felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
I develop weird obsessions -- usually they don't last more than a week or so, but for awhile someting, almost always something obscure, obsesses me and I feel driven to find out all I can. The stranger and more obscure, the better.

These obsessions have been everything from Norse funeral customs, to Medieval bestiaries, to Bible translation, to lost gay language Polari. It's not always historical or literary, however. Very weird pop culture mutations get me every time.

This week, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] montrealais, it's baby names. And more than anything else, it's the name Raistlin.

The final revenge of Raistlin )
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Among whom principally to challenge [the value of poetry], step forth the moral philosophers; whom ; whom, methinks, I see coming toward me with a sullen gravity..., rudely clothed, for to witness outwardly their contempt for outward things, with books in their hands against glory, whereto they set their names; sophistically against subtlety, and angry with any man in whom they see the foul fault of anger.
-- A Defence of Poesy
, Sir Philip Sidney, written in 1583
So I'm plugging away, trying to get myself out of the late 16th century before the month ends. I still have Marlowe, Ben Jonson, and Shakespeare to cover before I reach the 17th.

(Fortunately, there's very little to cover in the 17th, especially since the Cavalier Poets have gotten short shrift on the reading list. It's basically just Donne, Milton, and Pope holding the fort -- I guess people were too busy fighting, what with the Civil War and the Commonwealth and so on.)

Meanwhile, here in the 21st century, Montreal played host to an international conference that brought activists together from six continents to trade information, run workshops, and hammer out a statement -- the Montreal Declaration -- that will be presented to the UN. The goal is to have the UN take LGBT equality as seriously as anything in the UN Declaration of Human Rights (also written in Canada).

And this will be difficult not only because a lot of countries are run by extremist bigots. And because even many of those that aren't are dangerously infected with absolute moral relativism (Postmodernism's most vile and disgusting spawn), which is proving a very popular philosophy with those politicians who don't want to be bothered with such messy things as fundamental human dignity.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
So I'm going to English Academic Hell.

(I picture as a vast auditorium where they're holding a neverending conference entitled "Postmodernist and poststructuralist responses to Marxist readings of George Eliot's Middlemarch".)

My sin? I'm reading Spenser's The Faerie Queene, and can't shake the mental image of Queen Gloriana as Princess Zelda from The Legend of Zelda video games, and the Red Cross Knight as Link.

In my defence, the characters from The Faerie Queen are supposed to be Elves. Very, very Protestant elves making war on Catholic dogma in a thinly-disguised allegory, but elves nonetheless.

ETA: On the subject of Elves, Protestant and otherwise, I'd just like to sure my players know we're having a game tomorrow. Shall it be my place, or somewhere else...? For the record, we have air-conditioning now.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Sorry for being dead to LJ the last ten days or so -- I've been quite busy.

My list came in for the English Literature comprehensives. I have about a hundred works to read or re-read before September 8. Some of these "texts" are short as sonnets, others are novels hundreds and hundreds of pages long.

I've been reading Everyman today, a late-medieval morality play. It actually calls itself a "Moralitee Playe" right on the first page -- it's funny to see that announced as anything other than a joke.

(There's a scene in it where Everyman is having a conversation with his worldy possessions, especially his gold. How do you stage that? I picture a talking treasure chest.)

The summer storm we had on Thursday was the best ever -- I've never seen lightning like that. We lost power for seven hours, but it wasn't so bad, and lucky [livejournal.com profile] montrealais loaned m his cellphone sho I had an alarm clock for work early the next day. The power came on just as I was leaving the house.

And editting continues, at least when we've had electricity :)
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)

I thought I was on the mend, but I had to come home dizzy from work today. It was still too soon after the surgery. I hope I'm not coming down with a fever (my doctor was worried).


I flew off the handle yesterday when I discovered that hole in the government records. Turns out it's not something Harper's been plotting, but a procedural void. All four parties are responsible -- I don't think they even realize that their votes aren't being recorded in some circumstances.

I'm going to present an emergency motion to the NDP's convention in September. This procedural hole is fairly easy to fix, as soon as politicians notice the hole is there.

Even if Harper isn't responsible for the hole in the records, with his attacks on the press right now, we need accurate government records to keep track of what all the parties are doing. This is the worst time to have gaps in the records, and so far there's been a gap for every single vote this year on a government bill.

General Geekery

Everyone who's ever seen Neon Genesis Evangelion is actually required to go here. Yes, that's the law. I checked.

I'd issue a spoiler warning for everyone elese, but I think they'd all just be lost.

