Well, I’ve been too busy lately to actually, you know, prepare anything, so I thought I’d do this week’s post simply giving some updates on life in general, and otherwise saying any random stuff that doesn’t involve that one particular letter. (It’s fortunate that this week’s letter isn’t a vowel!)
The reason I’ve been so busy is that this week’s reading is selections from The Philosophy of Aristotle, Signet Classics edition. The reading list was the Metaphysics, the Physics (or Book II of it, anyway), Ethics, and Politics. Um, ack. First off, the introductions admit freely that Ethics is the easiest for a beginner to understand, and yet they stuck it more than halfway through the book, and instead started with the incredibly convoluted and mind-boggling Metaphysics! (Despite that the Metaphysics specifically references several of the other texts as having been previously written. So it’s not even chronologically accurate. It’s simply the editor’s favorite or something.) On top of the reading itself — which isn’t actually as bad as I’m making it out to be in these complaints (or it wasn’t, before I got to Chapter 2 of Book 1 of Politics) — is the fact that I tried to figure out how much to read each day to be able to finish it Sunday night (which is when I’m writing this, btw) so I could spend all of Monday and Tuesday writing the paper. (Since we have no guidance on what to write about, this seemed essential.) I tried to make that calculation Wednesday night after class.
As a result, despite that I had calculated that I needed to read 77 pages each day, the reading I wrote down for Saturday was about 40 pages, and what I wrote down for Sunday was about 120.
Apparently, I cannot do math.
(I mean, I always knew it wasn’t my strong suit, but I never thought I was that bad at it!)
And, of course, I still have no idea what in the world to write the paper on. I’ve stuck post-it notes in lots of places in the book, but none of the places really feel like they suggest a paper to me. I know the paper’s not supposed to be anything particularly deep or complex, but…I’d still like it not to be too totally moronic. (Many of the post-it notes are attached to places I want to talk about here on the blog, actually. But first I have to finish reading Plato’s Republic so I can talk about it, and then…yeah, I hope I won’t want to talk about too many of my assigned reading books on here, or I’ll never catch up until sometime this summer.)
And it doesn’t help that I’ve had a lot of drain on my time other than the reading, too. Thursday was the rebroadcast of Rifftracks Live “The Room,” which I had to go see again because a) it’s super-funny, and b) I haven’t gotten to go see many movies lately, what with there not being very many to go see. (I’ll probably go see Kung-fu Panda 3 after it’s been out long enough that the theatres won’t still be packed with kids, and I’m hopeful that Deadpool will be as much fun as the trailers promise, but…otherwise, yeah, this winter’s been and is going to remain pretty dry, movie-wise.) Then on Friday morning I went down to the museum for a meeting (to make it sound fancier than it was) with the director, and Friday afternoon was spent at my parents’ place watching the first two episodes of the show that doesn’t really star Rory as much I was lead to believe (but of course I’ll stick with it, especially since it’s only like eight episodes long total) and having dinner with them, which always takes way too long for no easily explained reason. And then, of course, I spent the weekend doing my usual volunteer shift at the museum. So, yeah, not as much time to read as there should have been.
And it doesn’t help that I kept reading the same paragraphs over and over again. Not because I didn’t understand them, but because I’d get distracted, lose my place, and then forget I’d already read them. (Maybe I need more caffeine…?)
Still, Friday morning was sort of red-letter day stuff. I’ve been asked to help with a very important task, because I’ve become the resident expert at the computer cataloging software. (Not sure how that happened, but somehow it did.) More importantly, once the new wing opens (it’s under construction right now) I’ll finally get to make the switch from long-time volunteer to employee! (Yay!) I was pretty nervous about asking to be hired, ’cause although I feel like I’ve proven at least somewhat useful, I’ve also sometimes been unreliable, particularly in that sometimes I’d call in and say “yeah, I’m not coming in today” for reasons that ranged from relatively understandable (feeling a bit unwell) to kinda-sorta-almost-acceptable-but-not-really (snow and other weather issues that weren’t stopping anyone else) to really, totally unacceptable (one closed road in my path). And then there have been times when I took a semester off due to a heavy workload. So I was worried that they wouldn’t want to start paying me, but it turned out okay. Still, I’m going to have to be much more reliable in the future!
Okay, this feels like a decent length (many of my other Missing Letter Monday posts have been shorter, after all), so I’ll close the post after one last bit of info, regarding the Aristotle I’ve been reading.
The translators made a terrible, horrible rookie mistake.
We’re talking 19th century levels of stupid here.
They wrote “Diomede” when they meant “Diomedes.” And I know it wasn’t a typo, because they did it twice in a row.
Now, both Diomede and Diomedes are characters in the Iliad.
Diomedes is one of the most important and powerful Greek warriors.
Diomede is one of Achilles’ concubines.
Not confusing these two is very freakin’ important!
(Admittedly, you do sometimes see “Diomede” for “Diomedes” in older translations…of Roman materials. I’ve never seen that done in the translation of a Greek text before. Particularly not one translated after, say, 1950. Admittedly, this translation only dates from 1951, but still! A modern editor should have corrected that, because it’s a horrendous mistake. Then again, this is sort of the “budget” school of editing: they don’t even provide footnotes (or endnotes) to tell you where any of Aristotle’s many quotations came from (or to admit that we don’t know), or to give you any information about his many references to ancient literary texts. Obviously, I know the myths he references, but when he’s simply quoting something and calling it “Homer”? Yeah, I don’t have the entire Iliad and Odyssey memorized (and even if I did, the translation would be different), plus at one point he cited a specific text as the work of Homer which was not either of those epics, and my knowledge of the non-Homer Homeric works is much more spotty, so I can’t read a “Homer” quote and know which non-Homer Homeric work it came from.)