complaining

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IWSG – Always Second-Guessing Myself

Published August 5, 2020 by Iphis of Scyros

So, following July’s Camp NotNaNo, I find I have new problems and complications.

A couple of months back, I posted about my plan to make a video game set in the world of my low-fantasy-with-a-few-steampunk-elements novel series.  (I call it a series, but I’ve only written the first novel, and it’s still in the rewriting phase.  Although the current draft is light years better than the first draft.)  A lot of July was spent working on developing and filling out a template containing all the information I would need for each country.  I only got through the first five…and technically didn’t actually get through any of them, because I added a bunch more questions so late in the month that I never answered any of the new questions.

Thing is, it took me that long to do that much world-building prep for the countries where I didn’t need to do a lot of research first.  Meaning, of course, that the other countries will take even longer to complete.  But that’s only a minor complication, not a problem.

The problem is that my plan was to have 26 countries in this fictional world.  (Although after putting together a really bad attempt at a map, I have been toying with the idea of reducing that to about 23 or 24, because one of the continents turned out much smaller on that map, which made me just stop and think about how hard it would be to create really distinct countries for a continent based on pre-European-contact South America, since most of the cultures we only know about archaeologically, leaving a lot of gaps in what we know, particularly since none of those cultures had writing.  Anyway, whether I end up making 23 countries or 26, if I made the international trade and travel game, that would mean a minimum of 23 cities to visit, yeah?  A bit large for a traditional RPG (I think most of the JRPGs I play tend to max out around 15 towns), but these wouldn’t be full towns for personal exploration, so on the surface that doesn’t sound too bad.

Only it would actually be a lot more than that.  The plan for the game, so far, is that you start out in the Britain-like country, working for an international trading conglomerate, and doing trade runs within the country.  Then after an event involving sky pirates, you end up moving up in the company, and get to do trade runs with the rest of the world.

If the home country has 5-8 towns and all the rest of the world has only one town per country, that’s going to be really lame.  But if all 23-26 countries also have 5-8 towns…!  That’s a minimum of 115 towns and a maximum of 208.

Even 115 towns is way more than I would be able to create, I’m fairly certain.  Not by myself.

I haven’t entirely given up on the idea, because I think it really would make a kick-ass game, but I’ve put it on the back burner, as an “after I’ve finished the novels” type thing.  And fortunately, I don’t have to do as much of the world-building in order to work on the novels.  They won’t be visiting every single country in the world in the novels, so for any country they don’t go to, I don’t need the nitty-gritty details, just the big picture, particularly about how the country relates to the other countries around it.  And some of it is not really relevant even for countries they do go to.  For example, the care of the elderly never came up in the first novel, so if I failed to answer that question on the Britain-equivalent, then that’s all right.  And it isn’t likely to come up in the brief time they’re in the France-like country at the beginning of the second book (they end up leaving pretty quickly, escorting the deposed-queen-in-hiding to her brother, the king of the next country over) either, so if I have proven unable to answer that question there, too, it’s not important.  On the other countries where I don’t know yet what the plot of the book will entail (technically, I don’t even know how many books there will be total or how many countries they’ll end up visiting, though I have definite plans for the ones based on Rome, Greece, Egypt, Japan and the Incan Empire), for the most part as long as I can answer the bigger questions, I can fill in the smaller details later if I realize the novel in question will require it.  But there’s still a massive amount of work to be done, in both research and world-building question-answering, and it’s still feeling quite overwhelming.

Meanwhile, a brief burst of renewed love for ancient Greek mythology had me spend a few days rereading large chunks of my quasi-Young Adult novels about the daughters of Achilles and Odysseus and the son of Aias, and I’m feeling like maybe they’re worth polishing up and releasing (for free via LeanPub and itch.io, of course) after all.  And although when I first realized that I said “no, after the world-building and its related novels,” wouldn’t it make more sense to do the rewrites on a completed novel series first, as that’s a shorter process than all that research and world-building and rewriting and writing?

Or am I just trying to make excuses to get out of so much tedious, low-level research?