I love Evangelion. But it is really pretentious. I think I'd hate it as a book. Too James Joyce.

Maybe if Finnegan's Wake was done as an anime, it would be more enjoyable. If Joyce had giant cyborgs, badly-done quantum mechanics, and homoerotic subtext, I'd like him more.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Gruelling day at work. I was told, on arriving, that I'd be learning how to administer over-the-phone placement tests -- and then doing them all day. Which is what I did. The coffee machine and the copy machine broke down, and I need to make about 100 or so photocopies ASAP tomorrow morning.

Other than that, I'm reading sonnets and editing my novel. I may have that novel 10% on its third and hopefully final edit tonight.

It's going very slowly because I'm not letting myself leave any one paragraph until I'm absolutely satisfied with it.

Meanwhile, I'm doing other writing on top of the editing. Just because I need to write creatively each day and editing doesn't cut it. It's become as much of a need as sleep and oxygen.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
I have spent the last few days deeply immersed in my writing, with time taken for reading and a few long walks.

My novel is going well -- better planned this time than ever, and so far better crafted. his version is a fair bit longer than my previous ones. I've already hit 130 pages, and I expect it to be a lot longer.

I'm getting through Susannah Moodie story of settling the ontario wilderness at a snail's pace. I can generally only take her book in small doses each day, but I am finally approaching the halfway point.

She did have an interesting chapter on racism, and on culture shock when the British and the American Loyalists were forced into the same small space. The story on the lynching of a black man in Southern Ontario for marrying a white woman was a pretty disturbing read.

For [livejournal.com profile] em_fish: did you know Peterborough was settled in a region at the far end of a swamp that people used to believe lead to the edge of the world?

I now have all my textbooks for the coming year. I looked through The Poetics of Postmodernism, and it seems to contain less Postmodernese than I would've expected. This is good.

Postmodernese, for those of you who don't know, is the evil eldritch language of the Lovecraftian old ones, taught and spread by evil university professors in preparation for Cthulu's and Nyarlathotep's return. Any attempt to understand it drives the user to madness -- or worse, to Mississauga.


Jul. 29th, 2005 06:18 pm
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Okay, so Roughing It In the Bush isn't so bad now that I've gotten past the first parts. Susannah Moodie is still unsufferable, but she's very good at painting portraits of weird and evil people she's met, and they frankly seem a lot more interesting than she is.

For instance, Tom Wilson, her husband's best friend, who'd stop conversations mid-sentence and then start them in the same place months later, and who kept a pet bear to threaten people who were rude to him. And there's Miss Emily Satan (!), the evil neighbour who wore torn dresses, never bathed, always shouted at her, and "borrowed" Moodie's stuff without ever giving it back.

And the poetry is no longer as bad as an 11-year-old's on LJ. Now it's more like a 16-year-old's.

In other literary news, while researching the origins of the word "tribadism" for someone on [livejournal.com profile] queerhistory, I was amused to find out the first person to use "tribade" (an archaic word for a "lesbian") was Ben Jonson in 1601.

Jonson is one of those poets everyone thinks is boring because, since 99% of his stuff is about sex, high schools teach the boring 1% that isn't.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
A grab-bag of things:
  1. Last night, the marvellous [livejournal.com profile] archdiva played host to a movie night and fireworks viewing, which was wonderful. In spite of being asocial to the point of hermitness lately, I had a good time. I met [livejournal.com profile] metawidget, who hath now been befriended :)

  2. Even lame fireworks, reflected off the TVA building or the CBC tower, are neat. From the TVA building, the each of the bursts looked like a thousand falling stars. On the CBC tower, they became wildfires and fast-moving rivers. Funny how the reflections should be more interesting than the originals, but I guess that's the whole premise of art and writing, isn't it?

  3. After managing to worm my way out of reading Susannah Moodie's Roughing It in the Bush in three consecutive literature courses, I'm biting the bullet and reading it. It has a major place in my next CanLit course, and there's just no escaping it.

    And it's tedious, but sometimes unintentionally funny. I mean, reading about a woman go on for ages about how heroic she is for surviving the Canadian wilderness while her husband and maid do all the work. And the poetry that ends each chapter is so awful, it reads like angsty 11-year-olds posting on LJ. The prose is more purple than a pack-a-day smoker after his tenth flight of stairs.

    Plus she really hates the Irish. She despises the Irish. She comes across as particularly shallow when she complains about how loud and uruly the Irish are -- the Irish who, fleeing the Potato Famine, are now dying of cholera on Grosse Ile. You can almost hear her saying "Can't they die a little more quietly?"


felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)

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