Heard from Ken today. Haven't chatted with that boy in a while. Anyway, I have to reprint this rant from him. It was in response to a short, innocent line in which I suggested I should read something by Pynchon to be hip with modern lit. And off he went:
"DUUUUDEEEE don't get me started...because I can't seem to finish a Pynchon book. First, instead of smoking, I suggest injesting some magic mushrooms, peyote, or other "natural" hallucinagens. You have to be in that state of mind to read Pynchon. The dude is crazy. That's really the only way I can put it. He's like a shizophrenic/depraved/bizarre version of J.D. Salinger. No one knows what he looks like. There has never been a picture of him. Get this...before they found Ted Kaczynski...people thought Pynchon might have been the Unabomber. Now, that's crazy. Okay, ready to read him yet? I started Gravity's Rainbow three years ago, got through half of it, read 25% of it twice...still don't know what the hell is going on. I'm waiting until I finish Ulysses, Remembrance of Things Past, and the Oxford English Dictionary before I tackle Gravity's Rainbow again. His writing is virtuosic but it borders on innane rambling. He can give an introduction to a character...go inside his head...and then trace his backstory from his childhood and then return to the scene at hand. Of course it takes him 150 pages to get you back to the present setting. Another thing about Pynchon is that he's a allusory (is that a word) as Eliot. Unlike Eliot though, Pynchon does not use literary allusions, he has a encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture, not only of America, but of other continents. It's amazing what he comes up with. I bought a companion book just to try to straighten out the references.
Ready to start yet?
I'm such a sucker for self punishment that I bought another book by Pynchon over Winter Break. It's called Vineland. Want a brief synopsis? Written in 1990, takes place during the Reagan years. It's supposed to be a critique of the period. Okay, this dude is an old hippie who has been on the run from the federales all his life. He has a daughter and is estranged from his wife. Wife actually left hippie dude for dude's arch enemy, an FBI agent. Anyways, the FBI agent is on dude's trail again so dude has to send his daughter on the hippie underground to escape FBI agent. Daughter meets an array of characters including a female ninja with special powers who is currently her protector, members of a surf band, FBI agents addicted to watching TV ("Tubies"), among others. Vineland is supposed to be his most accessible book.
Critics say Pynchon is "funny." I say, Pynchon is crazy assed lunatic who has scammed the publishing industry into publishing his ramblings. However, when I finish Vineland, I will staple the book to my forehead and try to pick up chicks. I'll probably be one of five people in St. Louis who have read the book. There was a headline in the Onion a couple months ago..."Man on Subway, Blatantly Displays Copy of Pynchon Book For All To See." I thought it was the funniest thing the Onion has ever done because I'M THAT GUY. Sometimes, I went on the DC Metro reading Gravity's Rainbow, just so other people could see that I was reading Gravity's Rainbow. Finish a Pynchon book and wear it with pride.
So, are you going to read him or not?"
Okay, now I just have to buy a copy of Pynchon and display it on my desk at work.
You can bid on one of Lance Armstrong's Trek bikes. He used this one in 1999 racing and 2000 training seasons. Too bad cycling is not a bigger sport in the U.S. Lance should be a god at this point.
Finally caught up on some old Sunday NYTimes lying around. Had to take a break from work stuff after getting home. Interesting article on intelligent design. Didn't know too much about it, but was curious enough to surf the web a bit to see what Google turned up. Found lots. It's a hot topic which has spawned entire websites and some interesting articles. Whether or not it's a legitimate theory or just creationism dressed up in intelligent discourse, it did prove to me once again how limiting public school education can be. I look back on junior high and high school, and there's so much they never even covered. Never studied any world history, or barely any. Yet some of the things you learn in those days can bias you for life. I can see how some people just decide to teach their kids themselves (though who would want to deprive their children from the cruelty of their peers). You just need to get intelligent people to the point where they're brave enough to think for themselves.
Played volleyball for the first time in years on Tuesday night. Played with Katie, Jordan, Jason....folks from work who are in a league. Boy, I was rusty. Felt like I was in slow motion on the court, and my timing on hits was so off. Depressing. I was much more talented in my youth. I'm regressing.
Saw the play Art last night with Franklin, Bean, Juli, and Macho. It started a bit slow, but I warmed up to it during the night. Not brilliant, but entertaining in parts. About 3 friends whose friendship falls under pressure when one of them buys a completely white painting for an exorbitant amount. One of the characters reads a quote from his psychiatrist (I think) which I found interesting. And I enjoyed the way the play ends, with one of the characters talking about the painting as being about a skier who appears and then fades into the snow.
Went riding early yesterday morning, and got poured on. Miserable, just riding in the rain. But work colors everything. If I were living out in the countryside or something, and all I was doing was training on my bike, I would've been in heaven. My physical health is like my part-time hobby, the novel unwritten, the vacation never taken.
If I had a fortune right now, I'd buy the freedom of myself and a few close friends, build a small little commune where we would all live and attempt to be artists. Writing, painting, directing films, and working out.
Most days, I feel like an idiot.