January 4, 2008

The Weeklies #17

Baby, it's cold outside. So, while I'm thawing my ass, I give you the seventeenth entry in The Weeklies series. Stay warm.

The Weekly Worst Moment. Waking up on Wednesday morning at oh-dark-thirty with an alarm blaring in my ear stunned by the revelation that, after eleven days off, I did indeed have to return to work.

The Weekly Sugar-Filled Treat. Marshmallows. Damn do I love marshmallows.

The Weekly Reads. During my extended Christmas break (the remixed dance version clocking in at the aforementioned eleven days), I made it through four books. I've long loved the 70's classic movie Logan's Run so I decided to get my hands on the long-out-of-print novel that preceded it. It wasn't bad. It's a little silly and I'll always love the movie but the book was decent. Also good was Don Winslow's California Fire and Life. I could devote an entire post dedicated to the way Winslow writes but that would be pretty boring to anyone but me. His style is distinct, very terse, clipped, straightforward. But he has an incredible way of packing a book with detail and backstory. While I don't exactly care for poetry, I'll read anything Billy Collins writes. Beth gave me a copy of The Trouble With Poetry and it was wonderful. I guess what I like is the fact that Collins doesn't take himself too seriously. That leads me to...

The Weekly Best Read In The All-Too-Brief History of Best Reads. When Dave Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius came out, I picked it up and devoured it. And while I thought the book lost steam in its final third, I loved it. I've read a couple of other things Eggers has written in the intervening years but I was not prepared for What Is The What. Eggers presents us with a largely true but occasionally-fictionalized autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng, a Sudanese "Lost Boy" who eventually found his way to the United States after fleeing his war-torn country. The story is told in the first person as if narrated by Achak himself. And in fact it was...kinda. Eggers worked with him for several years, interviewing him and gathering up the many pieces of Achak's story and assembling them. The result is one of the single most powerful novels I've ever had the pleasure to read. This is Egger's heartbreaking work of staggering genius. I urge you to go out and pick up a copy. Read it. Your world will be a little better for knowing Achak.

The Weekly Schadenfreude. Us. The primary season got underway yesterday in Iowa. We'll hear about nothing but politics for the next 11 months. Now, I'm a political junkie but even I'm not looking forward to it this time around. But yay Obama, who seems to be the least bad candidate out there.

The Weekly Technical Glitch. As you who sometimes use Bloglines might have noticed, feeds from Beth and I aren't showing up. Not sure why but it ain't us. If you want to get a notification when I post, just let me know and I'll add you to my notification list.

The Weekly Question. Would you rather sell anything bought or processed, buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or - as a fourth option - repair anything sold, bought, or processed? (Dead horse, beaten.)

Posted by Chris at January 4, 2008 6:53 AM

The answer to your question is 42.

Have a nice weekend!

Posted by: mikkie at January 4, 2008 7:10 AM

The correct answer to the question is "sir, I'd like to date your daughter" but given the circumstances of your daughter situation and that I don't have a tendency for dating girls of *any* age, my answer is null and void. I vote repair.

Posted by: Poppy at January 4, 2008 7:38 AM

I always end up putting books on hold at the library after reading your recommendations :-) That way, I can occasionally read smart books instead of my stupid (but amusing) romance novels.

Posted by: Heather at January 4, 2008 7:54 AM

ahhhhhhh nothing like a fresh lloyd dobler quote to get the heart beating on a cold Friday morning... I think I shall sit my butt 3" in front of the woodstove and watch that tonight!!

Posted by: Stephanie at January 4, 2008 8:28 AM

You are way off with the "Obama, who seems to be the least bad." That man has nothing on Dennis Kuchinich, my friend. Strength through peace. Oh, if only.

Posted by: kelly at January 4, 2008 8:42 AM

Heh - my father wants me to join the military but I don't think I can work for that organization.

Posted by: mr. big dubya at January 4, 2008 9:17 AM

I heart you, Lloyd Dobler, even though you tried to hide your identity behind the Weekly Question. You're still the "keymaster" to my heart.

Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen at January 4, 2008 9:21 AM

Your Worst: I felt like that every day this week.

Question: None of the above for me.

Posted by: Maria at January 4, 2008 9:24 AM

I take it you missed the Britney news from this morning when compiling your schadenfreude?

Posted by: Laura GF at January 4, 2008 9:27 AM

I love marshmallows, too. As do my boys. And, for Christmas, a friend got them marshmallow guns. Coolest toy ever!

Posted by: Alissa at January 4, 2008 9:33 AM

Could I just go on a date (i.e.sleep) with John Cusack instead of doing anything else listed?

