Friday, May 20, 2016

Book 37: Previously, On "Briane":

This was another of the Xanth books I actually had read in the past. This one was published in 1991. I don't have much to say about it this time; Piers Anthony is Piers Anthony. As I was finishing it up last night, Sweetie asked why I liked these books. I said they were sort of escapist reading, a bit in between the more serious stuff I read; it's easy to read books that are just fun and simply written, and some days -- especially this past week -- I'm just not up for heavier reading.

One thing about this book: About the last 1/4 of it is simply a recapping of what's come before in the Xanth series. The book is essentially the history of Good Magician Humfrey, a major character in all the novels, and it tells why he disappeared several years ago.  The basic plot of the book is that Humfrey is telling his life story while waiting for the demon whose magic makes Xanth exist, so that he can bargain to get his wife out of Hell; Humfrey hopes that when he gets to the present, Xanth will have to come deal with him, to avoid Humfrey simply telling his story into the future and saying he got the demon to agree. The latter part of Humfrey's life recounts everything that's happened in Xanth so far, making the final part of the book essentially a "Previously, In Xanth..." that I mostly skipped through.  I suppose if you'd just picked up the series at book 14 it might be helpful, but does anyone do that? It felt like a way to pad out the book.

Anyway, I'm trying now to remember how many of these books I really did read. This one was even less familiar to me than the last couple, but I recalled having read it as I re-read it. Memory -- especially mine -- is a funny thing, although sometimes it bothers me how little I remember of some things; that, I guess, is what being 47 will do: make you worry about things that didn't used to worry you.

One of the things I like to do, though, is to think back to where I was, at a certain time, years ago.  Question Quest was published in October, 1991. I probably would have bought it right away? 1991 was a long time ago, more than half my life.  In October 1991, as near as I can recall, I was living at home, in between schooling for a while. I had gone to UW-Madison for a semester, done horribly, and dropped out because my parents didn't want to help pay for school if I wasn't going to study to be a doctor, and I didn't want to be a doctor.  Two years later, in 1989, I re-enrolled, this time at UW-Waukesha, to study political science. On the 2nd day of the semester I got hit by a drunk driver, and missed that semester because I had to stay in bed for 2 or 3 weeks. Then, the following September I had to have surgery to fuse some vertebrae, so I wouldn't have gone back to school until winter 1990 or fall 1991; I don't remember which it was.

So I'm pretty sure that in fall 1991 I was still living at home, but it was around then that I moved out of the house and moved into an apartment in Milwaukee with two friends. But I probably would have been taking political science classes, and working at a gas station in town, as well as being a college radio DJ on Saturday mornings. 1991 is when I became a Buffalo Bills fan, and started to really like watching football.

Five years later would be October 1996; by then I had moved to Madison and enrolled in law school. This would have been the start of my second year, and would have been about the time my temporary job at the Department of Revenue ended, and I started working at the law firm where Sweetie was a legal secretary.  1996 would be when I started slacking off a bit in my exercise program. I weighed 170 pounds in 1996, and could run 6 miles in about 40 minutes, even though I was still a smoker, back then.

Five years after that in October 2001, we were living in a duplex in Middleton (just outside of Madison), with just the three older kids, no Mr Bunches or Mr F yet. I would have been at my old law firm, having started there a year before. At that time, the Department of Homeland Security was just being set up and Apple had released the iPod.

By October 2006 I'd been a nonsmoker for 2 years. The boys were a month old; I was still at my old firm. Sweetie had just gone back to work at the law firm she'd started working at after moving to Madison, and we would have been getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get everyone ready for school and daycare, then dropped the boys off at 7 to get to work by 8 so that we could leave work by 4:50 to pick up the boys by 5:30 in order to get home at 6, make dinner, do homework, and collapse into bed.  After 6 months of that we decided Sweetie should quit her job and we'd make do.

We're still making do.

In October 2011, I was ending my first year as a partner at my old firm. I had an office on Capitol Square in Madison and had several lawyers working directly for me. I had the year before nearly died twice and had started to run for judge, but ended my campaign after Scott Walker got elected and being a judge became a terrible job.  (Nearly all the county judges who were on the bench when he was elected have since retired.)

In October 2016 I...

to be continued.

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