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The Infinite Jest Challenge: Week 6

Published in Blog Archive, Infinite Jest.

Infinite Jest David Foster Wallace

Six weeks of reading have come and gone. For newcomers to the blog, this is the seventh post in a series documenting the process of completing a challenge of reading David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jestwhile losing the approximate weight of a 32 inch flat screen television. My intentions are to read the entire book while on a stationary bike, and then continue with a full workout after each ride, with my eyes set on reading 1085 pages and losing 31.4 pounds in 100 days. (Well, that AND the 500 or so pages of Greg Carlisle’s Elegant Complexity, “A Study of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest“.)

This week’s numbers:

  • This week I read 85 pages of main text, for an average of 12.14 pages per day. (Last week’s average was 14.29.) 
  • This week I biked an average of 17.86 miles per day while reading (down from 18.3 last week), for a total of 125 miles, and 754.46 miles overall thus far. 
  • Last Sunday morning I weighed in at 201, and yesterday morning I weighed in at 201.2, for a gain of 0.2 pounds this week. Total weight loss thus far is 15.2 pounds. 
  • Last week I started on page 488, and this week I’m kicking things off on 573. (Also, I’m on page 308 of Elegant Complexity.) 

Stray observations from the week’s reading:

  • “And lead us not into Penn Station.” I really like the idea of some crotchety old A.A. member changing the words to the Lord’s Prayer out of sheer boredom. (504) 
  • “Tavis had been the one to take the lion’s share of the heat when it turned out the Blue Jays’ spectators in the stands, many of them innocent children wearing caps and pounding their little fists into the gloves they’d brought with hopes of nothing more exotic than a speared foul ball, that spectators at a distressing number of different points all along both foul-lines could see right into the windows of guests having various and sometimes exotic sex in hotel bedrooms over the center-field wall.” This really happens. (516) 
  • I don’t know if this is a printing error or if this is intentional, but due to choppy ink “too risky” resembles “t()() ‘`isky.” (547) 
  • When C.T.’s StairBlaster is compared to a “Satanishly-possessed Filene’s escalator” I initially read it as a “feline escalator.” Equally hellish. (552) 
  • The six-page endnote that captures “transcript-fragments” from Orin’s interview with Steeply touches on O.C.D., which at times sounded quite a bit like A.A. to me: “He was in this sort of paralysis of compulsive motions that didn’t serve any kind of function.” (1040) 
  • In the same endnote Orin says, “It’s March and it’s co-wold.” From the time I entered the seventh grade until slightly after graduating from high school my family lived next to another family that had three kids, including a boy named Cole and a girl named Dani (Danny?). They would play out in their back yard quite frequently and it became sort of a joke between us how Dani, when she’d get mad at Cole, would always yell at him as “Co-woll!” This brought back a funny memory. (1041) 
Infinite Jest Challenge Data

Pages Read: Monday 18, Tuesday 12, Wednesday 14, Thursday 14, Friday 12, Saturday 8, Sunday 7.

Infinite Jest Challenge Data

Miles on Bike: Monday 20.53, Tuesday 17.9, Wednesday 18.61, Thursday 19.41, Friday 18.22, Saturday 19.73, Sunday 10.6.

Infinite Jest Challenge Data

Calories Burned (Reading on Bike/Other Cardio): Monday 602/404, Tuesday 543/403, Wednesday 586/500, Thursday 590/305, Friday 551/151, Saturday 582/370, Sunday 326/1065.

Infinite Jest Challenge Data

Weight: Monday 201.8, Tuesday 199.4, Wednesday 203, Thursday 198, Friday 197.2, Saturday 198.4, Sunday 201.2.