The sample size is only 41 hours, but December’s been awfully good so far.

I wrote another 16 pages last night (early this morning), bringing December to a startling 8,149 word count (~32.5 pages) in just two overnight sessions, or 45% of the total from the entire last month combined. It appears I’m prepared to take this deadline seriously. Eleven chapters remain in twelve days, so this is no time to get complacent, but I’m feeling quite good about the whole picture as it’s shaping up for the home stretch. For what it’s worth, last night really felt like work, too, which most of this book hasn’t. So maybe the writing will seem forced (though I doubt it from a quick review), but if nothing else it’s a sign I can struggle through not feeling 100% motivated (which I felt the night before). I know I’ve been going on about the writing process a lot lately, but it feels something like a sport… and this month I appear ready to play through any pain that might arise.

Speaking of sports and pain, I turned in perhaps my worst session of basketball in my life on the last night of November, but am looking for a shot at redemption in tonight’s closing game of the end-of-year 3-on-3 IM season. Our team’s 5-2 and tied for second (with the team we play tonight) and I am ready to not overthink my shots, which I’ve concluded was responsible for my something like 0-8 performance on Monday. Nevertheless, the night of crappy basketball led to an overnight of amazing writing, so I’m prepared to make that trade again if need be.

Last night rounded out the first of four debate semesters in my tenure as Rutgers coach, though the team may scrounge together the funds to send a team down to UMBC this weekend while I pound away furiously on the keyboard in the office here. The team made me a card and debated a joke-round about me possibly regretting my decision to coach at Rutgers that kept the mood light and hopefully optimistic at the end. I am, in sum, quite satisfied with the success of the team after one term, recognizing that the first semester was always going to be the hardest and it being among the most successful semesters Rutgers has ever had on APDA is a promising sign.

The Book Quiz II is starting make the rounds, fueled in part by a campaign I’ve launched to contact a bunch of people who posted the original and get them to take the sequel. I really should have done this with the Country Quiz II when it launched, but you may recall that November/December 2007 was among the most intense times of my life, probably the hardest two-month period of my day job career outside of April/May 2005. It’s interesting to note that said quiz also was launched around Thanksgiving, though I failed to make the strategic decision to hold it till after the holiday, instead choosing to launch it on the Wednesday before.

Okay, that’s creepy – I just realized that both quiz sequels were completed precisely on the day before Thanksgiving. Bizarre.

Anyway, it appears most people (at least those taking it so far) consider themselves more “old school” than “with it”, as books from the older chain off the first question are vastly outpacing the latter. So far the leaders are Much Ado About Nothing, Jane Eyre, The Scarlet Letter, Romeo and Juliet, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Good Earth, Little Women, Treasure Island, The Canterbury Tales, and The Life and Opinions of Tristam Shandy, Gentleman. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, at twelfth overall, is the top answer linked from the second answer to the first question.

This may be unsurprising, however, given a Facebook/blogging gap that seems to be opening up. After perusing so many blogs that were initially taken in by the Book Quiz, it seems that the surviving blogs from the last five years belong disproportionately to older Internet users, consisting roughly of people my age or older. Meanwhile, the people currently in compulsory education seem not to have picked up on the blogging habit, preferring instead to focus on shorter media like the endlessly discussed Facebook and Twitter. Mesco has urged relentlessly that I create a Facebook application for the quizzes, something I’ve long aspired to do, but my options now are mortgage all my time learning how to code one or use a cookie-cutter application machine that doesn’t even know how to process the BP quiz format. So it goes. Someday, maybe after I bank two or three books, you’ll be able to get my quizzes on Facebook too. And then everyone will be all Infinite Jest and Freakonomics.

An interesting byproduct of the BQ2’s popularity has also been a bit of a revival in the book-referral-ads that are in the corner of the answer pages, exhorting people to buy the book they were just associated with on Amazon. I haven’t sold a book in a long time through one of these, but someone just bought not one, not two, but three copies of Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue through one such link, in what I can only assume was complete fulfillment of their Christmas shopping. So just in case you think I’m not doing any good with my website, I’ll have you know I just pocketed $1.74 of what is rightfully Sarah Palin’s money. Not quite inspiring Michael Steele to condemn her, but it’s not my fault if he doesn’t take his cues from APDA demo rounds.

Man, I really meant to get around to talking about my fabulous Thanksgiving break down in DC, but I was on too much of an Internet moratorium to write about it at the time and I’m too caught up in the heady present to write about it now. I may flesh out the details, but suffice it to say that there were great friends, a fabulous view of the stormy city, lively debates, spicy corn soup, Settlers, a scorching Ticket to Ride victory, more than a hundred pages of War and Peace, an unexpected meet-up with Anna, Chipotle, the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, and Waffle House. Yeah. It was like my birthday for four days or something.

If only two-years-ago me could see me now.