so let me tell you about the new year.
first of all: J. D. Salinger turned 90 (corrected: both age and link)this year, and here is a lovely little article about how he changed the short story. although this author for the times disparages salinger's spiritualism, i think that this element in salinger's is what makes certain stories great "coming of age" novels. my coming of age novel: look homeward, angel by the early twentieth century modernist thomas wolfe. a massive tome of stream of consciousness writing given to me at nine years old by a friend of the family who i called uncle. i didn't finish reading the novel until i was 18 or 19, but now it's one of my favorites.
second: oregon's pretty progressive. minimum wage here has now been elevated to $8.40 per hour. and even more progressive, the smoking ban is finally in effect. you can't even smoke in a bar here. this means i won't wake up in the morning wondering what that horrible smell is until i find the clothes i wore the night before on the floor reeking of cigarette ash. booth and i went to the blue diamond last night to have dinner and so that he could watch the alabama game, and after a few minutes i was suddenly struck. hey! my eyes were watering, the place didn't smell like an ashtray, i wasn't going to smell like an ashtray when i walked out. it was amazing. certainly there must be a lot of grouchy people out there who have to smoke outside by the front door in the cold, but at least it doesn't get too cold here in portland. and luckily, there were still plenty of people gambling last night, so hopefully the smoking ban won't cause the state economy to collapse after all.
third: yesterday morning, with arctic blast 2008 a week behind us, i thought we were about to see the beginning of arctic blast 2009. when i walked outside to unchain my bike, the scary man who lives in the basement apartment walked out and said, "snow again, huh?" i had no idea what he was talking about until i turned around and saw ne flanders blanketed in snow yet again. i sighed and set off to work on my bicycle since it wasn't even cold out. the bike ride was a little miserable however. while the snow lay over the ground, the atmosphere was warm enough that as snow as the tires of my bicycle rode over the white ground the snow instantly turned to water which splashed over me. luckily, i was smart enough to wear my rain suit, which is now covered in grime from the dirt and sand that the city threw down to help driving in the snow last week, but my feet were still soaked by the time i got to the office.