Part of me fears it’s just excuses, in all honesty.

Right now, I’m still trying to finish the fanfiction piece I started in the final days of July, but after that…well, I want to start rereading Emma to be able to polish up the fusion piece I wrote based on it (since I kind of promised (well, strongly implied, anyway) I would start posting it in the fall) at the end of this month/beginning of next month, but after I’m done with that….I’m not sure.  I might go back to Atalanta and Ariadne for a while instead of keeping going with this tedious world-building.  Between what I’m working on right now and Emma, I want to keep working on the myths associated with the world-building; there are a lot of myths still to write for pretty much all the cultures I’ve already got myths for (I stupidly forgot to include tales of heroes (outside of the epics) in the ones based on Greece and Rome!), and I haven’t even started the myths inspired by the Scandinavian/Teutonic myths.

Ultimately, I’m feeling really torn about what to do.  Especially because now that I’m unemployed, I want to be spending my time working on something that I could somehow make some money at, which means I absolutely should not be writing, because my writing is garbage and will never get me paid.  (Yeah, I could try to make money off it, self-publishing my novels and asking money in exchange for them, but it’s not like anyone would actually cough up said money.  They’d look at the preview chapters and nope right on out of there.  If it’s free, there’s at least a tiny chance one or two people might think the story sounded interesting enough to put up with my crappy writing to get at it.)  Unfortunately, there’s not really much I can do that people would pay me for.  There are all sorts of roadblocks cropping up in between me and getting paid to proofread others’ works, and there’s nothing else I’m good at.  (Okay, technically, I was pretty okay at my job, but no museums are going to be hiring for a couple of years at the rate things are going, so that’s not really relevant.)

Maybe I should try writing non-fiction.  I did have an idea to get together with a former co-worker and put out a book about a particularly underdocumented doll line, but that would depend on her still having her notes on the subject and on our being able to convince the director of the museum to give us copies of all the photos that were taken a few years back of the museum’s large collection of that kind of doll.  It would also depend on getting photos from other museums and from private collectors.  The private collectors part would probably be a lot easier to accomplish than the museum photos.  Still, I should call her at some point and see if she’s interested.  It would at least be something slightly productive to do…

IWSG – Everyone’s Talking About It…

Published April 1, 2020 by Iphis of Scyros

…and probably for a lot of writers (who don’t have children to deal with) it’s been beneficial, being forced to stay in the house all day, giving so much extra time to write.

I feel like I’m actually spending a lot less time writing since my area went into lockdown.    Partially that’s due to lack of momentum on my current project, but it’s also partially because one of my chief writing times was in the morning before going to work.  I always set my alarm for 6:00, but I don’t have to get ready to go until 8:30, so I have lots of time to wake my brain up, which I usually do by writing.

Only now I don’t have that time, because no way I’m getting up at 6:00 when I don’t have to.  Admittedly, I’m actually one of the lucky ones whose job is considered at least partially essential, so I’m still going in to work a bit; for the first week of the lockdown, I had hours as normal, and this week I’ll be working one day, and next week as well.  Dunno about after that.  (The current lockdown order in my area is until April 22, but there’s no way the COVID threat will have passed by then, so I expect it will be extended.  Or even if it isn’t, that work will not proceed as usual.)

Of course, I could and should spend some of that new free time writing.  But I have a backlog of books to read and video games to play, and my house is in desperate need of a thorough cleaning (and when I say cleaning, I mean junk-clearing, not deep-scrubbing…though it actually needs that, too), and I just suddenly developed this new desperate desire to create a really elaborate boxed room of an artist’s loft, complete with a small walk-out balcony with a small garden box.  I don’t even know why, but it’s practically a mania.  (Seriously, I spent half the afternoon trying to figure the best (and most cost-effective) method of getting two fully poseable 1/12 scale dolls to be the artist and her model.  Even went ahead and ordered them…though I don’t think I’ll end up using both of them for the artist and her model because I ordered two different types of dolls and they’re really, really, really incompatible.  Like, one of them is super-real and the other is anime-style.)  I don’t even have a place to put said box room at the moment, until I clean the house, for crying out loud!

