Friday, September 30, 2016

Requiem for an Action-Packed Month

Well, the Hopper Birthday Month is over. Three birthdays in twelve days – Patch, then me, then Little One. Extended family parties, friend parties, and dinners with just the four of us. A whirlwind of eating, gift giving, surprises, and lots and lots of driving.

I am exhausted.

September is really for the girls. I get one evening, which is how I like it. A low-key affair, for a guy who likes to keep his affairs low-key. We had some homemade lasagna on my birthday, and the little ones bought me a scented pumpkin spice candle. O the little joys in life. My wife bought me much-needed business casual clothes – button-up shirts, khakis, t-shirts, cool-weather gear, the works. Quite necessary and much appreciated.

My parents and my in-laws gave me what I crave, though: Book money.

A few days ago I went on my favorite online bookseller sites and perused my wishlists. After nearly an hour of deliberation, here is what I selected for my Fall reading agenda:

The classic Shelby Foote Civil War trilogy, The Civil War: A Narrative

Fort Sumter to Perryville (1958)

Fredericksburg to Meridian (1963)

Red River to Appomattox (1974)

Plus a book on Zen philosophy and one on the Catholic theology of the Blessed Virgin Mary. A nice, eclectic selection, all in all.

What? No science fiction?

Well … I did toy with purchasing a PKD or two, in light of the neat little “trip” I took reading Palmer Eldritch a few weeks’ back. But, no. Here at home, in the dungeon where I keep the writing desk, I have towers and towers of unread and unfinished science fiction paperbacks. There are probably two dozen I could / should place in the On-Deck circle. A lot are under 200 pages, which means I could probably put away one a week, even with the hectic schedule I have with the night classes and the girls’ extracurricular activities. So, I plan on diving into the Civil War once the postman brings them to my door, and toss in a classic SF from the basement every now and then. I’d like to put a half-dozen of those classic golden oldies to rest before year’s end.

(By the way, the two PKD’s I almost bought were Deus Irae, co-written with Roger Zelazny, and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer.)

The tax prep classes are coming along nicely. It really snowballs, though, and there are endless rules and regulations to keep in mind. Some you need to memorize, even if they say you don’t, and others you just need to be aware of, and know where to find ’em if they come up doing a return. So far I’ve had 15 hours of class time, the same amount in homework, a two-hour online training session, and two quizzes. My average’s a 95, but the only grade that counts is the final exam, held the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Health-wise, aside from my little fast last week, I’m back to my normal ways. Going to take the little ones out for a slice of pizza after this posts, if you must know.

There’s been a strong – and I mean strong – urge to create this month. Dunno if it’s a response to all the ephemera going on. Possibly it’s a reaction to the Tegmark book on deep physics I’ve been reading. Ping-pongs between a fairly in-depth outline for a fantasy / SF novel I’ve been planning for years and a discourse into answering the question, “How would a non-human entity experience reality” sketched out over a map of human consciousness. Stuff I have absolutely no qualifications for, but stuff that intrigues me nonetheless.

Maybe I should morph both pong-pings into one, eh?

Not much on deck for October but to keep plugging away at life. Supposed to be a rainy, yucky weekend, so we plan on doing a lot of epic movie watching. Er, that is, watching a lot of movie epics. Going to the library to pick up a bunch of flicks. Also some trivia books on esoteric subject matter. Nothing Hopper enjoys more than thumbing through weird left-field stuff on cold rainy days, huddled on the couch with a blanket and the little ones at his feet, enraptured by some classics of the golden age of cinema.

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