Snow Blood and Coal
Monday, May 31, 2004
More quick thoughts...
Dialup sucks (especially my parents' AOL)
I want my computer back, damnit!
Northern exposure is pretty funny. Sarah bought the first season on DVD and we've been watching. Not something I'd have bought, but it's not a bad distraction.
BUFFY SEASON SIX!!!
Saturday, May 29, 2004
After a lapse...
After a lapse in posting, here's a brief one (there's really not that much to say):
Computer: Apple still has it and they seem to be dragging their feet doing the repair. If they sent it out today, it probably wouldn't get back to me until tuesday or wednesday. Suck.
Cat: After seeming a bit depressed for a couple of days after we put a collar and tags on him, he's back to his old self. Yesterday, he was a little monster, and he awakened me today by standing outside the bedroom door, scratching, and yowling as loud as I've ever heard hm (when he wasn't in pain).
Moving: The packing is going along, but more slowly than I'd like. We're probably finally moving into Matt's apartment today, then coming back to finish boxing things for the movers. The problem is that there's still so much to box, and they're coming on tuesday. Come to think of it, I may need to miss class in order to be here when they come... Suck.
German: Still easy. But I'm less confident now than I have been in the past. I got an A- on the first test, which isn't bad. I'd like to do better on the next one, though. That means lots of vocabulary review, and that I'd better start this weekend. I figure that the best thing for me to do is to copy the vocab out longhand. That should help me remember.
Reading: I'm a bit more than halfway through the second volume of The Essential Spider-Man. I'd like to read through all five. That should get me up to where I started reading when I was little. I really hope that they release more of these things. I'd like them to go up at least through the Venom saga...
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
So my computer is all packed in the box apple sent me and ready to go as soon as the DHL people get here. This is actually kind of exciting... Yesterday, the Macexperience people managed to get my data off the hard drive without too much expense, then this morning I bought a giant hard drive to do backups in the future, then this afternoon the computer is going back to apple, and it should be back by next monday, I surmise...
Monday, May 24, 2004
Alright. So computer update. This morning, I called Apple and told them that my logic board had failed. They made me describe the symptoms and run a bunch of tests to be sure (come on!) and then told me that they would ship me a box overnight, and that I should ship it back to them, and that it would be ready in a week. I asked them if they backed up / restored hard disks when they did this, and they told me that no, they just erased them (it occurs to me that my copy of OS X is packed to go into storage. I'll have to remedy that...). They suggested that I take the computer to an authorized mac specialist and pay to have it backed up (I can't do it myself because it keeps freezing). So I took it to the local (read: only one in bloomington) mac specialist, and they have it now, trying to back everything up onto DVD for me. They'll probably charge me $100, plus I might buy an external hard drive on which to keep better backups in the future. This has really sucked, but it looks like it's going to work out, and I guess that there's a valuable lesson in here somewhere, although I don't know where. I wonder what I'm going to do without a computer for a week?
By the way, I'm writing from a public terminal in the IU memorial union... a place where I'm probably going to be spending a lot of time.
Sunday, May 23, 2004
Scary scary scary...
I just had a really scary experience. I came back to my computer after it had been on all day, and thinking that the monitor had shut itself off, pushed the mouse around to try and wake it up. When the monitor wouldn't come back on, I restarted my computer, which I thought would help. Well, the computer booted without any video. So when it had booted, I attached my external monitor--thought, well, certainly if my main monitor doesn't work, at least the external video port will. Wrong. So I restarted again, this time resetting the PRAM, thinking that it might have to do with the monitor spanning hack that I had installed (to let me have two monitors displaying different things). Well, still nothing. So I turned off the computer, unplugged everything, removed the battery (and took down the serial # while I was at it), re-installed the battery, and booted up. This time, everything is fine. Except that I've read in a number of places that video problems such as these are a sign of a faulty motherboard. Tomorrow I'm going to call apple care (can you believe that they're not 24 hours?!) and tell them what happened, see what they have to say, and see if I can't get the motherboard replaced. They're supposed to do that for free (as per a recall they've instituted), so it shouldn't be a problem, except that it comes at the moment that I'm up to my ears in German and moving. Kind of sucks.
Oh yeah. By the way, for those of you who don't know, I have an 800MHz iBook that's a year and a half old. It would REALLY suck if they couldn't / wouldn't repair it.
So yesterday, I went to watch the wrestling Olympic trials. It was kind of cool. I can sort of see the appeal of wrestling as a sport. What was really nice, though, was that I got to hang out with Hana for the afternoon. The two of us, along with her coach and his brother, watched the morning sessions, then we went out to a long lunch and walked around downtown Indy for a while. It was a lot of fun. Really good to see her and to meet these people about whom she always talks. It was also nice to see her in her element. I don't think that I could get so excited about wrestling, but it's kind of inspiring to know that somebody does. So yeah. It was fun.
Anyway, today, I'm going to get dressed then go out and buy about 30 dollars worth of comic books, then I may go get my hairs cut, then I'm going to come home and do german all afternoon. The test on friday was pretty easy, but I feel like I'm a couple of chapters behind on the reading, so I should probably get cracking. The thing is that I kind of feel like I've done all the grammar that we're doing before. The only thing we've covered that I haven't had is the genitive case, and that's really easy... so I don't know. I kind of feel like it's difficult to get too stressed over this german thing... Moving, on the other hand, now there's something to get stressed over.
Saturday, May 22, 2004
Shrek the Second and other things...
So last night, I went to see Shrek II, which was pretty good, but a lot less subtle in its parody than the first one, and a lot more mean-spirited. A lot more mean-spirited. Every turn in this movie was something else making fun of Disney. From beginning to end, almost every scene referred to something that Disney had animated, from The Little Mermaid to Beauty and the Beast, and even, in a roundabout way, to The Sword in the Stone. Sleeping Beauty was poked at in there, as was Snow White, and a bunch of others. It was interesting, however, there was other parody in there besides that of Disney "fairy tales." There were some references to the Brothers Grimm themselves, as well as to a couple of their stories and a couple of Perrault stories that have never made it into the movies. So the Shrek people have effectively lumped contemporary children's literature together with 17th, 18th, and 19th century Fairy Tale Collections (which, in fact, modified and changed the stories so that they could be used as children's literature among the middle class) in a reasonably clever way. I say reasonably, because I don't think that it was as clever as the first one. On the other hand, there are a lot of interesting things in there for a postmodernist type to look at (think Textermination) and a lot of interesting things for a folklorist.
Speaking of folklore stuff, in other news, I got my German-language copy of Kinder- und Hausmmärchen yesterday. I looked through it a bit and discovered that it is a bit difficult in that it's in slightly archaic language, but it shouldn't be too difficult to read as something to keep up my German after the class is over. I really like the language, I've decided, and I don't want to lose it. This seems like a good way not to.
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Hey, I got kitty pictures working. They're not the best and they're kind of old, but they're not bad either. Maybe later I'll post some better pics. Anyway, here goes:
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
I had a thought, this morning, about how I was going to keep up with my german next year while I'm not taking the language. And so I went online, looked at a couple of versions, and finally ordered a paperback edition of the complete Kinder- und Hausmärchen in German. I figure that it's something that will be slightly difficult because the language is old-fashioned, but also slightly easy because--by the seventh edition at least--the text was explicitly geared toward children. So it should come in a few days, I'll have a look at it, and we'll see how well I do.
Then, second semester of next year, I kind of think that I'd like to take another German class. The question is which...
Monday, May 17, 2004
Welly welly well...
So there's thunder and lightning and lots of rain, so I'm glad that I came home from the Library before I had intended. Otherwise, I'd be stuck over there right now, and that would suck.
In other news, there's still German to be de-germanified, but instead of doing that, I think that I'll go read some Spider-man...
books books books
Not happy about going to school this morning. Two-day weekends suck. On the bright side, I'm going to have a chance to bring back some of the books that I have checked out of the library over the past couple of semesters. Get rid of a bunch of stuff about iron, some stuff about contemporary legend, and (finally) Deep the Water, Shallow the Shore. Then (perhaps tomorrow), I think that I'll bring back the books that I stole from the folklore building. It seems the right thing to do...
Sunday, May 16, 2004
Alright. So I went to see Troy last night. Ugh! Sarah liked it better than she thought she would. I thought that it was the worst piece of crap that I've seen since The Alamo. If you took the people at the Alamo, dressed them up in bronze, set it a couple thousand years in the past, you'd have this movie. It was just that bad.
That said, there were certain things that I liked about it. I liked the casting of the Trojans, for instance. Peter O'Toole made a good Priam, and surprisingly, I liked both Eric Bana and Orlando Bloom as Hector and Paris. I also thought that Sean Bean was good as Odysseus, but really, you can only be so good when you're turned into the worst kind of Lacky.
As for bad casting, Brendan Gleeson and whoever played Agamemnon were both awful for the roles (and what the film-makers did with those characters was a travesty). Brad Pitt may have been the worst possible candidate for Achilles, and whoever played Patroclus sucked sucked sucked. And what was with making them cousins (sorry for the slight spoiler)?! I suppose that the film-makers had to explain to a contemporary audience how one man could care so much about another without them being lovers or something... it might have been better if they had just been lovers. Certainly would have been more believable...
More bad: The structure of the movie was horrendous. I can understand not starting and ending where the Illiad started and ended, but the first half hour of the movie was entirely pointless, and the last 20 minutes was stupid. Instead of beginning with Achilles (who is the main character), it begins with Agamemnon demonstrating his power-hungriness and the degree to which he hates Achilles. With that in mind, I have no clue why Achilles would fight for him. They complain about one another the entire movie, and yet... there it is.
Had it been my movie and I didn't want to stick to the Illiad (which I wouldn't), I would have brought in other sources and chosen a handful of characters to follow. I would have started with Achilles in a dress trying to escape the war, and ended with Priam begging for Hector's body back. I would have followed Achilles, Agamemnon, Diomedes, Hector, Aeneas (maybe), and Troilus. I would have had A LOT less battle and A LOT more character exploration. And I would have, although not portraying the gods, at least portrayed the men as though they believed in them. But alas. Not my movie, and thus it sucked.
Thursday, May 13, 2004
Wow. Been a while since I've posted anything. Despite that, I'll still be brief. This week has gone by pretty uneventfully. I started my German class, which is really very easy and gives me a lot of time to pursue other less productive interests. I've been working out my translations in 20-40 minutes for the most part, reading the chapters in 20-40 minutes, and spending about a half hour looking at vocabulary every morning. I expect that things will become more difficult and it will be awful because I'll be out of the habit of studying, but I figure that we'll address that when we come to it. In the mean while, I'm reading Boxoffice Poison, which is excellent, playing a lot of video baseball, listening to Dodger games, and working a little bit on revising my AFS paper from last year. I figure that I'll monkey around for a while longer (like, say, until I move), then really get back to work. And speaking of, I really need to pack. I think that I'll start in ernest this weekend.
Monday, May 10, 2004
Alright. Well, Saturday night I saw Van Helsing. It was far far better than I expected in one respect, but in another, it was among the worst movies of the year. I mean to say that if the makers took this thing seriously, it's really really sad, but if it was intended as a comedy, as I understood it, it wasn't very bad at all. I am a bit confused because it was marketed as a supernatural action thriller. It should really have been marketed as something like Army of Darkness. "If you liked Army of Darkness..." et cetera. Admittedly, though, the action is cool, and when one kind of creature dies, it makes a satisfying popping sound, which was almost worth the price of admission. Overall, I'd say rent it. It's not worth theater prices.
Then yesterday, I did nothing except a little bit of reading, and today, thus far, the same. Although today I went down to the folklore department and got my papers for Henry and Pravina's classes back. Did well on both of them. We'll see what comes of that when I get my grades on the thirteenth.
Finally, German starts tomorrow. I'm pretty excited. It should be fun. Although I'm just getting used to having some leisure time, so it'll be sad when I have to work. But I suppose that I do really enjoy schoolwork, so no problem...
Saturday, May 08, 2004
Footnotes or endnotes.
Everybody (all three or four of you who read my blog)! Go to Jeana's livejournal and voice your preference: footnotes or endnotes in academic papers. I say endnotes even though I prefer footnotes, and I wonder what other people think...
Plus, I think that it would be funny to flood her journal with strangers.
Friday, May 07, 2004
Of course things don't always go like we expect. I did do some reading today, but not much. I ended up spending most of the day playing video games, and now I'm listening to the Dodgers beat the Pirates. Wilson Alvarez was just pulled after the seventh inning, having pitched a one hitter...
It's strange, not having school, I feel really pretty useless. If I didn't have to pick Sarah up from work, I'd probably go to sleep early tonight.
I finished my paper and turned it in yesterday afternoon, and now I don't know what to do with myself. I went with Sarah to see Mean Girls afterward, and that was entertaining for a short while, but it's odd the degree to which I feel productive. So I sat around miserable for a while last night trying to think of a project, and then I read Blankets, watched Conan, and went to bed.
Mean Girls: Better than I thought it would be. Lindsay Lohan is hot, and that's almost reason enough to see the movie, but beyond that, it was fun and much more clever than I expected. All of the stereotypes are so over the top that that's fun too... I don't know. It's not the best movie I've ever seen, but definitely entertaining... My one problem was that they keep saying that she "grew up in Africa" and I keep asking where. And then when they show footage of Africa, it's always savanna footage but she always talks about the jungle. Which is it?
Blankets: I actually started it a while ago and just read the second half of it last night. Good good graphic novel. I didn't really like it at first, but it gets very very complicated, especially in it's relationship to Christian theology. Faith and Memory, it seems to suggest, are closely connected problems in the human experience, and the book is about both of those things. Definitely worth the read.
Today: Today, I think that I'm going to sit around and play some video games, then read the Ibrahim Muhawi articles that Jeana sent me, an article by Archer Taylor from the forties about what folklore is, and maybe Sticks and Stones by Jack Zipes, which has been sitting on my shelf for ages but I've never gotten to. I don't know why, but I'm feeling really inclined to read today... Maybe it's that school's over and I can read what I want. Isn't it kind of disturbing that I can read what I want now, and it's folklore books?
Thursday, May 06, 2004
What is red and has two legs?
Half a dog.
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
I can see the end. The end is in sight. Three or four more paragraphs, and then I have a complete draft! Huzzah!
Tuesday, May 04, 2004
So today wasn't hugely productive, but it wasn't a loss either. I think that I have 15 pretty good pages now, and a pretty good outline for the rest of it, which should come to just over five more pages. So I'll meet my 20 pages, I'll have a bibliography of about 30 items, I'll have some pretty good and interesting endnotes, and I'll have something done to turn in. It's not the best thing I've ever written, I think, but it's certainly not the worst. And considering that 20 page papers are not something that I have a whole lot of experience with (I've more written conference length papers of 10-15 pages) I think it's not coming out poorly. I do think that it's more rough than my professor would have liked, but that's fixable down the line. So I'll finish tomorrow, have thursday morning to edit, and turn it in in the afternoon.
