Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Good and the Not So Great

Hey, look, it's one of those posts where I try to make up for all the posts I didn't make all week. Let's start with good stuff. Wednesday (was it Wednesday? I think it was Wednesday, but I could be wrong) was a very excellent day. I recently got offered a part time position at the place where I'm working as a temp which entails an automatic $3 raise and the possibility of more hours. Then on Wednesday I was offered more hours learning to do something totally new in the lab which will mean I'm working almost full time at a decent wage which is pretty exciting this being the first time I've ever deemed my hourly rate of pay an actually acceptable amount of money. Of course, it will also mean I'll have to juggle some stuff around until I've managed to establish some sort of routine so this whole reading and blogging about reading thing doesn't fall by the wayside. This blog was started when I was unemployed and needed a fun and constructive way to pass the time, which it definitely has turned out to be, so now I just need to figure out how to keep at it (with hopefully slightly more frequency) with much less time than I had when it was begun. Guess I'll have to cut out all those Law and Order re-runs my parents are hooked on and downsize the subscriptions on the feed reader a bit (uh, don't worry anybody, the cuts would most likely entail people who don't know I'm reading their blog in the first place).

So yes, Wednesday was a lovely spring day in which I got offered another nice new job and then came home to find that I was a winner! Amy over at Lives Less Ordinary whose awesome blog is about to celebrate six months of well...awesomeness...held a drawing for all kinds of Scottish goodies. And I won! And I pretty much could not be more excited. I've actually been to Scotland and loved it dearly and would love to return someday, so the prospect of Scottish goodies coming in the mail is simply delightful. If you haven't checked out Amy's blog, you definitely should. Her photos are beautiful and her writing just shines. Her posts at the very least always give me food for thought and they often brighten my day as well!

So there's the good stuff. Onto the not so great.

I've been trying to read this book about the trees (that would be The Wild Trees by Richard Preston). I like trees. I like them a lot. As a matter of fact, several households along our road have recently had trees cut down and removed from their yards for what seems to be no good reason whatsoever and every time I see the wood piles still sitting there massive outpourings of bitterness ensue even though the topic has been quite beaten to death among my family. Nonetheless, I just can't get into this book. I can't decide whether it's because the tree-obsessed people get on my nerves (which is kind of distressing because they are actual people and I start to feel bad that their lives as depicted by Preston just kind of bother me) or because the author seems to be trying to accomplish too much. The book's chapters are divided into sections where a great deal of different tree explorers are introduced often from early childhood, where descriptions of trees and the mechanics of their ecosystems are elaborated on, and where various explorations in search of the tallest or largest living trees are chronicled. Honestly, I don't know what I'm supposed to focus on. The trees? The people? The tree climbing? And having to keep so many things straight just kept making me want to put the book down because I just couldn't seem to get engaged with it when the narrative is bouncing all over the place at what seemed to be random.

The other part of it is probably just me. A part of me wishes I had what the people in this book have, in a way. These people are just living their lives not quite sure what they're doing or how to go about it, but then (as Preston would have us believe) they wake up one morning full of the knowledge that they are not only passionately in love with the idea of exploring redwood canopies but are quite certain that they want to spend their entire lives analyzing a certain type of lichen that makes these gigantic trees possible. That's right, they just wake up one day and know that their life's purpose is lichen! Would that I would wake up one day full of the passion and knowledge that would give me a clue where the path of my life should take me. Just so long as it's not lichen, mmmkay?

Being mildly uninterested and mildly miffed by the content of this book, I have at long last decided to not finish the book. When I look at the book I'm reading and see only a wall standing between me and other books I wish I was reading instead, that's usually a good sign that it's time to give it up. Despite my quibbles with it, I'm sure that this is a perfectly valid piece of narrative non-fiction. I was definitely interested in the parts describing the unusual way in which redwoods grow and even with the climbing experiences of the tree explorers, but it just seems there is a mental block keeping me from getting the most out of this book, so it's on to something new for me!


  1. Congrats on the new job! I hope it works out for you. It's always exciting to get a steady paycheck!

  2. Congrats on the jobs situation! That's great and exciting. I hope it works out well for you and I really do hope you don't disappear completely!

    As for the book - you're making the right choice. If you're having that much of a problem with it, you should let it go. Maybe you can pick it up later. I recently did that with Gilead.


  3. Congratulations on the new job and the extra cash...that's always a good thing. :-)

    You'll adjust your schedule to fit everything in...probably letting something go by the wayside, etc. because it's all about priorities. Do the important things...and more importantly, do the things you enjoy. Life is meant to be enjoyed.

  4. How exciting! Congrats on the new job opportunities!

    And good for you on the book's too short, right?

  5. Thanks all for your congrats and well wishes. The new job is going well even though it couldn't be more ill-suited to me science-phobe that I am. It's nice to use my brain a bit more and make more money, so I can't complain. And I'm still reading and writing in the blog (though my response to comments has been sadly lacking - maybe you've noticed?) so I guess there's hope for me yet!