February 2, 2012: Is Spring Really Here?

Medifast Status: Day 275, Down ~74.5lbs (26lbs to go)

We stayed up late and I am paying the price for it today.  I am very tired and dragging heavily.  Dominica is really tired too.  It is going to be a long day.

The weather is a little cooler today but still pretty nice.  I cannot believe that we survived January without any snow at all and only about two days of frost.  Now it is February and we have been having spring weather for a week already.  We have had the windows open and no need for jackets at all.  This is wonderful.  It is odd, though, having no winter at all.  The last two years we have been in Texas but we saw snow and got that “winter feeling” which helps us to mentally reset and remember when it is.

But with zero snow and no freezing temperatures it is pretty hard as a New Yorker to wrap my brain around the fact that it is warming up already.  It just feels wrong.  There is little chance now that we will see any snow this year.  We are past the worst month and it is already so warm that it would be surprising if it went anywhere near snow temperatures after this.

Work was super slow today.  It was great.  I was in the office all day.  Went home for lunch and hung out with Liesl.  Luciana slept through me being home.  Dominica made cauliflower soup which is one of my favourite foods these days.  I love it.  Tastes so rich yet is incredibly light and healthy.

I was able to leave work right at five this evening.  In reality I could have skipped all afternoon and probably no one would have noticed.  It was really that dead.  Very strange.

On my way home this evening I finished reading Jack Kerouac’s American classic “On the Road: The Original Scroll.”  It was a lot longer than it should have been and I must say that, overall, it is one of the worst books that I have ever read.  It is written as if by a third grader who had spent some time serving in the merchant marines.  Funny enough, Kerouac had served in the merchant marines.

The book is not really a story but simply a highly descriptive, but mostly unintelligible, journal about Kerouac and his friend Neal and how they drove across the country several times in the late 1940s.  There is no plot and not a single character that would not have been improved by having been run over by a bus.  Kerouac bounces between being homeless, living in a tent or just being another random loser living in his mother’s basement.  His story generates only the slightest interest because it takes place in the 1940s, an era that I know little about and reading a journal from that period helps to put the world into a little better perspective.  But the journal of an interesting person would probably have been a lot better.

How “On the Road” became a classic I will never know.  Why anyone published it, again, I have no idea.  The book is considered the foundation of the beat movement and later the hippy movement.  But as the book is nothing but a journal about losers Kerouac and Neal Cassady and doesn’t portray them as anything but the most unflattering light and makes everything about them as poignantly pathetic as bad prose can do it is confusing how this tome could have influenced anything.  Not only does the book point out what losers these two were and the circle of friends that they had but it is also written so poorly that the writing style alone points to Kerouac as being completely unprepared even for a high school English course.  Apparently his typing skills were not too bad, however.

What makes Kerouac so sad is that he actually tried to work and even went to college hoping to be a writer.  And this is considered his best work.  There could be no greater insult to a person.

In reading a book like this about figures who were such great influences of counterculture it is amazing to learn that they were really nothing but a few homeless guys with a notepad.  There was no great purpose.  There was no plan.  There was no success.  Kerouac really was just a guy who lived with his mother who sometimes let him ride along on people’s road trips.  If he were alive today he would play World of Warcraft and never see daylight and whine to his mom that they were out of Doritos.  Neal Cassady was a small time criminal and parking lot attendant who couldn’t keep a job.  Both died, as they lived, penniless and pointless.

While I was reading about the book after having finished it, I was saddened to learn that a movie is currently being made about it.  Can any work be less deserving of being retold?  So many great works of literature to bring to the masses and this is what we come up with?

I started reading “Hot Six”, the sixth installment of the Stephanie Plum adventure books.  I need something light and well written in the wake of Kerouac’s madness.  Something coherent would be nice.  I think that Truman Capote described Kerouac best in his seminal quote on Jack: “That’s not writing, that’s typing.”

I did quite a bit of work this evening while we watched Tron: Legacy, the 2010 sequel to the original movie.  The movie was not very engaging and we barely paid attention to it.  It wasn’t bad, just didn’t grab us.  Dominica has never seen the original so that made it even harder for her.  I saw the original when it was new in 1982 and once again probably in the 1990s.  It has been a long time and it was hard to put that plot into perspective with this one.  I think that I have figured out how they two go together but I am still unclear.  It didn’t make much sense.

Off to bed a little early tonight.  I need to catch up for tomorrow.  Tomorrow morning is Non-Farm Payroll so I have to be in the office nice and early.

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