I'm hanging out on the Internet till midnight to see if the MTA is going to strand me in Brooklyn tomorrow. I love my job, but the prospect of having a whole day at home to read manuscripts, write letters, and in general work in my pajamas -- on a Friday when we're supposed to have freezing rain all day -- is so enticing that I feel like a kid watching it snow the night before a big test: Oh please, oh please . . . So until the clock strikes twelve:
- Live in New York? Come join the world's largest snowball fight! This is a serious thing -- the next time it snows, a guy named Jonathan Rosen wants to break the Guinness World Record for the World's Largest Snowball Fight by gathering more than 2,473 people in Prospect Park for an all-out war. You can read the New York Daily News article about it here; see the guy's craigslist posting on it here; and sign up to participate by e-mailing brooklynsnowballfight at gmail dot com. (Thanks to my friend Liz Mills for sending this on.)
- The Carleton Alumni National Trivia Contest will be February 26. Mark your calendars.
- I am going to Edinburgh for New Year's (Hogmanay) with my dear friend Katy, there to drink whiskey, dance in the streets, and maybe even eat haggis! Alas, I'm going to miss the Viking ship burning in the Shetland Isles (a Celtic New Year's tradition Katy and I reenacted at Carleton during our senior year, except our ship was six inches long, made of paper, and floating in a cake pan), as that doesn't take place till January 30; but I daresay I shall shout "Up-Helly-A!" nonetheless.
- Along similar lines, I bought a bottle of honey mead the other day called "Ragnar's Reserve*", and below, after the asterisk: "As if Ragnar had any reservations." Hee.
Also, tomorrow -- soon to be today -- December 16, is Jane Austen's 230th birthday. Here are some ways to mark the occasion:
- If you love someone, look deeply into his or her eyes and say, "In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings can no longer be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you."
- Along the same lines, if you disapprove of someone, say, "I send no compliments to your mother" or "Badly done!"
- If you write something, honor the eighteenth-century style by ensuring every sentence includes (a) a semicolon, (b) an adverb, (c) more than two clauses, or (d) all of the above.
- Refer to all specific locations as "-------," as in "-----ville," "-----burg," or "------ City."
- Go country dancing.
- Wear an Empire-waist dress, or a pair of breeches and a topcoat. (If you choose the latter option, practice flipping your tails aside before you sit down -- done right, it's incredibly sexy (cf. Guy what's-his-name in "The Count of Monte Cristo").)
- Hold a Jane Austen film festival. You can watch the films in chronological order of the novels (S&S, P&P, MP, E, & P) or in ascending quality (MP, E, P&P, P, and S&S, if you're asking me, though the last two are pretty much a tie); or you could watch all existing adaptations of one particular novel; or you could just watch the proposal/letter/kiss/"Brother and sister? No indeed"/wet shirt/Look scenes repeatedly.
- Recognize a grave error, prejudice, foolishness, blindness, or rudeness on your part; vow to reform; and do so.
- Read her precursors: Samuel Johnson, Samuel Richardson, Fanny Burney, Ann Radcliffe.
- Read her descendants: E. M. Forster, Georgette Heyer, Patrick O'Brian (whose own birthday was Monday the 12th), Helen Fielding, J. K. Rowling.
- Or the most obvious, and always a great pleasure: Read her.
12:13 a.m. No news. Ah well, I'll go to bed, and we'll go from there. Happy Jane Austen's birthday, everyone!