Things are starting to heat up, what with getting ready to go on vacation, doing California house stuff, and herding cats I mean colleagues for work.
I could just cut and paste from last week: admin, advising, etc.
I did get a book chapter sent off, though, so I can add something to the “my own damn work” side of the ledger.
The biggest Reading/Watching event was the Champions League final between Tottenham and Liverpool, which Liverpool won comfortably. The score was 2-0 and Tottenham did press them, but a penalty to Liverpool 22 seconds in (inadvertent handball, but still a handball) meant the game took on a set cast very early. It wasn’t a pretty or exciting game, but I’ll take it, thank you very much. The team was fantastic this year and they deserved to come out with a major trophy at the end of it. Somewhere between 250k and 500k people jammed the streets of Liverpool for the victory parade, which is pretty impressive given the city population is 550k, and I’m pretty sure there are some Everton fans living there.
What does this have to do with reading, you might ask? Well, I’ve been reading David Peace’s wonderful novel about legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly, Red or Dead, since it was published in 2013. I start it, get 100-300 pages in, put it down, come back to it, rinse and repeat. It’s a book for literary footie fans, which can’t be a huge demographic. But I find it wonderful and fascinating and I don’t want it to end. I picked it up again this spring and I’m more than halfway through (it’s over 700 pages of minute details about Shankly and the football seasons). The repetition makes it hypnotic and almost zen-like, and Shankly is the hero we wish we had these days. Far from perfect but utterly admirable. I think I’ve been unable to finish because I don’t want it to end, but now that we’ve won a trophy again and look like the team Shankly created, it might be time to finally read the whole thing. And I can always start over when I’m done, right?
20 Books of Summer began yesterday and I started my first read, A Month in the Country. It has a prologue by Michael Holroyd which is amusing and gives interesting insight into the author. The novel itself is quite short and written in a very English style. It’s widely praised and was shortlisted for the Booker, and I expect to love it but I’m not quite there yet.
The hockey and basketball championship finals continue. St. Louis was blown out by Boston in Game 3 but recovered to win at home in Game 4, so the series is tied at 2-2. The Warriors recovered from their very flat opening game (and Toronto was very good) and that series is tied 1-1. It was great to see a Finals opener in Canada. Go Canada! But not to the point of beating the Warriors. Sorry, Canada and Drake.
We watched the first two episodes of Good Omens on Amazon Prime. Most enjoyable. Witty and sometimes a bit too on-the-nose but definitely recommended.
Lists as far as the eye can see. If I don’t write everything down I’ll never get it done, and a bunch of stuff has to get done before we leave.
Since we are doing a walking holiday, we thought it might be a good idea to actually prepare, as in … exercise. Which I haven’t been doing much of for the last few months. Luckily I’m still somewhat fit, and we have a canyon across the street that provides miles of hiking trails.
We are also carrying our stuff with us; we’re going minimal with large daybacks and planning to wash out stuff at night. We did a test run of packing and got our weight down to 15 lbs. Then we threw the loaded packs in the car and went out and walked for an hour on a local trail (some ups and downs but not too much). They feel comfortable and we should be OK. We’ll keep doing this until we leave next week. I’m feeling less apprehensive about walking for hours now.
One of the dilemmas we’ve been confronting is what kind of electronics to take. Needless to say, they add a lot to the weight. I’ve decided not to take a computer (I’m walking, not working!), but I am going to take a smartphone so that I’m not completely electronics-challenged. So the mostly dumbphone is being retired for a while. I fired up the smartphone and discovered a big Android update waiting for me. Oh yay. It’s weird to have a computer in my hand again, and I have to work to avoid looking at it too much.
Conference calls! Advising meetings via phone! Guests arriving in both houses! Socializing on the weekend! And Home Depot. Pray for me.
But also reading, exercising, and eating well. So all in all, a decent week ahead.