Posted by: Arwen at January 4, 2008 9:56 AM

The answer is 7. The answer is always 7.

btw - read both Marshall Karp books on your recommendation and LOVED them! Thanks!

Posted by: sue at January 4, 2008 10:25 AM

Nothing against Obama but 2 of the least bad candidates dropped out last night. And then there's Dennis K. who, in spite of his opinion about UFO's, stands for everything I believe in and has the courage to say so.

I'm thinking about writing a "tail wagging dog" post about Iowa. What makes it so important anyhow? It's a small, conservative state and I can't believe their choices should control a national election.

How about having all the primaries on the same day?

Posted by: ann adams at January 4, 2008 10:44 AM

Dave Eggers is awesome. He and David Foster Wallace are probably my two favorite Daves in the world, actually. I think I went into 'What is the What' with expectations so high that no book could've satisfied, and while I liked it, it was no 'Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius'. Not that it was supposed to be, of course. His other book, 'You Shall Know Our Velocity', was also good, but I again screwed myself with the unattainably high expectations.

I'd rather just buy some ice cream, eat it, process it, and leave the more pointless questions to people who have nothing better to do than worry about strings of action verbs. Wasn't this somehow related to Paris Hilton?

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at January 4, 2008 10:48 AM

I guess I'd buy something sold and processed... because I do.

BTW, I switched to Google Reader and found out that yours weren't the only feeds that Bloglines had been failing to grab. I love Google Reader.

Posted by: Brad at January 4, 2008 11:06 AM

Heh. Love that movie. In fact, I just purchased the DVD. And I was just trying to quote that line at work the other day. Guess I'd better rewatch the movie a few times so I can memorize it. :)

Posted by: Carolyn at January 4, 2008 11:59 AM

I would choose to sit and stare at that question for ten minutes. And then get up and get a cup of coffee.

Posted by: GreenCanary at January 4, 2008 12:31 PM

I went and caucused for Obama last night. I felt bad for Simmons & Dodd, who had one supporter each out of the hundreds at our precinct location. Nobody should lose that bad.

Posted by: Alicia at January 4, 2008 1:00 PM

Whoa, I just read the comment from 'ann adams.'
We're not all conservatives, it's pretty insulting for you to assume that. In the past Iowa was considered a blue state.
One mistake *ahem, dubya, ahem* and the nation's on your ass...

Posted by: Alicia at January 4, 2008 1:06 PM

Thanks for the Eggers' book recommendation. I read "A Heartbreaking Work..." a while back and enjoyed it (and also agree that the last third or so was lacking in comparison to the rest), so I'm definitely adding this one to my Wishlist.

Posted by: Stephanie at January 4, 2008 1:56 PM


I think this is one of my favorite expressions and I'm wondering where the hell it started. Also, DAMNIT! It is cold.

Posted by: C at January 4, 2008 2:05 PM

Logan's Run! I love that movie. It's right up there with the original Stepford Wives and Westworld. If you haven't seen those, you need to pick them up.

Posted by: Tink at January 4, 2008 4:20 PM

Please, please, please notify me when you put up a new post! I have been going through cactusfish withdrawal for the past couple of weeks and only discovered why today. Thanks and happy New Year!!

Posted by: shelley at January 4, 2008 6:56 PM

I hate 'oh dark thirty' because...
It's really cold then.

Now I don't need no notification when
this here blog updates, because...
I stalk the bitch everyday.

Thank you very much.

Posted by: kimmyk at January 4, 2008 9:24 PM

marshmallows are SO best roasted.... The monkey LOVES them. But, I begged my mother to STOP feeding them to her.... But, you go ahead and enjoy! ;)

My feeds seem to be working! I got here through my google reader.....?

Posted by: Haley-O at January 6, 2008 3:32 AM

What is the What has been on my "to read" pile for a while. Looking forward to it. Big fan of Eggers.

Posted by: Sphincter at January 6, 2008 10:52 AM

Marshmallows? Just by themselves?

Posted by: angela at January 6, 2008 3:13 PM

Kind of a delayed reaction here, and nothing to do with your post above- However, I thought it was worth a comment: a while ago you suggested a book- The Zero Game by Brad Meltzer. Well, I took your advice and read it. Just finished it, quite literally, and absolutely, positively loved it!! Definitely one of the best books I have ever read (top 10 for sure), and while I dont think I read as much as you do, I read an awful lot!! (3-4 novels a month)

I can hardly wait to start another by Mr. Meltzer. I believe I also ordered the Millionaires Club (?) and have it waiting at home.

Thanks for the tip!

Posted by: 3jaysmom at January 7, 2008 2:34 PM