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Things I Like This Week

November 3, 2011

I’m not the kind of person who can keep a straight face around the concept of a “gratitude journal” [pause for smirking], but this week there just seem to be a lot of kickass things in the vicinity of me, so please allow me to present a numerical list of them.

1. 1Q84. I started anticipating the new Murakami novel well over a year ago when the original and then various translations began to pop up on Amazon. I was just waiting and waiting and waiting for Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel to hurry up with the English version. What could be taking them so long, I wondered. Hurry the hell up, I encouraged them in my mind. Well, it turns out that what was taking them so long was that the book is 900+ pages long. Sorry for the impatience, guys! Consider it redacted! I’ve been a Murakami whore for years, so I’m completely biased, but nonetheless you should trust me when I say that this novel is the most well-written and psychologically accessible thing he has ever done. The story is deliciously complex and all the characters are fascinating, especially Aomame, who’s right up there with Beatrix Kiddo in the Pantheon of Kickass Female Protagonists. And structurally it rocks the house, so far. All kinds of carefully designed, perfectly timed surprises. Great editing. Really the only downsides to this book are its weight (roughly 23 pounds) and the extremely annoying tissue paper jacket it has on.

2. Being done school. Yeah, last night I had my last class ever. I still have to defeat my practicum, but that’s it, friends and lovers: 14 hours to freedom.

3. Ceremonials. Like a week after 1Q84 busts out and the day I finish my final post-secondary assignment ever of life, Florence effin’ Welch comes along with this generous pile of new crazy-brilliant super hits. Just a-givin’ ‘er on every single track. This album has been playing in my ears at maximum volume for three days. I’m sure it’s giving me permanent hearing damage. Maybe when I’m 80 I’ll be deaf and regretful, but I don’t like to go through life thinking negatively like that. After all, I could be hit by a car tomorrow.

4. First impressions. One of the best things about doing a teaching practicum is walking into someone else’s classroom with your very dissimilar personality and vocabulary and wondering what will happen. It’s only a matter of time until something does. This is a conversation from yesterday:

Sponsor Teacher: “Jalopy” is an old word; it isn’t used much anymore. Can anyone think of another word for an old, run-down car? Kate?
Me: “Beater.” Like, “an old beater.” Or “clunker.”
ST [writing these on the board]: Yes, those are more common.
Me: Oh, there’s another one. Shoot, I can’t remember it… Oh: “hoopty”!
ST: What?
Me: “Hoopty.” It’s like an old, crappy car.
ST: I’ve never heard that. [Tries gamely to write it on the board, then gives up] How is it spelled?
Me: Actually I don’t know. I’ve never seen it written down; it’s only really used orally. I think it comes from gangsta rap.

This illustrates one of the great mysteries of my mind, viz.: Why do I always say the one extra thing? It reminds me of a similarly unfortunate first impression I made at a classics department reception 4000 years ago. A professor suggested a grad student bowling night, to which one of my new colleagues replied that that was a good idea and we’d have to come up with a team name. “The Libation Bearers,” I suggested. I let a couple seconds pass and then added, with deadpan inflection and a totally straight face: “It’s a play by Aeschylus.” The first comment was okay, you know? Just a bit of decent, audience-appropriate word play. Couldn’t I have left it there? No. Always, always the extra thing…

According to Urban Dictionary, “hoopdy” is an acceptable alternate spelling.

5. Sleeping through the night. Above me dwell a total douchebag, his comparatively inoffensive girlfriend, and her yappy dog that I imagine as weighing no more than 0.5 pounds based on the frequency (=both high-pitchedness and oftenness) of the yaps that it emits. When the douchebag is home alone, he’s stomping around his apartment for hours at a stretch and throwing random things (plastic bags, garbage, half-eaten meals, lit cigarettes) out the window while listening to sub-par rap albums. When his girlfriend is home, they’re yelling at each other. When neither of them are home, the dog goes to town. Last month there was a two-week stretch where they were making so much noise in the middle of the night that I was kept awake for hours despite delirious exhaustion and the use of a big loud fan as white noise. But for the last two nights in a row, I have been granted the priceless gift of sleep. Thanks, Douchebag party of 3! Keep it up!

6. Beavis and Butt-Head. I forgot how much I used to love this show in my whippersnapping days. Now it’s back on! There’s a new episode every week, and tons of classic old ones have been posted online for the viewer’s pleasure. (Heh-heh. I said “pleasure.” Heh.)

In conclusion, this week has really coalesced into a big clump of excellence. And it’s barely halfway over! What awesomenesses await?…

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Jennifer Getsinger permalink
    November 5, 2011 1:50 am

    givin’ ‘er

  2. Jennifer Getsinger permalink
    November 5, 2011 1:51 am

    Sorry, it didn’t work, that apostrophe is as backwards as yours. Dumb program doesn’t show the curve in the typing so you can’t proof it correctly.
    givin’ ‘er

  3. Jennifer Getsinger permalink
    November 5, 2011 1:53 am

    If this was word, you could type two ” and they come out different; then you delete the wrong one and it’s cool. This system goes and makes it backwards again.
    Well, sorry I tried to correct your apostrophe; it’s not your fault. Don’t print this crap.

    • Kate permalink*
      November 8, 2011 3:01 pm

      I’m printing your comments despite your instructions because the no-backward-apostrophe thing annoys the hell out of me when I’m writing posts. I use “give’r” in the past and present progressive tenses a lot. The usual spelling is “is/was given’r” but I can’t make myself use it because it’s grammatically wrong. That spelling only works for the present perfect, pluperfect, and future perfect (“I have/had/will have given’r”), and some constructions with modals. I guess I could bypass the apostrophe problem by using “givin’r” as the present participle…

      One of these days I’m going to post a conjugation chart for that verb.

      On Word I also do the typing-two-single-quotation-marks-and-then-deleting-one thing, but I think there should be a way to make the correct punctuation mark without outwitting the program.

      A couple years ago there was no m-dash on WordPress either; that was arguably worse. Every time I look at one of my old posts I feel compelled to go in and change all the dashes.

  4. November 16, 2011 8:55 am

    Yes, hoopdy is definitely the spelling attested by home-grown Manhattanites.

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