Um…

Sorry, that’s not what I’m supposed to be talking about.  Although I do hope that having ordered the dolls (and their clothes and their wigs) will have satiated the urge enough to put the rest of it on the back burner at least until I can actually, you know, clear up the space where I’d put the dang thing.  Anyway, I’m hoping that my new writing project will energize me back into writing.

I know I mentioned a couple of times in past IWSG posts (which have sadly become almost the entirety of this blog at the moment) that I had written a fusion fan-fiction combining my favorite movie, Velvet Goldmine, with Kenneth Branagh’s 1989 film of Henry V, because Christian Bale was in both of them, and I was combining his roles in the fusion.  (Well, more like sticking his Velvet Goldmine character into the life of his Henry V character, but…same diff, right?)  Well, as I might have also mentioned (I’d check, but I spent so long on stupid online shopping for needless toys that it’s now dinner time and I promised myself I wouldn’t have dinner until I got this post written up for tomorrow morning), one of the other fusion ideas I had at the same time was to combine Velvet Goldmine with the 1996 film of Emma, because Ewan McGregor was in both of them.  And, honestly, the character of Frank Churchill combines pretty well with Curt Wild…aside from the one’s extreme heterosexuality and exceptionally privileged upbringing.  They even both sing. 😛

Anyway, because Emma also featured Toni Colette (who played the wife of the fellow rock star Curt Wild was having his passionate love affair with in Velvet Goldmine) as Harriet Smith, I felt I needed to read the book first to really get an understanding of the situation and characters and how to add not just one Velvet Goldmine character, but two.  (The original fusion story was in response to a prompt requesting one of the Velvet Goldmine romances be transferred into another film in one of the two actors’ massive and diverse filmographies.)  Because you can’t have a Jane Austen novel where one of the primary characters is left without a romance, right?  Although technically I could just leave Harriet as Harriet despite her sharing Mandy’s actress, but that would be weird and no fun — but there is absolutely no way Mandy Slade would settle for Robert Martin.  Mandy can only marry Brian Slade.  (The fact that we don’t know Mandy’s maiden name will suit my story well; she’ll just become Amanda Smith.  (I figure the Regency era would probably not be terribly keen on the nickname “Mandy.”))

So, I’ve been reading the book — and quite astonished at just how much the movie left out (no wonder they decided to make a new film adaptation of it!) — and am now almost finished with it.  Scratch that, by the time you’re reading this, I will be finished with it.  And I’ve made a lot of notes about where to add Arthur (Christian Bale’s character) — as the apprentice to Mr. Perry, Highbury’s apothecary — and of course Brian will become Brian, Lord Slade, famous (or infamous) for the poem “Childe Maxwell,” a decision I came to as soon as I realized I was going to add Brian to the mix, because there is no more suitable Regency equivalent for Brian Slade than Lord Byron.  (In fact, Lord Byron is pretty much the perfect comparison for Brian Slade, period.)  Such a poet — who can go anywhere and do whatever he pleases — is easy to insert, especially when the original story already has a flighty, wealthy young man of just the sort who might associate with a Byronic poet.  (Uh, except that Frank Churchill is not really intelligent enough for the real Lord Byron to have wanted to consort with him…)  I came to my decision about Arthur’s role pretty early on the course of reading the book (when I realized just how much of a fixture Mr. Perry would be at the Woodhouse home not necessarily during the action of the book, but in the day-to-day life outside the story), because it would give him good access to important events and characters without his being somewhere he would seem to be inappropriate, and also because it would make him someone so unimportant — insignificant, in fact! — that the characters from the book would pay him no heed, and go right on with their own lives whether he was there or not, because he would be to their mind barely more than a servant, and therefore invisible.  I was glad to see, as the book progressed, that it was going to be a really ideal position for him throughout, with the bonus that this way I could even include the drug addiction plot thread from the movie, because as an apprentice apothecary, