Bloomsday Roundup 

Thursday, June 17, 2004

In 1997, my roommate, Rod, who forced Yasunari Kawabata and Yukio Mishima on me, insisted I read Ulysses.

I managed to reach the end of Chapter 2. Rod couldn't wait for me to read Chapter 16. He demanded I read that chapter right away. I got halfway through Chapter 16.

I did like Ulysses, even if I had to plod along at the pace of a snail rigged to a glacier. The wording was great: it was the first time I came across the word snot in serious literature.

Since reading 2.5 chapters of Ulysses, I've made a point of celebrating Bloomsday every year. Every year I forget the kidney breakfast. (This year - damn it! - I made myself bacon and eggs. By the time I remembered "kidney" the bacon forkful was already in my mouth.)

Despite the woeful beginning of Bloomsday 2004, I was determined to make sure the rest of the day went as planned. I didn't print out the official Bloomsday activity list last night. I thought I could remember to retrace Leopold Bloom's steps.

Read the newspaper while sitting in a port-a-john: I read the newspaper at the kitchen table. 50% completion.

Respond to a personals ad. Encourage the party to believe you are someone other than who you are: Checked out the job ads, didn't respond to any of them. 10% completion.

Purchase an erotic novel (written by an author whose name is a double-entendre): Borrowed Steinbeck's The Pearl from the library. The power of the imagination can produce eroticism out of thin air. Plus, John Steinbeck, John, a John is a the recipient of a prostitute's services, ah ha! Double entendre! 60% completion.

Ogle naked statuary in a local museum: I cop a glance at myself semi-naked in a changing room this afternoon. 30% completion.

Go to the library with a cake of lemon-scented soap in your back pocket: Yes! I did go to the library! Yes! My deodorant is lemon-scented! Points lost for not applying deodorant to back pocket. 90% completion.

If possible, attend a funeral with some friends. While en route to the cemetery, tell a story about a coffin falling out of a hearse: I read about ancient burial mounds over breakfast. 1% completion.

Attempt to have lunch in a local eatery; don't let loud munching or querulous old-timers intrude upon your enjoyment of a grilled cheese sandwich and a glass of port wine: I skipped lunch; dinner, however, involved cheese and a sandwich-like contraption. 20% completion.

Visit a newspaper office or sell an advertisement: I read the paper. 0% completion.

Visit an obstetrical hospital or a pregnant friend: I read a comic about some government thug kicking a pregnant woman in the stomach. She wasn't hospitalized. 10% completed.

Arrange to have Italian language lessons given in your home by someone half your age: I watched a documentary about a man who gave computer lessons in his home. 15% completed.

Watch children playing on the beach. If possible, stay for fireworks: There were children playing on the beach in the documentary. I watched them. 50% complete.

Visit a brothel with some drunken medical students: I read about early cases of syphilis in medieval England. 7% complete.

Hallucinate: Cockroaches. Everywhere. 100% complete.

Stay up until at least 4 o'clock in the morning, discussing a wide range of topics (including astronomy) with a casual acquaintance for whom you have developed a strange affinity: It is 2:03 AM now. I am discussing my day with you, strangers. Stars remind me of bright shiny objects. Do you like stars? 99% complete.

Go to sleep nestled like a spoon with your head at your mate's feet: I've been thinking about him all day and I shall go to bed and think about his feet some more. 98% complete.

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