2010: Year in Review

Posted in Whatever Else on December 30th, 2010 by bill

And just like that here we are again, ready to flip over the rightmost digit one more time. Guess I’ll have to retire my Big Lebowski calendar. (Seems like everywhere I go this week, someone mentions that movie, sometimes calling it “The Great Lebowski.” Good title for the sequel; although I favor the idea of “The Little Lebowskis,” which would chronicle the adventures of Maude and the Dude’s twins.)

It was a pretty good year for blogging: not the best, not the worst. Back in May I was trying to reach 500 posts and 500 comments; as of this writing, the stats show 581 posts and a staggering 876 comments (that number was inflated in October by long-since-disappeared would-be Deathmarchers; but still).

A few years back I posted an end-of-year wrapup where I quoted and commented on the first line of the first entry from each month. I was happy with the way that turned out, so I fully intended to do it again. However, a sizable brain freeze has resulted in every one but December actually being the last entry of that month. Oh well, fuck it. (I know, I know – that’s your answer to everything. Your revolution is over! The bums lost!)

January:
“I may have gotten a little carried away with this one.”
(True that.)
Read more »

How reindeer fly

Posted in Whatever Else on December 25th, 2010 by bill

A truly great Christmas headline:

Reindeer Get High on Magic Mushrooms

The Infinite Jest Deathmarch, Stage 12

Posted in The Infinite Jest Deathmarch on December 24th, 2010 by bill

(See page 513.)

Begin: Wherever you are now
End: Page 549 (“The possibility of Canadian involvement in the lethally compelling Entertainment’s dissemination is what had brought to metro Boston Rodney Tine, his retinue, and his ruler.”)

Start Date: 12/24/10
Finish Date: 12/30/10

Note Profile: Up through note 229. No problem.

This week before New Year’s ought to provide plenty of time for you remaining stragglers to catch up at this very moderate pace. If not, what will it take to keep you on board? A motivational speech? A small bribe…maybe, say, a Toblerone? Should I come to your house and read aloud to you? I don’t feel like we can afford to lose anyone at this late date, so let’s make a deal.

Festivus Is Here Again

Posted in The sacred box on December 23rd, 2010 by bill

The old calendar on the wall tells us that Dec. 23 has rolled around, and that means only one thing: time for Festivus once again. What’s your favorite part of the holiday? The Airing of Grievances? The Feats of Strength? I myself have a great admiration for the clean, modern simplicity of the Festivus Pole, but honestly there’s no part of the tradition that I don’t love. Happy Festivus, everybody!

The Return of Return

Posted in Whatever Else on December 21st, 2010 by bill

So here we are again at the great turnaround, when the length of the days finally bottoms out and starts moving back in the other direction. Of course this is technically the beginning of winter, not the end; but the end is in the beginning, isn’t it? Didn’t someone tell me that?

Personally I’m feeling good because I just got a horoscope that said “The mistakes you’ve made in the past are about to add up to something you can be proud of.” So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice. Having made so many mistakes, I should be in line for a big fat payoff, thank you very much.

I had a whole thing I wanted to get into about cycles, the idea of return, how a man never crosses the same river twice and yet, somehow, does. But it’s late, Eastern Standard Time, and I’m going to go to bed instead. (This is supposed to be a time of rest, after all.) Instead, please contemplate yet another translation of hexagram 24 of the I Ching, which should govern one’s actions at this delicate time.

Hexagram 24

FÙ

Return to your town

Returning – expansion
Going out and coming in without affliction
Friends come without fault
Coming and returning on one’s road, a seven-day cycle
Harvest: to proceed probing
Read more »

The Infinite Jest Deathmarch: Stage 11 1/2

Posted in The Infinite Jest Deathmarch on December 19th, 2010 by bill

This was meant to be a picture of a 1964 Ford Aventura, but, says WikiWallace, 'there is no such car.' This is your basic black 64 Mustang.

Begin: Page 503 (“The night after the chilly and sort of awkward joint Interdependence Day picnic for Enfield’s Ennet House Drug and Alcohol Recovery House…”)
End: ????

Start Date: immediately
Finish Date: 12/23/10

Note Profile: The daunting note 234 lurks somewhere in the near distance, but I think some of us have read that one already.

Everything seems to be up in the air at this time, as Mr. Byrne once noted; so I’m leaving this week’s target open-ended for the moment. Let’s reconvene later in the week and see where we are and where we want to be. Happy Adapted-Pagan-Winter-Solstice-Festival to you and yours.

Pepsi Is Not OK

Posted in Whatever Else on December 18th, 2010 by bill

Today for about the 5000th time in my life I was asked “Is Pepsi OK?”, and for once I answered truthfully: “No, it isn’t.” It felt good.

This idea that Coke and Pepsi are somehow interchangeable is one of the most insidious and enduring, if ultimately trivial, lies ever foisted on the naive and trusting American consuming public. Here’s the truth: Coke is a delicious and refreshing beverage, Pepsi a pale and vaguely depressing echo. Pepsi is to Coke as masturbation is to sex. You can get by on it. But it’s not the Real Thing.

I recently promised myself that the next time someone in a restaurant asked me if Pepsi was OK I would say that it wasn’t and storm out, possibly upending a table or two on the way out to emphasize my point. But when it happened today I was on an airplane and walking out was not an option (D.B. Cooper, I am not). And after expressing my displeasure, in my next breath I backtracked and accepted the proferred substitute, desperate for a small hit of sugar and caffeine. Maybe next time.

R.I.P. the Captain

Posted in Dancing about architecture on December 18th, 2010 by bill

He had too much time to be without love.

Writing today from Kansas City International Airport, where word has just reached me of the demise of Don Van Vliet, an artist of renown who for many years made music under the name Captain Beefheart. If you don’t already know why this matters, there’s no time to explain right now; my plane is boarding even as we speak. I refer you to my previous eulogy for the Captain, vintage 2006.

The Infinite Jest Deathmarch: Placeholder

Posted in The Infinite Jest Deathmarch on December 17th, 2010 by bill

I’m on my way cross-country today, but slowly, slowly…haven’t even made it out of the Bay Area yet. Still, my web access is limited, so at the moment just a quick note to say…is this thing on? Who’s still on board? Comments so far this week from JES, Matt, and Debra…what about the rest of yez?

Also, it was suggested that we make this a low-page-count week on account of the holiday. I’m amenable to that if it’s what the people want, so speak now or forever hold your peace.

The Infinite Jest Deathmarch, Stage 11

Posted in The Infinite Jest Deathmarch on December 10th, 2010 by bill

An image search for 'Helen Steeply' turned up this image of David Duchovny in 'Twin Peaks' drag, and that seems about right.

Begin: Page 450 (“The Enfield Tennis Academy has an accredited capacity of 148 junior players…”)
End: Page 503 (“This was how I first became interested in the possibilities of annulation.”)

Start Date: 12/10/10
Finish Date: 12/16/10

Note Profile: 29 notes (180-208): Nothing to be frightened of here.

Big ups to everyone who’s made it this far. This week we’ll pass the halfway mark – hooray for us!

Would love to make some pithy/inspirational/hypersmart comment here. But tired. Very, very tired, for complex reasons. Still, the future is bright, I’m certain.