Sunday, November 30th, 2003
Sylvia and I wrapped up our Thanksgiving weekend by going into the city today to visit Miriam and Blythe, who was in from Kansas with Isaiah. We met at the Museum of Natural History but decided to skip going to the museum and enjoy the beautiful weather. Spent about an hour at the 82nd Street playground, where Sylvia and Isaiah made some progress towards getting to know each other -- starting off with a tug-of-war over Sylvia's hat, with Isaiah holding up quite well against his older, taller cousin -- I stepped in and got them playing ring around the rosie for a while, though Isaiah didn't understand the falling-down part -- then we moved on to running around in circles without singing, and lots of climbing. Then we went for coffee and hot chocolate (and great mofungo) at Cafe con Leche on Amsterdam, and took a long walk down to Columbus Circle. Sylvia did very well on the train rides there and back.
Saturday, November 29th, 2003
We got back a few hours ago -- the trip was pleasant, most of our interactions with my family were stress-free, and it was really nice to watch Sylvia playing with my parents. Yesterday afternoon we were all sitting around their living room and somehow a game developed where whenever the conversation skipped a beat, Sylvia would run to whichever grandparent she was not currently sitting by and give a big hug -- a running leap hug -- and then sit next to that grandparent until the next skipped beat. Also she spent a few hours Thursday morning, helping my mom cook -- she made pumpkin pie and stuffing for the turkey, and helped stuff the turkey. (The stuffing did not come out very well, but I think that was the fault of a too-hot oven rather than due to any shortcomings in the preparation.)
Seeing Monique (and Justin and their kids) and Jeremy and Mike was great -- also Manjeet and J'aimee were there, neither of whom I have seen for more than 10 years. Brianne (is that correct spelling?) has grown up into a wonderfully hip high school student who reminds me very strongly of Monique at her age.
Tuesday, November 25th, 2003
No blogging for the rest of the week as we are going back to Modesto to visit my parents. (And sorry about the lack of updates and almost total paucity of meaningful updates recently -- I'll try to do something about that when we return.)
Dinner tomorrow with Monique and family plus Jer Egenberger (hopefully) and Mike Lopes!
Monday, November 24th, 2003
I just linked to PartiallyClips under the Comix category, and added a daily link to the Paradox Dragon strip; after browsing around in the archive over there for a while, I want to emphasize the link -- if you've got a little free time one of the best things you could do this morning would be to go to Mr. Balder's Welcome New Readers page, scroll down to the bottom and read your way through his "greatest hits" archive. 12 strips, you'll have enough hilarity to last you a couple of days.
Thursday, November 20th, 2003
Turns out to be The Evolution Man by Roy Lewis; Lewis is not French but English; and the first edition does indeed have "The Minotaur" on the cover. Thanks to Google and Prehistoric Fiction for their invaluable help. (See this post for context.)
Oh and, I was misled by memory -- the novel is not set in neolithic age but earlier, in the transition from holocene to pleistocene. It was originally titled, What we did to Father.
Wednesday, November 19th, 2003
Sylvia has mastered (well she is working on it) the art of clicking links. We are over at PBS Kids right now and she is clicking merrily thru the Clifford stories -- and remembering what links do what, too.
The server came back to life half an hour ago, my mailbox is full, mostly of spam...
Actually it's a bit less spam than I would expect to get in 3 days so I may have lost some messages. (How's that for a metric?) If you sent me anything and I persist in not responding, I may not have gotten it.
Monday, November 17th, 2003
E-mail server is down for the nonce, so if you have written me and got no response fear not; I will hopefully get the message within a day or two when things are working again. I'll post a note here when it is back on line.
I finished The English Passengers tonight -- what a dark book it is! I was moved to think about the meaning of the word "earnest" this afternoon, when I said to myself that this book was not (pejorative sneer) earnest in the way that The Life of Pi and The Corrections were -- this thought floated through my head complete with the sneer despite the fact that I had greatly enjoyed both those books, especially the latter -- what did I mean?
Kneale does not make such a point of evincing sympathy for his characters as does Franzen -- and indeed, few of the portrayals are sympathetic -- I would say the only ones that are, were Tim Renshaw, Captain Kewley and Peevay, and all with a great deal of ambiguity. So the sympathetic characterizations which I found so compelling in The Corrections -- and which were present in The Life of Pi as well -- are not a feature here. This is probably what I meant to get at with my pejorative use of the word "earnest"; the word is not very well used then, as Kneale is certainly earnest in his scorn for his characters.
Wednesday, November 12th, 2003
I am going to throw this out into the æther and see if any help comes my way...
When I was young, I read a book that I loved and reread several times. I have forgotten the author's name (I believe he was French) and the title. Here is all I know for sure about the book:
If anyone knows the book I'm thinking of I would be greatly indebted to you for providing me with that information.
- It was set in the Neolithic era. The characters were a family of cavemen who did things like discovering fire, inventing written language, etc.
- The narrator's uncle was named Vanya.
- On the cover of the book (a paperback) was a print of Picasso's The Minotaur.
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