Saturday, August 31, 2013

Word of the Week


1. Lasting for a long time; perpetual.
2. (of a plant) Living several years.
3. Recurrent.
1. A perennial plant.
2. Something that continues or is recurrent.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

I dragged myself through Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi as part of the Freshman Reading Experience at the school where I work. The students I met with didn't even make it that far.

I wonder a lot about this book. The students Dr. Nafisi spend so much time with are obviously important to her. And, from a sociological standpoint, their struggle to create a personal space in the midst of one of the most oppressive regimes on Earth certainly has value.

But Dr. Nafisi's attempt to bring that struggle to life through the works of Nabokov, Fitzgerald, Austen and James left me cold. Reading Lolita in Tehran struggled to find its own identity- not quite enough about books and their ideas to captivate me, not quite enough a personal memoir to become open and accessible. Perhaps it is the most accessible book of its kind, but that is being damned by faint praise.

The thing RLiT  lacked most was a definitive moment of choice. It was, instead, a study in the daily struggle of life in a totalitarian state. Of course, this makes it true in a way literature can rarely afford to be true. I think of Saul Bellow's Dangling Man as the distillation of the Superfluous Man, and in RLiT, Nafisi repeatedly refers to herself as "irrelevant," a superfluous woman in a country violently opposed to her kind of womanhood.

This lack of "moment" christalyzed into repetition and self-referentialism. Some of her stories are repeated with little variation. Some of her ideas (like her irrelevance) are referenced several times before they are expanded on and explained. While the book mostly flows forwards chronologically, it takes occasional leaps that make it difficult to follow.

It didn't help my experience that I listened to most of the book while taking a trip for work. The audiobook is atrocious; the narrator speaks so slowly that the less than 400 pages of the book take 16 hours to trudge through.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Word of the Day for Monday

sloth •\ˈslȯth, ˈsläth also ˈslōth\• noun

1. a disinclination to work or exert yourself
2. apathy and inactivity in the practice of virtue (personified as one of the deadly sins)
3. any of several slow-moving arboreal mammals of South America and Central America; they hang from branches back downward and feed on leaves and fruits

Friday, August 16, 2013

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Open Mic at Hazel & Wren

My favorite ladies from the Twin Cities have another Open Mic today, so if you need me, I'll be there.

My poem.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Happy Friday!

A room to paint. An end table to build. A party to attend.
Oh yes.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

St. Michaels Winery: 30 Before 30

I took the last week of July off. It has been a while since I had a vacation of more than a long weekend, so it was overdue.

I did some fun stuff- painted the front door, started work on an end table, and bummed around town.

And on Friday, Carol had the day off too, and we headed down the road to St. Michaels, MD.

There's a lot of stuff in St. Michaels- some cute shops, a delicious ice cream parlor, a maritime museum and a marina. But the reason we went is because there's a winery in town.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Happy Friday!

In NJ for a friend's wedding, looking to mix work and play this weekend. But heavy on play.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Yankees Have No Choice But to Look Forward to August

August could be the month that the Yankees fall out of contention. It could also be the month they surge into the playoffs. And it could also be the month they find out that getting under the $189M luxury tax "reset" for next year is a lot easier because of Arod's suspension.

Because the Yankees had a lot of games against good teams, I only wanted them to go 16-10 in July.

They only went 14-12, in part because of a disappointing 5-7 record after the All Star break. We're right to worry about CC Sabathia's health going forward, but the offense has finally received a boost with the return of Derek Jeter and the arrival of Alfonso Soriano. With Curtis Granderson coming off the DL tomorrow, some of the bench players who have served as regulars most of the season will have a chance to return to their envisioned roles and the lineup will again boast a familiar resume, though the numbers aren't there yet for 2013.

August opens with two series against bottom dwellers, the Padres and White Sox, before the Yankees host the Tigers and Angels at Yankee Stadium. They run to Boston for a weekend, then come back to the Stadium for a four game set against the Blue Jays. Then down to Tampa, up to Toronto and then back to New York for the Orioles.

That's 17 games against non-contenders (Padres, ChiSox, Angels, Jays) and only 11 games against contenders (Tigers, BoSox, Rays, Orioles). If the Yanks go 11-6 against the non-contenders and 6-5 against the contenders, their 17-11 record would probably be their best record since April. More importantly, with most of their games in the division, they have a chance to close the gap that separates them from the top of the division.