Currently Reading: Macworld and Time and National Geographic. Sorry, but expecting my flu-smeared brain to follow along with actual narratives right now is just a little too much to ask. (Though I'm genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed National Geographic. I haven't read the magazine in years, but I found the articles in the latest issue really fascinating. And of course the photography is stunning, but no surprise there. I particularly liked the writeups of all the "-Stan"s -- Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, etc. A much-needed look around the world for a spoiled, lazy American who's got things way too good for her own damn good.)

Currently Listening To: Motorhead, NuJudas Priest, and other fine selections from the Bride of Chucky soundtrack.

Oh, shut up.

Currently Tickled About:

Awwwww! Thank you! (More in the entry.)





Notes From The Half-Dead Zone.

Another photo from Snow Day. Because I like how it looks, and because I haven't taken other pictures since then, and because I'm fondly remembering the days when I was healthy enough to play in the snow and it wasn't SEVENTY GODDAMN DEGREES IN JANUARY ... ahem. Don't mind me.

Portrait of a silly person: Monday night a week ago, I was sitting on the sofa and I thought "Hmmm ... I think I might be getting a sore throat." For some reason, the idea didn't bother me. Maybe I'd spend the next day curled up in a ratty blanket on the sofa, sipping tea, watching "ER" reruns and soaps, swallowing some Advil. Nothing wrong with a little enforced rest, right? It was like Bart Simpson wanting to get the flu: We're getting an order to let the virus win.

Well, the virus won. Did it ever. It hit with the force of a freaking runaway train -- I woke up in the middle of the night aching and shivering and got up long enough on Tuesday morning to call in sick. I missed Wednesday, too. I actually went to work on Thursday during what must have been an "eye of the storm" period when I believed myself to be on the mend. My supervisor gave me a semi-stern lecture telling me he didn't want me at work if I didn't feel well -- nothing that important was going on anyhow, and if I needed to leave early or stay home on Friday I should do it.

(If I haven't said so lately, my supervisor these days is a terrific guy. Night and day from the way my supervisors treated me at my last job -- "Gee, we're bummed you're developing MS and all but why haven't you finished work on that portfolio yet, you lazy sack of crap?")

And sure enough, by Friday the Martian Death Flu had worked its way down into my throat and chest so I called in sick. Again. I couldn't breathe without exploding into painful coughs. My voice would have been a husky, fetching growl if it didn't hurt so much to speak at an audible level. I missed the memorial service for Uncle Phil this weekend, so I've got Rotten Niece Guilt on top of wondering if I'm ever going to feel human again. I've got a ton of unreplied-to e-mail waiting in my inbox, including some very kind messages from people about my uncle, because I've only been on the Net very briefly in the past week.

(As you can see, my ability to whine incessantly hasn't been affected at all.)

If I can make it through the hour or so of convulsive coughing that hits me each morning, I should be okay to go back to work tomorrow. And I'm so sick of being cooped up in here and so stuffed full of horrible daytime TV that work actually seems like an exciting prospect. Woohoo.

Random Babble: I got word today that this entry, my rant about the whole Oprah Winfrey/Jonathan Franzen dustup from last fall, is a finalist for Best Rant in this round of the Diarist Awards. I'm tickled. I needed some good news. Hmm ... the last time I made it to the Diarist Award finalists, it was for Best Rant as well. I see a trend here.

As a follow-up to that entry, and because I've gotten a couple of questions about it, I did read The Corrections. I read it shortly after I wrote that, in fact. And my objective opinion of the novel is a studied "(shrug) Eh."

Though it galls me to admit it, I didn't hate the book. Franzen can write, damn him. My biggest gripe with The Corrections is that it just felt unfocused and sprawling to me. I found parts of it beautifully written and evocative and can't-put-it-down excellent. I found other parts of it deadly dull, and yet other parts really lurid in a Jackie Collins kind of way. I thought the ending felt false and rushed, as if Franzen wasn't sure just how to tie up all these diverse plots and stories he had going. I read it once, started to reread it, and lost interest. I enjoyed it but nothing inspired me to want to read it again.

But what do I know? Apparently The Corrections has racked up scads of awards since then, including the National Book Award. (I've seen that seal replacing the Shameful Mark of Oprah on the book cover. I assume Franzen isn't all bent out of shape and conflicted over that one.) Which goes to show you two things: 1. Oprah made a pretty good pick despite being the bane of book snobs everywhere, didn't she? and 2. My B.A. in English Lit notwithstanding, I don't know what the blue hell I'm talking about.

But you folks already knew that.

The next entry.

Previously, in Insomniaville...

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