old boy trying to make sense of his feelings, family, and nation at a time of trial. While this idea of telling the story through young Philip’s eyes has its moments, it also gets incredibly tedious, especially when Roth starts to describe some particularly active part of the story, only to spin back and go on a 5 page diversion before rejoining the action. Did I mention that I thought the storytelling was a mess? I have a hard time that any young novelist would get such a book published, let alone get the sort of praise Roth has reaped. While I was glad I read it, I was even more glad when it was done.
I’m slogging through. I’m around page 220 and I do find it pretty tedious. It is disturbing that Roth’s style is actually making me sympathetic toward Sandy and his aunt, and tired of the shrillness of his parents. I’m sure this feeling will cleverly turn against me once the pogrom kicks in.
Another part of my general attempt to radically improve myself has been to learn more about myself. Self knowledge is a worthy pursuit but not something easily achieved. Earlier in the year, in trying to explain my theory about why the Beattles aren’t so great, and why I appreciate The Who or The Rolling Stones or The Kinks so much more than the fab four, I realized I appreciated the Blues more than I had ever really acknowledged. That’s the sort of insight I’m hungry for – the fundamental truth of realizing “I like the Blues” – that’s helped me a ton in sorting out what sort of Rock rocks, and what leaves me cold.
I think I’m having a similar insight into literary fiction. I just don’t care for it that much. I like genre fiction, like mysteries, thrillers, suspense, even good science fiction and fantasy. Literary fiction (like even the rather political Philip Roth book I’m reading right now) leaves me cold. Now obviously lots of folks enjoy literary fiction and the Beatles. But I don’t, very much.
So I’d like to come up with similar nuggets of self knowledge in slightly more profound areas of my life. For instance, I recently learned that I am a highly emotional person. Is it strange to just learn this at 34 years old? When Daniel first told me I was an emotional person I didn’t really believe it. But as I’ve tested it out on myself and others, I’ve come to realize that I am indeed highly emotional. And that’s already starting to be OK with me. It’s a new idea, and yet it is supposedly who I am. How was I hiding it from myself?
I think I’ll call my radical self improvement plan complete when I have 3-5 more personal insights like these. I’ve been taking personality tests and psychological quizzes to try and get a foothold, but most don’t turn up too much. Have you learned anything about yourself recently? How did you do it?
OK, maybe it is self serving, but I’ve found that this gets really easy if you set a reminder for this goal, then paste your password and the link to https://secure.sxsw.com/peoples_choice/ in the reminder email, and set the reminder to everyday. I love this intersection of technology, self help, and helping 43 Things win!