Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that Thanks to Eclectic Alli for hosting this Weekend Coffee Share. I’d tell you that I started the pilot episode for a sitcom I want to submit to Act One’s Upfront event, which I hope to submit for 2019. It’s an idea I’ve had for a while so I’m glad to have that push to start it.

I’d mention that I had another interview with the library I interviewed with a couple weeks ago. They changed the job a bit so a different librarian needed to interview me. I think it went well. Alas, it’s still just a part time position, but it is a good library. I’ll find out by tomorrow.

It’s snowed twice last week and yesterday it stuck for quite a while. This is quite unusual. In fact, many years we get one snow before Christmas and it’s rare that we have the proverbial White Christmas. I’m afraid this winter will be rough.

I went to a reception for University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana Alums. The new Chancellor seems to be doing more outreach. I’m a new alum so I didn’t realize this was a change. The event was held at a nearby country club and they had a wonderful food: hot appetizers, a buffet with pizzas, flatbreads and roasted vegetables, another buffet with cheeses, hummus and breads and finally a dessert table with dozens of tempting pastries. They had a full bar and servers walked around with wines. I met some interesting people who studies Business, Liberal Arts and Engineering. I didn’t seen anyone else from iSchool, but there were over 400 guests so that’s no surprise. The Chancellor, head of athletics and another administrator gave speeches on how U of I plans to grow.  I learned the Illinois chant, which I hadn’t heard since I was an online student and I learned that no other Big 10 school has more Nobel Prize Winners.

Today I start a part time retail job that will prevent me from dipping into my savings. I have training today and tomorrow. I’m eager to get my schedule since other than one event, I haven’t made any plans. I’d like to be free to make a dental appointment or say yes to some friends’ invitations.

I enjoyed the film The Southerner and think it would be a good film for a history class. It’s a little bit like The Grapes of Wrath, but there was some hope for the future.

Yesterday I attended the NanoWriMo Write In at my library. I’m not doing NanoWriMo this year as I want to do revisions and start another project, but I enjoy the esprit de corps of writing with other local writers. I won a prize for a writing sprint. I missed a few people who normally turn up to these things. I did notice that there’s a smaller group compared to last year.

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Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I enjoyed being an election judge again and I’d urge you to try it. It’s a long day, and though you’re paid, if you divide by the hour it’s not a lot. Still it’s a necessary role to fill so that we can all vote. I met some interesting people and got to see the election up close.

I’d report that most of the trees have lost their leaves and that it’s as cold as it usually is in December (i.e. in the 20°s). Last Thursday we had a couple inches of snow. I’m wondering if this portends a rough winter.

I’d tell you that I’ve been wrapped up in Masterpiece’s series Poldark, which will finish next Sunday. The writing is nail-biting as the characters’ are all taken to the brink of disaster, some over the brink. I only wish it ran for more than 8 weeks.

I’d tell you that I loved Kurosawa’s adaptation of Dostoevsky’s The Idiot. The film is beautiful and moving. There’s emotional depth, which made me care about even the gruff characters.

Yesterday since it has been cold, I prepared fondue for my brother and his family. It was a fun cold night dinner.

Thanks to Eclectic Alli for hosting this Weekend Coffee Share.

Notes from the Underground

Yesterday I attended my library’s Great Books discussion. We talked about Fyodor Doestoevsky’s Notes from the Underground is a troubling book to read but a terrific book to discuss. The narrator is neurotic or possibly psychotic. He introduces himself saying:

“I am a sick man… I am a spiteful man. I am an unpleasant man. I think my liver is diseased. However, I don’t know beans about my disease, and I am not sure what is bothering me. I don’t treat it and never have, though I respect medicine and doctors. Besides, I am extremely superstitious, let’s say sufficiently so to respect medicine. (I am educated enough not to be superstitious, but I am.) No, I refuse to treat it out of spite. You probably will not understand that. Well, but I understand it. Of course I can’t explain to you just whom I am annoying in this case by my spite. I am perfectly well aware that I cannot “get even” with the doctors by not consulting them. I know better than anyone that I thereby injure only myself and no one else. But still, if I don’t treat it, its is out of spite. My liver is bad, well then– let it get even worse!” 

Part One of the story continues with this tone as the narrator, whose name we never learn, rants and raves about society. He’s a 40-something civil servant who delights in being rude to the public he’s supposed to serve. (Haven’t we seen those types in government offices and private sector customer service desks?) He has no filter and like a Russian Trump will call a spade a spade, the stupid, stupid.

In Part Two, Doestoevsky switches from a monologue to a narrative and goes back in time to when the narrator was 20. He’s (no big surprise) alienated from his peers, unhappy with the world, which fails to see how brilliant he is, and manages to misread every social situation and make problems spread and grow.

Now why would anyone want to read about such a misanthrope?

The answer’s because Doestoevsky makes us think and delights us with fine prose. He poses interesting questions:

“And why are you so firmly, so triumphantly, convinced that only the normal and the positive–in other words, only what is conducive to welfare–is for the advantage of man? Is not reason in error as regards advantage? Does not man, perhaps, love something besides well-being? Perhaps he is just as fond of suffering? Perhaps suffering is just as great a benefit to him as well-being? Man is sometimes extraordinarily, passionately, in love with suffering, and that is a fact.”

His book still is relevant as it shows the shortcomings of “enlightened self-interest” or rational egoism, philosophies that aren’t quite dead, that fail to show the need for sacrifice and empathy and the limits of rationality on its own.