Sunday, January 3, 2016

Boulder, Bourbon, and the Infinite Winter

The hike was fantastic.

Yesterday, I celebrated year 46 with a hike in the Boulder foothills, and a truly memorable bourbon experience. After a nice, but somewhat slick and snowy hike up Boulder's Mesa Trail, my wife and daughter and I piddled around Boulder while my middle-school math wizard son attended a session of the Colorado Math Circle. It turned out to be a rather fortuitous day.

The original plan was to have lunch at the reknowned Dushanbe Tea House followed by a stroll along the Boulder Creek Trail and the Pearl Street Mall. But, alas, we arrived at Dushanbe too late for a table because on Saturdays they are generally pretty booked for afternoon tea. On Pearl Street we debated lunch or happy hour at a few favorites: Brasserie Ten Ten, L'Atelier, The Med. But a random chance browsing the window at Japango on Pearl Street caught our whimsy ... and I am ever so thankful for the fortuitous diversion.

Japango is a sleek, modern, inviting sushi restaurant on Pearl Street with an engaging happy hour. We enjoyed calamari and rolls, a bento box for my daughter, and some truly delicious grilled brussel sprouts. For drinks we enjoyed their house-made sangria - which was fun for a Japanese-themed placed. But everything changed when I browsed the extensive drink menu and ran across three words - Pappy Van Winkle. For the bourbon lovers out there, you'll understand. If not, let me just say this is one of the more coveted bourbons, and I've never been able to lay my hands on a bottle. A single pour ranged from $20 - $65, and I had to take a chance.

It was all that.

This morning I woke to all sorts of interesting tidbits in the Sunday Denver Post - but this is the one that caught my eye, and I will write more about soon:  "Infinite Jest book club tackles the big tome on its 20th anniversary."

But for anyone who made a resolution to read ambitiously in 2016, this might be the Year of Glad — glad you will finally read this brick of a book that tackles themes from entertainment to tennis to drug addiction and the Quebec separatist movement. At the end of January, a local bibliophile will launch an online book club dedicated to tackling the tome over 13 weeks, together, called Infinite WinterIt's a reboot of an online book club for "Infinite Jest" that drew people into the 1,000-plus page book during the summer of 2009, Infinite Summer. Mark Flanagan of Lafayette joined that book club. "It was a huge phenomenon, and I don't think I would have gotten through 'Infinite Jest' without Infinite Summer."  For Infinite Winter, Flanagan also looked to artists when he sought out guides for the book club. (One of the six guides will write a post a day every week at "We really have an all-star cast, plus me," Flanagan said. He'll also have guest bloggers.) Nathan Seppelt sketches scenes from the book and posts one a day at his Instagram, Drawing Infinite JestRyan Blanck crafts scenes from LegosCorrie Baldauf's project explores color in "Infinite Jest." Jenni Baker's Erasing Infinite project pulls poems out of each page of the book by erasing most, but not all, of the page's words. And Dave Laird runs a podcast about the David Foster Wallace, The Great Concavity.

And, I am all in on this one. I've wanted to dig into David Foster Wallace's magnum opus for years. But, like I learned with the works of Thomas Pynchon, we can all use some help with these brilliant pieces. So, I bought my copy of Infinite Jest today, and I am ready to dive into a wonderful intricate challenge, and a really cool idea, brought to us by writer Mark Flanagan.

Thanks, Mark. Looking foward to the read.

No comments: