Tuesday, June 21, 2011

June 21

Well vacation's done and I'm back at work.  The wife is now in DC, at a conference.  I'm pushing the boulder back up the hill again, after a long time ignoring both boulder and hill.

Yesterday a long work day.  After a week or so away it went slowly.  So much I realize is kept in my head usually--about what's going on, what's supposed to happen at set parts--that coming back after a time away involves not just going back to the problem(s) to solve but refamiliarizing myself with the whole contraption, as it were, of the play.

Bink has been exhausted since we got him from the vet.  Yesterday I started to be worried that he was TOO tired--even he usually doesn't sleep all day.  Without the wife here to consult with my paranoia tends to grow.  Another of the many benefits of not being alone--keeping you grounded in reality.  In fact, the Bink was just tired but I couldn't help checking up on him as he slept in various points and positions throughout the day, making sure he was still breathing.  Which is somewhat odd.  Strange that I would worry about him sleeping, something I usually wish he did more of (especially when I work).  Any variation from routine seems ominous, I guess.

Have joined audible.com and am enjoying the new frontier of books on tape.  Walking about 45 minutes a day, it's astonishing how much 'reading' you can get through.  My first book was Jeeves in the Morning; now that I'm done with it I've moved on to something more ambitious (and much longer)--Tom Jones.  So far, it's been excellent.  It's also something like 60 or 70 hours long (in three parts) so it should last me the better part of the summer.  And it's a book I've never read.  Nor really ever wanted to (strongly).  I picked it to listen to because it came highly rated on the audible web site.  So far, I'm not disappointed, although I do miss Cecil Beaton imitating Jeeves' voice.  One benefit of listening to a book (not reading it) is that it's impossible to skim.  I realize, as I walk, that I have a tendancy to not attend too carefully to passages I either find difficult or tedious.  Listening that's not possible.  You 'read' every word.  With Wodehouse that was an undoubted benefit; he puts so much care into his language that missing even a word or two really matters.  I think it will hold true with Fielding as well (though I've already noticed a tendency to repeat himself and overlabor certain ironies--something more common in the 18th century, it seems to me.  It's as if irony needed to be more explained because people weren't so used to it.)

No tutoring for the next month at least so it's time to really work.  And diet.  Those are two big agendas for the next few months.


Dezmond said...

...And follow my music list.

ANCIANT said...

THREE big agendas, you're right. I should have said.

But it goes without saying, really. I always follow your lists with eager interest.

JMW said...

I remember liking Tom Jones when I read it in college, and I've meant to re-read it for a long time.

It's funny you say that about attending to every word when you listen. In my very brief experience with audio books, maybe 12 years ago (on cassettes, for God's sake), I couldn't pay attention well enough. Granted, I was driving, which requires more active attention than, say, walking or running for exercise. Still, I know people who listen to books in the car and love it. For me, it was impossible to pay close enough attention to replicate reading (not that I don't read very quickly and sometimes sloppily; I do). But sometimes driving, I would be listening to an album and realize that I had only subconsciously heard some song I know really well -- that somehow I'd gone from track 2 to track 4 without quite recognizing it. When that happened with the book, the results were obviously more crucial and disastrous. That turned me off of it. I also can't imagine listening to something that I really want to read -- for lack of being able to annotate, go back to things I love, etc.

ANCIANT said...

I think you're exactly right; when I listen to lectures in the car I almost never grasp all the minutiae. It's for that reason that I've always foresworn books on tape (or CD, or whatever). However, it's a different experience listening while you walk. When I walk around the park, I have nothing else to concentrate on. I don't have to worry about making a left turn or getting on the freeway or why the person in front of me keeps slowing down to 20 for no good reason. I just have to walk. It's a huge difference.

I take your point, though, about annotating. And it's true that I probably would not listen to a book that I really wanted to study: I'd read it. I think my books on tape playlist will be half parts books I want to read for pure enjoyment (Wodehouse and Gaiman are at the top of this list) and maybe serious books like Tom Jones that I'm not necessarily intent on studying. Because you're right: annotating is a big part of how I read.

But we'll see. It's all new at this point.