30 November 2011

The After-Turkey Lull - Gift or Curse?

UPDATE (Dec. 3): Despite my assistance, my daughter placed 4th of 18 in her class of "engineering" students! (See below for details of the project.)

Or, how I spent my post-Thanksgiving days....

Now that the tryptophan-induced coma has yielded, I return to the real world with a line of gnomes carefully pinching me to prove I am in reality as we know it.

So what can we make of the post-Thanksgiving lull? Riots in shopping centers? Pepper spray as holiday gifts? Crowds of poverty-stricken materialists breaking down doors to get the latest things they don't need. Sure, it's a holiday season, which by definition is a "holy" day (but which by modern definition is a shopping day), so everyone seems entitled to his or her full measure of merriment and mirth, frivolity and fragmentation--which I mean in a good way. And football!

For me, it was an odd triad of days in which never-before-attempted efforts were brought to bear on the construction of a contraption based on the six simple tools. Trips to hardware stores, Walmart, lumber yards, and back again, combining parts, using tools, measuring twice, cutting once or more. What a weekend! I'm speaking of the father-daughter project known as "science project"--a quixotic attempt to make a small car go forward, ideally hitting a solid wall with such force that it ricochets backwards as far as possible. The total distance traveled will be measured and he or she who attains the longest distance shall be rewarded...what, with a turkey dinner? I hope not. But it was a worthy effort, no matter the results.

The weekend of turkey and stuffing was also filled with many conflicting thoughts. One step forward and two steps back? Or two steps forward and one step back? Hard to tell. Maybe sit for a few hours and see if the lighting changes. I'm being cryptic, I'll admit. Not sure what I can say other than a year of positive direction has suddenly begun to pitter. I'm waiting to see how chips fall, waiting for the sunrise. As any viking-wannabe, I remain stalwart and eager to sally forth (though not, obviously, with Sally, who dumped me back in college after only two dates) with battle axe and battle scars, ready to claim my territory on the bookshelves of distance lands, come what may.

So I remain a positive, cheerful fellow. I know that's strange and certainly unlike me to put readers through such an embarrassingly intimate revelation. However, as is common for me, I have time between the past and the future and tend to fill it, briefly, with words that on occasion have meaning and in other particular situations take on the feel of dictionaries cut apart and pages scattered to the winds. You know what I mean. And if you don't, stop reading. There are, after all, graphic novels available.

Finally, as you go out to shop for fun, for health, for promotions, for compliments, for self-fulfillment, be sure to Buy a Book! Either one of the traditional things full of paper or one of the new-fangled electronic compilations of faux paper called "ebook" will do. As long as it is something written/composed and intending to be read with eyes or fingers, let it appear on your shopping list. Keep the Art of Reading alive! Buy a Book! Buy many Books! Buy armfuls of books! Give out your extra books! Share your books! Have read-a-thons! Keep Reading Alive!

And, if you so choose, and the timing is fortunate, you may yet be able to buy MY Book, AFTER ILIUM.

It's a fun-filled tale of what can go wrong when Alex Parris, a naive young college grad goes on a summer trip to ancient Troy and means an exotic older woman he mistakes for Helen of Troy. What could go wrong, right? Half-romance, half-adventure, 100% Levantine pathos!

Next holiday shopping season, I will have another book to offer you! Stay tuned....

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