By all rights and purposes, this should be on the book page. However, since it’s not part of a list – YET – I’m including it here on its own.

This morning, I decided to switch things up and grab a book I’ve already read but read a long time ago. I wanted something I could polish off between the train ride to work and the train ride home. I might’ve succeeded, except for the fact that I napped during the train ride in.

The book: “Moon Palace” by Paul Auster.

It’s a fairly slim volume – just 307 pages. It reads rather quickly and I remembered within reading the first two pages why I like Paul Auster’s writing so much and why I own his “New York Trilogy”, “Mr. Vertigo”, and “The Book of Illusions.” That’s not his entire catalog of work, but those are the ones I own and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them all.

In a nutshell, “Moon Palace” is the story of a young man named Marco Stanley Fogg. He’s orphaned at a fairly young age during the sixties and spends his childhood with an eccentric uncle who leaves him an inheritance of 1,492 books which, due to lack of other resources, Fogg uses as furniture in his apartment while attending Columbia. I don’t want to give away the whole plot, but let me mention some key points – he becomes a homeless person, a caretaker for a codgerly and curmudgeonly old man, finds his father – who never knew he existed, falls in love, and retraces his grandfather’s steps to a hermit cave out west.

Trust me – I’m not giving it the treatment it deserves, but it’s so wonderful to rediscover this. The story is still familiar to me, but it’s just sort of comforting to re-read it and still like it as much as I did the first time… or even more since I’m catching things I perhaps did not catch the first time.

Ha! 6-10″ of snow in Northwest New Jersey overnight. I might not have work tomorrow. I will call the emergency weather hotline in the morning and see. I already spoke with my boss today and she urged me that if we DO have work, not to risk anything in getting into the office – that if the weather is crappy, I should just stay put.

I have just 48 pages left, so I’m going to finish re-reading this and then watch “Picnic at Hanging Rock”, another current Netflix rental. The Netflix synopsis is:

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, teachers at an austere Australian boarding school take a group of students on an outing to the mysterious Hanging Rock. Soon after the party starts, the headmistress and three girls go exploring and mysteriously disappear. One week later, a sole survivor returns to school — with hardly any memory of the incident. Peter Weir’s haunting tragedy alludes to several explanations but offers no clear-cut answers.

Sounds a little “Heavenly Creatures”-esque. It’s a Criterion Collection title, so it will also be interesting to see the treatment they give it in the added features and commentary. The menu music is good, so that’s a promising thing already, if you recall my entry from many moons ago about DVD menu music.

I also have to register for my graduate school courses. Finally! My friend Vin was also accepted to the same distance learning program, so we’re going to register for the same courses and sort of create our own ‘classroom’ environment in terms of discussion and such, though I doubt we’ll be hanging out and studying together. I have plenty of time; he has virtually none.

This is quite possibly one of the greatest benefits of being a single person – the amounts of time that become available to pursue your personal desires and dreams when you don’t have to involve another person in your life. You don’t have to feel obligated to accommodate TWO schedules and TWO families/groups of friends and TWO yearly/monthly/weekly/daily routines. Honestly, any coupled person has this freedom, too, but it comes at a price because the other half of a couple isn’t always willing to cede that sort of control and allow for the time to go unfettered by responsibility and “togetherness.” There are some couples that are great like this and both function as single people who happen to be together… that’s the ideal, methinks.

I am drinking hot chocolate that I flavored with some amaretto coffee syrup stuff. It’s lovely. Mmmm. My father, of course, started in on me about the caloric content of hot cocoa, but the fact is that I make it with hot water and skim milk, I don’t like it very sweet so a packet of hot chocolate mix in twice as much liquid as recommended is not too bad, AND it’s not “empty” calories. Hot cocoa, according to recent studies, is richer in antioxidants than red wine or even tea in some cases. I am content with my cocoa. It’s better than a can of diet soda, even if the soda has 1/3 of the calories. At least this is something REAL and warm and vaguely healthful.

If there is spectacular snow tomorrow, rest assured this will become a temporary “photoblog” to capture the loveliness. Otherwise, I’ll just be commuting into work – but possibly taking pictures from the train. That’s sort of spiffy, too.

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