I started this blog a few years back partly to begin blogging my way through books and movies. I recently resumed blogging partly as a way to satisfy the desire to narrate my movements through my life, in an effort to find meaning and dramatic shape to it all. Sometimes I feel a little like that Borges story, the one about making a really accurate map. I want to write it all down, but doing so would leave no time to actually live.
So, for example, I want to write at some length about my FAA knowledge test, how I was stung by a mediocre final exam at ground school, how I vowed to improve at the real exam, and how I did so by dint of six days of concentrated study with the aid of flash cards, and how I scored 57 correct out of 60, but was still left unhappy because two of the questions I missed were on the same petty topic of properly filling out a flight plan, a topic that had not been present in my prep materials.
So I have unlocked the first of three necessary achievements before I will have a private pilot license. A medical exam and a minimum of 40 hours of flight training await.
Book I just finished: Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman. This much raved-over title by the Nobel Prize-winning behavioral economist was a curious slog for me. Individual chapters were very interesting, but as a single volume it felt like a string of lectures–greatest hits from a distinguished career–than a coherent argument. But I must say I learned a good deal, not least that in making choices that are intended to enhance our future happiness, we tend to overestimate the pleasure we derive from toys and discount the happiness that is drawn out over time by committing oneself to a hobby, an activity, a skill, a regular source of social interaction.
I hope that by managing to write regularly, I’ll have a feeling of satisfaction years from now, a feeling that I lived an intentional, thoughtful, and examined life.
I would like to write down some terms I learned from this book, but I am getting tired and must do some Spanish before going to bed.
Two movies I saw this weekend
La La Land, with two very charming actors and a slender story. Although I enjoyed the experience of watching it–in the fourth row, no less, where Emma Stone’s teeth seemed 3 feet tall–the magic that was promised was mostly undelivered. There was nothing that took my breath away and made me want to watch again, like in the not dissimilar but far superior Mulholland Dr.
45 Years. Courtenay and Rampling in a movie about an older couple whose 45-year marriage comes completely unglued with the arrival of a letter from overseas. Great, powerful, profound stuff.
YouTube video I watched
Evidently Mariah Carey made a fool of herself on national TV, performing during a New Year’s Eve special. I’ve never been a fan, but I tracked down this very early interview with her. She and I are the same age, and we were in New York City at the same time here, in 1990.
I didn’t go out last night for New Year’s Eve. If I had, I definitely wouldn’t have run into Antonio Gramsci, especially since he’s dead.
Events like New Year’s Eve are less appealing when one has quit drinking. Besides, I needed to rest up. A big year is ahead.