The Soul-Sucking Bliss of Material Possessions

Have spent the past few days taking care of things around the house, and preparing for the arrival of a couple of new things. Just this morning I had the pleasure of spending an hour or so with the exceptionally talented Matt Van Heulen of Clear Advantage Mechanical, who got my air conditioner up and running just in time for (apparently) the Earth to plunge into the sun. I kid you not: I saw at least one dog burst into flames while being walked along my street this afternoon. Right now outside: 94 degrees and miserably humid. Right now inside: 78 degrees and dry.

On Wednesday I will receive my new (first,only) washer and dryer, which means no more trips to the laundromat. I think I will miss it, just a bit. Sunday morning is a fine time of day to be alone in a crowd with a notebook and a novel. Before I get those things up and running I get to play in the exciting world of installing a 240v line in my basement, hopefully without making myself smell like cooked bacon.

I just finished re-reading the Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson. When the books came out a couple of years ago, they were published at six-month intervals, so I read them at six-month intervals. A lot of the small details — and there were manymanymany small details — were lost. Having just read them (2700 pages!) back to back, I discovered that, taken in total, the Cycle is one of the finest stories I have ever read. If you have a couple of months to spare, I highly recommend putting forth the effort.

Last Sunday I took a break from Stephenson and read the latest installment in the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind: Phantom. It is a decently good book. Not Goodkind’s best work, but far from his worst. He seemed to reach his nadir a couple of volumes back, using his work as a platform for his political views at the expense of the story he had been telling. With the last two books he is back on track. Definitely worth picking up in paperback, or hardcover if you are a die-hard fan.

The big giant work project wound up today, which means relatively low-stress days for the next couple of weeks until the next big thing lands on me.

Time to go to the beach.

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