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My Year That Wasn’t

As the year winds down and folks wax retrospective about the events of the past 12 months, I’ve compiled my own list of interesting things that I failed to do/read/accomplish in 2013, and hope to remedy in the New Year.
  • I stumbled across this blog, http://ayearofreadingtheworld.com/ just a few weeks ago.  This estimable woman read a book from every independent country in the world.  That’s an example I’d dearly love to emulate, though I suspect I will just read her book about having done it. I’ll keep you posted.
  • Spin a novel out of the following  New York Times headline;  Spies Infiltrate a Fantasy Realm of Online Games. I have had no previous inclination toward fiction writing, but this story writes itself. Here’s the first line.  “Not limiting their activities to the earthly realm, American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and scooping up data in the online games played by millions of people across the globe, according to newly disclosed classified documents.”
  • Understand how the age of Big Data (apparently the age in which we live) will affect the way in which books are acquired. The Atlantic had a creepy article–particularly disturbing for its forced  optimism–that looks at the way companies can mine Big Data to make better hiring decisions.  If acquisition of personnel can be better left to an algorithm than a manager, will books follow…
  • Learn to caulk and grout. Because my bathroom demands it, and how hard can it be?
  • Come up with a gift idea like these “Library Candles.” http://www.amazon.com/Paddywax-Candles-Library-Collection-Tangerine/dp/B00BJ5ZAYQ/ref=pd_sim_hg_5 Believe it or not, you can buy a scented candle which, according to its creators, has been carefully created to evoke the works of such literary greats as Leo Tolstoy (Black Plum, Persimmon, Oakmoss) Edgar Alan Poe (Cardamom, Absinthe and Sandalwood) or Charles Dickens (Tangerine Juniper and Clove). Clearly, they are shooting for Dickens of A Christmas Carol, and not say, Dickens of Hard Times or Oliver Twist (Gruel, Bootblack, Coal Dust) or Great Expectations (Moldy Wedding Cake, Prison Ship, Burning Bridal Gown). Obviously certain author candles would not be legal. I’m thinking of you Thomas De Quincy.

What scented candle would you add to the collection?

2 Responses to My Year That Wasn’t

  1. Grouting is not hard. I learned how to do it in a day. Though it is labor-intensive. There’s plenty of how-to videos on YouTube.

  2. Kevin A. Lewis says:

    I wouldn’t get too paranoid about Big Data-it was invented by people for a variety of mixed motives, and is dangerous mainly in as far as it can be used by corporate system-gamers to shuffle their workloads elsewhere and deflect blame from their own doorsteps. This affects book acquisition of course, but it’s just another tool in the same old bag of tricks, and all the more reason you need to connect with actual people as opposed to a set of supposedly watertight policies attached to a Mission Statement. At the end of the day, corporate fads are still going to be corporate fads-often ratified but seldom repealed. The main thing that makes this tough is the farther away from any real-world profit incentives any given outfit is, (using Big Data cost-derivative spreadsheets to justify frivolous decisions, for example) the harder it is to sell them a Coming Idea. But then, keeping ahead of these guys is kind of your job, I guess.

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