I’ve got about three more hours of birthday left, but I thought I’d do my traditional wrap-up now due to the massive amount of rainfall, and the resulting high probability of power loss. I turned 33 years old today, and managed to have a good amount of fun with it. One of my favorite improvising musicians, Tom Hamilton, performed a phone-in set for “It’s Too Damn Early” that blew me out of the water. I enjoyed it with my legs propped up, Coke in hand, and the studio monitors at a healthy volume. Although I know otherwise, it wasn’t too much of a mental stretch to imagine myself as the sole listener. It’s a fun conceit, and radio is quite good at providing this sort of mysterious experience. It reminded me of another listener who recently wrote to tell of taking an unscheduled break in his late-night drive to enjoy a drink and the setting moon after accidentally encountering “Sounds Like Radio” in mid-broadcast.

I think it’s important and interesting to let these urges actually move us, so I played along with a couple such miniature adventures today. While record-hunting, I came across a dusty old box of ping-pong equipment. Just the thing for the kitchen table, which ended in a highly-dedicated kids’ cheering section and much left-handed ping-pong action. The hanging light in the kitchen came into play more than once, and the sink appears to be in-bounds as well.

My search for photographic slides did not go as well, despite my unusual Craigslist call for help with making my birthday awesome. I’m still holding out hope for slides!

All this aside, I’ve got some time to myself right now, so I suppose I ought to attempt making some sense out of this year. Earlier, I wasn’t sure I’d really learned anything too important during this trip around the sun, and I suppose that’s true if the only measure of learning is to consider the knowledge one has added to the sum total. However, I think I’ve gotten quite a bit better at figuring out what actually means something to me. If you’ve been following my Litnoise adventure on Twitter, you’re no doubt aware that I’ve been reading a lot of Sinclair Lewis lately. At the end of “Our Mr. Wrenn,” the main character– who has spent much of the book in dreaming of faraway destinations– finds true happiness in a simple, loving relationship. In the closing paragraph, he whistles to himself while carrying home some potato salad. It’s hardly the dramatic tramping about Europe that he envisioned, but it not only works for him, it’s very much a real happiness.

Perhaps, in some ways, I’m finding a bit of myself in Mr. Wrenn. I think that’s nice, since I’ve often found it difficult to find these reflections of myself in others. If I’m finding them in a fictional character from a 1914 novel, that’s quite alright by me. As always, my habit of reading multiple books at once has yielded some especially interesting hybrid trains of thought between Geeta Dayal’s examination of Brian Eno’s “Another Green World” for Continuum’s 33 1/3 series, Patti Smith’s “Just Kids” memoir,” and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s second volume of “The Gulag Archipelago.” I’m not exactly sure where it’s all leading, but I am very pleased to be reading on a regular basis– as a side note, let me tell you that an e-reader definitely helps. I’m rocking three different ones, with multiple books going on each. Try it!

I also need to make a little nod and wave to Anla Courtis’ “Tape Works” album now. I’ve been listening to it a lot in the past couple weeks, just amazed at the simple and assuming work presented within. Listening to it is like being hit over the head with the motto “you can do this”. I think I can– perhaps this coming year will reveal the answer.

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