a quiet week off (and that’s just fine)

This has been a quiet week off. James is under the weather, so things in the house are abnormally quiet. No music playing, no TV in the background, very little talking.  I’ve spent my time reading, relaxing and not being online. When I have been at my computer, I’ve been working on my new play and not doing much in the way of blogging or emailing. And I’ve gotten together with friends for lunch every day this week – some are in town from points elsewhere and others are, like me, using the holidays as an excuse to get together. It’s been fun. Laid back and fun, just as a vacation at home should be.

Today I finished reading Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth. I picked it up at the Henry Miller Library on vacation a couple of weeks ago. The girl who checked me out said it was her favorite book, which I took as a compliment to my good taste at the time,  but I’ve since realized that my father might have stopped by before I got there and told her to say that. (see: this blog post – next to last photo caption – for that comment to make sense). What a delightful read. Well, “delightful” probably isn’t the right word. It was a scathing read. An uncomfortable read. A painfully funny read. I haven’t read something with that much masturbation in it in my life. My eye is still stinging…(inside joke).

The book was published in 1969, and I have to assume it raised more than a few eyebrows at the time. It’s full of sex, but it’s not sexy. Especially because of Portnoy’s ever-present, mood-killing parents. [Larry David had to have at least partially based George Costanza’s parents on Seinfeld on Portnoy’s parents. As I read I kept thinking of this scene from Seinfeld, which I still quote.] If this book hasn’t been done as a stage play yet, it should be. It’s basically a really terrific, hours-long monologue. The narrator is a great character. He’s a self-involved asshole who’s fairly honest with himself about his self-involvement and assholeness. And he wants to change. He just needs to meet the right girl…or…maybe not. I’m pretty sure I dated a 1990’s version of Portnoy. At least one.

Next vacation-purchased book in the hopper: Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck. Dude, he traveled the country with his DOG. I love it already.

A final note about the holidays: I have a highly honed ability to be annoyed by stupid commercials, so it was nice when James found one that bugged the shit out of him. If you don’t feel like clicking, it’s the Hyundai commercial with the hipsters singing monotone Christmas carols, the singer chick having vacant eyes/bangs and the drummer guy wearing skinny jeans/beard. They’re stupid singing hipsters, sure, but the commercial didn’t register on my annoy-a-meter until James said something. The duo is actually a band and not just actors – I just tried watching a video on their website but couldn’t deal with the twee song and the singer chick’s soulless eyes. (Get off my lawn!)

Happy end of 2010. I hope 2011 is a happy and healthy year for you and yours.

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7 responses to “a quiet week off (and that’s just fine)”

  1. Coincidentally, I ran across “Portnoy’s Complaint” in a crossword puzzle yesterday, which made me realize that, not only have I not read it, I haven’t read ANY book by Philip Roth. Have you read any of his other books? Just wondering if “Portnoy’s Complaint” is a good starting point for his work. I’ve set my sights on getting back to reading more books and using my library card more frequently.

    • Portnoy’s Complaint was my first Roth read. Not sure how it compares to his other work, but I’ll definitely be reading more. This was his third novel (and he’s still alive, by the way), so it’s fairly close to the start.

  2. I had no idea the they (Pomplamoose – Hyundai band) were a real band. I just thought that they were a couple of well chosen actors to do the commercials as a sort of He and She knock off. Kinda wishing my week off was as quiet as yours – the road trip(s) were great, but compounded with the holiday and the weather up North it was a bit much. Not sure what I’m gonna do next year, seeing as how the airfare and TSA situations are probably only gonna get worse…

    The FS sticker on my Hyundai got a compliment from one of the cooks at my favorite Pizza joint in Media while he was taking a smoke break and I was brushing snow off it after some delicious lunch. Spreading the Gospel wherever I go!

    • I didn’t know they were a real band either. One of James’ friends (also a musician) was the one who alerted us to that fact. Evidently the commercial irritated him enough to google them…

      Most home vacations for me are spent doing all of the things I don’t have time to do the rest of the year (painting the bathroom, working n the yard, getting the oil changed, etc.). I decided this year to not do any of that shit, and I’m glad for it.

      Thanks for spreading The Word! People end up on the fight stupidization site from points around the country, and I always wonder how they arrive there. It’s because of people like you who are sharing the news with points north, south, east and west. Keep on truckin’.

  3. Check out Pomplamoose’ cover of Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” here: http://bit.ly/biN0O5 The footage of the guys grandmother dancing is worth all the shots of soulless girl singer eyes (although the self conscious bass pedal muppet shamelessly soliciting validation of its performance at the end of the video is sufficiently annoying to make up for it.)

    • Jesus Christ, where to start. First off, I kept waiting for the tagline “this message brought to you by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” like those commercials back in the ’80s that featured someone doing something nice for another person in a completely unrealistic way. It’s so saccharine, my teeth hurt. Second, do these assholes write their own music or just rip off the music other people created? Third, the grandmother has more edge to her than frick and frack. Fourth, and most important, WHO LIKES THIS SHIT? Fifth, am I just an asshole? Don’t answer that last one.

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