Alright. 15 pages and still counting. I've stopped for now to listen to the Dodger game, but I figure that I'll write at least one more page tonight before I go to sleep. In fact, I not only figure it, I must. That way, tomorrow I can finish this section, write a conclusion, and have all of thursday to edit. That seems like a pretty good plan. Cutting it a bit close, but still, not too bad.
Monday, May 03, 2004
Apparently, it's joke night.
A little old lady answered a knock on the door one day, only to be
confronted by a well-dressed young man carrying a vacuum cleaner
"Good morning," said the young man.
"If I could take a couple of minutes of your time, I would like to
demonstrate the very latest in high-powered vacuum cleaners.
"Go away!" said the old lady. "I haven't got any money!" and she proceeded
to close the door. Quick as a flash, the young man wedged his foot in the
door and pushed it wide open.
"Don't be too hasty!" he said. "Not until you have at least seen my
demonstration. " And with that, he emptied a bucket of horse manure onto her
"If this vacuum cleaner does not remove all traces of this horse manure from
your carpet, Madam, I will personally eat the remainder."
The old lady stepped back and said, "Well I hope you've got a damn good
appetite, because they cut off my electricity this morning.
Read the comment on my previous post.
Had a wife and couldn't keep her,
Put her in a pumpkin shell,
And there he kept her very well!
And now the joke (from fullofjokes.com):
Cinderella wants to go to the ball, but her wicked stepmother won't let her. As Cinderella sits crying in the garden, her fairy godmother appears, and promises to provide Cinderella with everything she needs to go to the ball, but only on two conditions. 'First, you must wear a diaphragm.' Cinderella agrees. 'What's the second condition?''You must be home by 2 a.m. Any later, and your diaphragm will turn into a pumpkin.' Cinderella agrees to be home by 2 a.m. The appointed hour comes and goes, and Cinderella doesn't show up. Finally, at 5 a.m., Cinderella shows up, looking love-struck and **very** satisfied. 'Where have you been?' demands the fairy godmother. 'Your diaphragm was supposed to turn into a pumpkin three hours ago!!!'
'I met a prince, Fairy Godmother. He took care of everything.'
'I know of no prince with that kind of power! Tell me his name!'
'I can't remember, exactly ...Peter Peter, something or other....'
12 pages and counting. Go me. At this pace, I just might finish before time runs out and my computer turns back into a pumpkin.
Sunday, May 02, 2004
Alright. I've been writing for the past four or so hours, and right now I'm on my sixth page, with about a page to go before the ending of this section. I think that this is pretty good for a days work, especially considering how worried I was about writing this paper. I'll finish this section tonight, the other one tomorrow, then hopefully, I'll be in a place in my head where I can write a really effective introduction and briefly talk about the second issue that I want to talk about (the misunderstanding of Richard Dorson's article as being anti-interpretive). Then, it'll just be a matter of editing, concluding, and that's it. Very nice. I can totally be done before friday.
Of course, this is really optimistic, and as you can probably tell, I'm having a problem forming coherent thoughts right how... But you know.
Alright. So yesterday kind of sucked for most of the day. I sat down and managed to rewrite the same four paragraphs from morning until night, never really even getting past the beginning of my introduction. Very sad if you ask me. I worked for two hours, gave up for a while, then worked for two more hours, and what I have this morning is only slightly better than what I had when I started. I guess it's writers' block?
On the bright side, however, Sarah and I tried to go see Mean Girls (what?! Lindsey Lohan is kind of hot) last night but it was sold out, so we went to the video store and rented episodes six through ten of the first season of curb your enthusiasm. So we watched that, plus the original HBO special (which was also on the disk), and that put me in a much much better mood.
The plan for today, then, is to throw out everything that I've already written--salvage nothing except maybe the endnotes--and go at it again with a fresh perspective. I don't know that it'll really help, but at least I don't feel sick looking at a blank page the way that I feel sick looking at what I've already written. When a paper makes you feel physically ill, perhaps that's the time you know it's time to start over.
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