The first place I'm not going is Comicon, which is kind of a shame and kind of not.
I even have a free place to stay in San Diego, which I plan to take advantage of at some point, but this isn't that point.
Comicon is a mandatory stop for people in at least some corners of the comics trade, but, in terms of fun places to be, I gather it's sort of like Mardi Gras or Grateful Dead concerts: If you didn't get there before it became well-known, you missed it.
That's not snobbery; it's just that the thing has become Brobdingnagian and, in the words of Yogi, "Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded."
You can follow the action, however, at The Comics Reporter and Comic Riffs, which will give you the Eisner Award news and summaries of the major panels, while I'm sure Facebook will provide plenty of look-who-I-ran-into and cosplayer pics.
Daily Cartoonist blogger Alan Gardner, by contrast, is using the inevitable lull in web traffic to visit Yellowstone with his kids. I like kids, I love Yellowstone, I hate crowds.
I'm all in favor of his plan.
Here's the other place I'm not going, courtesy of Dan Thompson.
I've read Dubliners and Portrait multiple times and Ulysses twice, once on my own and once under the tutelage of a professor who was Professor Kingsfield before Professor Kingsfield had been invented.
In that latter case, it was senior year and, while I had great affection for the fellow personally, his crusty-curmudgeon schtick was wearing a bit thin, and I was certainly old enough to recognize the inherent disconnect of a conservative Catholic who considered Joyce the greatest writer of all times.
Which is to say that he was very good at parsing the classical references in Joyce, but became infuriated at my notion of a repressed homosexual attraction between Bloom and Dedalus.
Rather good, I think, for both of us that I graduated well before Brenda Maddox's biography of Nora Barnacle revealed Joyce's colorful (chiefly brown and yellow) fetishes, because I certainly would have brought them up and he certainly would have failed me for it.
As it was, he was most displeased with a paper I wrote in which I said that Ulysses was not a great novel because it was, rather, a great puzzle, and that you could no more describe it as a "novel" than you could describe the Statue of Liberty as a "building," though they each shared functional and superficial aspects of those things.
Like Mr. Hart in "The Paper Chase," however, I did have a begrudging respect and even affection for the old bugger and chose him as one of the two readers for my senior project, which was the second draft of a novel I knew he would hate even if I had written it well. (He did, I hadn't. He said many things I needed to hear.)
In any case, Ulysses was enough of a puzzle and I never had any urge to delve into the more purposefully enigmatic world of the Wake. Here's a contemporaneous take on it which is kind of fun because it's TIME Magazine and, after all, what other magazine would be ridiculous and prideful enough to attempt to explain Finnegan's Wake within a week of its publication?
It's a shame Joyce didn't live long enough to return to Ireland and see the grafitto I spotted over the urinal in a pub washroom there which read "Don't look here: The joke is in your hands."
He could have worked that into a sly, scatalogical reference to anyone reading an article that claimed to have understood his book within a decade of its publication, never mind a week.
Or maybe just to anyone seen walking around with an ostentatiously visible copy of the book itself.
In the words of yet another wise old man, "Fap!"