The Infinite Jest Deathmarch, Stage 21 (and Final!)

Posted in The Infinite Jest Deathmarch on February 26th, 2011 by bill

'...even the Classic Comics version of Ethan From was now beyond his abilities...'

Begin: Page 941 (“By a rather creepy coincidence…”)
End: The end.

Start Date: 2/25/11
Finish Date: ASAP

Can you freakin’ believe it?

The Infinite Jest Deathmarch, Stage 20

Posted in The Infinite Jest Deathmarch on February 19th, 2011 by bill

'...the closest Gately'd ever come to Xing a celebrity was the ragingly addicted nursing-student with the head-banging loft, who'd borne an incredible resemblance to the young Dean Martin.'

Begin: Page 896 (“I was going to go back up to see about Stice’s defenestration…”)
End: Page 941 (“Oh shit yes very much.”)

Start Date: 2/19/11
Finish Date: 2/25/11

Note Profile: We’re almost done with the notes at this point, so discontinuing this feature.

The finish line looms. The remaining pages are dwindling, as are the remaining Marchers. I just got a guilty phone call from another dropout, but I’m not holding it against anybody. People have lives. I’m just grateful for the hardy few who have stuck it out. Meanwhile, it’s a rainy day, perfect for reading – to the café!

The Infinite Jest Deathmarch, Stage 19

Posted in The Infinite Jest Deathmarch on February 12th, 2011 by bill

'He's remembering that he used to pretend to himself that the unviolent and sarcastic accountant Nom (sic) on 'Cheers!' (sic) was Gately's own organic father, straining to hold young Bimmy on his lap...'

Begin: Page 845 (“After Rémy Marathe and Ossowiecke, and Balbalis also, they all reported back negatively for all signs of this veiled performer…”)
End: Page 896 (…without jostling the catheter or I.V.s, or the thick taped tube that went down his mouth to God know where.”)

Start Date: 2/12/11
Finish Date: 2/18/11

Note Profile: 18 notes (344–361), all short

Let me quickly address Matt’s comment on the previous thread: I would be very careful about expecting too much in the way of closure in this book. Based on my experience of two long novels by Thomas Pynchon – DFW’s role model, I think – I already feel way ahead of the game in terms of narrative coherence and leery of anticipating anything in particular from the last 140 pages.

Also, his Hamlet reference is apropos, because I feel like we are witnessing a slow-motion tragedy where Hal is concerned. I think we are meant to believe that Hal could have been “saved” had he been sent to a real AA/NA meeting rather than the festival of patheticness he ended up at; instead he is headed directly for where we found him at the beginning of the book. One can only hope things go well for Gately and Joelle; but isn’t that what I just cautioned against? Damn and blast!

The Infinite Jest Deathmarch, Stage 18

Posted in The Infinite Jest Deathmarch on February 5th, 2011 by bill

This photo – taken, I'm told, in Alberta, Canada – put me in mind of the AFR.

Begin: Page 795 (“The most distant and obscure Tuesday P.M. Meeting listed in the little white Metro-Boston Recovery Options booklet…”)

End: Page 845 (“It’s like a big wooden spoon keeps pushing pushing him just under the surface of sleep and then spooning him up for something huge to taste him, again and again.”)

Start Date: 2/5/11
Finish Date: 2/11/11

Note Profile: 11 short notes (333–343), most of them about pharmaceuticals

And here we go – only three weeks left after this one, major revelations coming left and right, the writing moving along at a hallucinatory gallop. If you’ve been lagging behind, now is the time to rally the forces and mount a charge.

The Infinite Jest Deathmarch, Stage 17

Posted in The Infinite Jest Deathmarch on January 29th, 2011 by bill

'...out the big doors whose tympanum overhead is carved with a sword and a ploughshare and a syringe and a soup-ladle and the motto 'CONTRARIA SUNT COMPLEMENTA,' the heaviness of which makes Hal cringe so severely it's Boone who has to supply the translation Kent Blott asks for.'

Begin: Page 751 (“The whole family was lousy with secrets, she’d decided…”)
End: Page 795 (“…first one arm and then, kind of miraculously if you think about it, the other arm.”)

Start Date:
Finish Date: 2/4/11

Note Profile: Either 18 or 19, depending on whether you interpret #332 as part of this week’s reading or next week’s. Some of them are quite lengthy, adding up to about 10 pages of notes, not including 332, which is itself substantial. But take heart: After that, no more notes of any real size.

