Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Mid-Jan. blues/blahs

I'm not sure why I am feeling so lethargic.  I suppose the most likely reason is that I took almost no time off at all around the holidays and am just run down.  Also, I have been keeping things together while trying to decide between two job offers, and now that it has been decided, there is a bit of a let-down, particularly since I have to wait a bit before gearing up for the next steps of dealing with updating my visa.  And it is also fair to say that work is now in a kind of boring phase where I am not expected to do much that is innovative, but rather need to document everything that has been done over the past 2.5 years!  As it happens, I am sure that won't really last, and they will drag me into all kinds of other things, but ostensibly I am supposed to shift over to hand-over mode.  I suppose if I take a month or so to step back and think of all that I accomplished up here (and then write it all down), then that isn't such a bad thing. 

Ok, I will list just a few disappointing things, then will turn to more positive events.  It is part of a plan to focus more on the upside of things.

I was very disappointed with the novel Babyji by Abha Dawesar.  Maybe the worst example of "Mary Jane-ing" I've seen ever.  The narrator is super smart (fine) and Head Prefect for her high school and once she decides to investigate her sexuality rather than just mathematics and physics, everyone falls madly in love with her within minutes of meeting her.  It would have been at least somewhat interesting if it turns out she was the reincarnation of some Hindu love goddess, but no such luck.  On top of the total implausibility of this, the ending is completely inconclusive with nothing about her future decided at all (will she reform the bad boy at school, will she go to university in America or go to IIT, will her parents ever catch her doing all this sneaking around).  Worst of all, the narrator is just 16, so anytime sex comes up it just feels icky* and not fun at all to read.  At least Sonia Singh's Goddess for Hire which I read a few years back is a true guilty pleasure.  I should have just stopped Babyji after 50 pages and reread Singh's book instead.  A word to the wise and all that.

I'm not even enjoying Molly Keane's Full House all that much either.  It seems I like only every second novel by her.  Now if turns out to be an immutable pattern, then I can save myself quite a bit of time... But it looks like it will be a fairly quick read, so I won't have to live with it for too long.  I keep moving other books into the list ahead of Proust, and I think I'll next read two books about intelligent people in love, including unsuitable love, which is what I hoped I would get out of Babyji.  Anyway, the books are Lee Siegel's Love in a Dead Language and Marisha Pessl's Special Topics in Calamity Physics.  I figure I'll be getting around to them right around Valentine's Day, which seems apropos.

I ordered a DV cable to transfer my camcorder tapes over, and it doesn't work at all.  I think it may just be poor quality control, so I'll try to order one more of these cables (annoyingly, it doesn't look like you can just buy them in stores anymore).

On the positive side, I have tracked down a lot of old tapes and gotten them in one place.  I'm slowly getting through the VHS tapes and usually can toss out one or two a day.  I should be through the whole batch of them by the summer, so we won't have to move them.

While not that big a deal, I did cook a couple of Ethiopian dishes and they came out reasonably well.  I'm trying to do a bit more cooking, though it wasn't a New Year's resolution or anything like that.

I managed to book quite a bit of travel to Chicago and Toronto for mid-March, and I am looking forward to that, including a concert that we snuck in.  I think we'll also visit the AGO and just possibly see a play if there is anything worth catching.  Of course, I will probably spend at least some time with my new boss as well as a friend from grad. school I've managed to stay in touch with after all this time.  So I'm sure the time will fly by.

In general, I am excited about the new job (certainly the location and the salary), and this visit is one more major step in getting back to Toronto (and determining where we will live).  It feels like a lot of things came together to bring me back to Toronto, and I am really excited over that, though obviously a little nervous that the family won't like it as much.  For that matter, living in Toronto as a middle-aged family man is totally different from living there as a student, but I am not too worried.  On my last trip, I really did feel almost like I was coming home.  I will have to work on maintaining that level of enthusiasm over the long haul.  Maybe it really is time to set aside some time to work on that novel -- even 30 minutes a day (instead of frittering the time away on the internet) would make a difference.

There are other things I hope will happen (get in shape after I start biking again, get more organized, take work just a bit less seriously) but I also know better than to put too many expectations on myself.  I am generally hard enough on myself that I don't really need more pressure.

* Dawesar keeps name-checking Nabokov's Lolita.  Well, I wasn't that impressed by Lolita after I finally read it.  That said, putting Babyji next to Lolita does Babyji no favors at all...

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