Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Too much information?

I voluntarily turned on the television yesterday for the first time in months. I wanted to see the spectacle in Washington, D.C., and feel like our country was about to make some sort of headway. I can't pin my hopes on one person, but I can witness that person's integrity and willingness to serve, willingness to sacrifice any chance of a normal life because that person believes he (in this case, a he) can change public policy at fundamental levels for the greater good. And I wasn't disappointed. The whole thing was very human and real, despite the grandeur. I ended up watching for a few hours. For what may be the last time for the foreseeable future, since we have a very old tv (one of my sisters got it for us at her recycling center, i.e. the dump) and have not gotten a digital converter box thingy, or a new tv. And don't plan to. Books, internet, radio, that's enough for now. There is such a thing as too much information. I came away from my afternoon of television and realized I'd missed real life, outside. The sun was already setting on a beautiful cold winter day. I felt a bit dazed, but happy to have seen this massive shift in political power for myself. Besides, I really enjoy the desultory chit-chat amongst news anchors and journalists while we all watch the scene together.

Ryan and I braved the cold and went to another small cabin fever friends-of-the-library sale last weekend, and came away with three boxes of books. A lot of new things to read, and much to attempt to resell. Nothing scarce or rare in the bunch, but highlights include a signed David McCullough first edition, a whole carton of decent Civil War history hardcovers, and a first in jacket of Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, which I later discovered had part of its title paged sliced away. Was it signed once, I wonder? Arg. I also picked up a copy of Heat by Bill Buford, and have now almost finished reading it. It's good - I love literature about food, and this is a pleasingly rambling narrative about the author's obsession with Italian cooking and the pressures of being an apprentice line cook at Babbo, among other things.

Nothing much else happening around here, except today I spent many hours stretching and gessoing canvases of various sizes. That's one great thing about painting - when easel-work isn't at your fingertips for whatever reason, you can always work at the other end of things, the prep work or figuring out what, exactly, should happen to what you've already made. Which in my case is piled up all over the place. Stacks and stacks of canvases. They do go quite nicely with the stacks and stacks of books. I appear to have a glut on my hands. What to do.

That's awesome about the David McCullough! Which book?
"1776" - signed on the title page with what looks like a very nice fountain pen. A sticker on the cover says the book came from a shop on Martha's Vineyard. I always wonder how books travel from place to place and then end up in a little sale like this.
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