This thing is starting to feel really real to me; like, we may actually finish the book, in just a few more weeks. I’m enjoying it enough at this point that I’m in no great hurry for it to be over, although the unread non-IJ books are piling up in a corner.

Question for the remaining Marchers: How many people are/want to be on the Skype? It’s been suggested to me that we might want to do some kind of web conference thing sometime between now and the end of the book, so let me know (via comment or email) if that’s an idea that interests you.

The Infinite Jest Deathmarch, Stage 16

Posted in The Infinite Jest Deathmarch on January 22nd, 2011 by bill

'The nun's wimple is askew and soiled; the back of her hand, held out in a bladish martial-art fist, displays part of a faded tattoo, some wicked-clawed bird of prey.'

Begin: Page 702 (“Bridget Boone gives him a look.”)
End: Page 751 (“…the woman began to ask about what lengths he believed he was willing to go to.”)

Start Date: 1/22/11
Finish Date: 1/28/11

Note Profile: 27 notes (287–313), including the trés formidable #304 for those of us who haven’t read it already.

A little pressed for time today, but a quick image search turned up not one but two pieces of Blood Sister–related artwork created by people out there in the big wide world. I had to go with the one at the top as my first pick, because the casting is so perfect, but here’s the other:

The Infinite Jest Deathmarch, Stage 15

Posted in The Infinite Jest Deathmarch, Whatever Else on January 15th, 2011 by bill

'I remember something about he seemed to believe the name of the character Burns also somehow hiddenly signified the English verb for the promise of the consuming fire of the apocalypse.'

Begin: Page 651 (“Apparently some higher-up had sent Mary Esther Thode out on her little yellow Vespa…”)
End: Page 701 (“…the cartridge’s 50-point title is still trickling redly over the credits and frozen scene.”)

Start Date: 1/15/11
Finish Date: 1/21/11

Note Profile: 22 notes (265–286); #269 is a bear at 5 1/2 pages, but otherwise painless.

I feel like we are finally rounding the corner into the home stretch, we hardy band of few who are still standing. In the meantime it’s way too nice of a day in Oakland to be sitting here in front of the computer.

Also: Frank Burns eats worms.

The Infinite Jest Deathmarch, Stage 14

Posted in The Infinite Jest Deathmarch on January 8th, 2011 by bill

'I miss Jeannie, Samantha, Sam and Diane, Gilligan, Hawkeye, Hazel, Jed...'

Begin: Page 601 (“As at all D.S.A.S.-certified halfway facilities, Ennet House’s resident curfew is 2330h.”)
End: Page 651 (“Day says: ‘There is no way it could feel worse.’ “)

Start Date: 1/8/11
Finish Date: 1/14/11

Note Profile: 19 notes (246–264), all short and sweet

Speaking for myself, I especially miss Samantha a/k/a Elizabeth Montgomery, one of the earliest and most powerful of my many, many TV crushes. All my adult life all I’ve been looking for is one smart, beautiful woman with magical powers – is that so much to ask for? Unlike Derwood, I would have no problem letting her whip up a nice private island for us. Mr. Tate can go screw.

Um, where was I? Oh yeah, the Deathmarch. Lately I’ve been finding this book almost too easy; I kind of miss the desperate slogging of the early stages, which was strangely satisfying in the same way as exercising until you feel like throwing up. Still, it looks like this week’s reading includes an 10-page or so discussion of M*A*S*H, so that should be fun.

The Infinite Jest Deathmarch, Stage 13

Posted in The Infinite Jest Deathmarch on January 1st, 2011 by bill

'The late J.O. Incandenza's Meniscus Optical Products Ltd.'s development of those weird wide-angle rear-view mirrors on the sides of automobiles that so diminish the cars behind you that federal statute requires them to have printed right on the glass that Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear...'

Begin: Page 550 (“For reasons that Pemulis couldn’t for the life of him, Ortho Stice seemed to be in there…”)
End: Page 601 (“Orin’s smile wasn’t as cool as he thought as he told the seated figure that that was a matter of opinion.”)

Start Date: 1/1/11
Finish Date: 1/7/11

Note Profile: 16 notes (230–245), including the notorious #234

It’s time to get cranking again, people, don’t you think? It’s a new year and all, hopefully everyone slept in today, there’s no time like the present, etc.

Unilaterally moving everything back a day so we can start on the 1st—makes it neater, cleaner, easier to keep track of. See you next Saturday.

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.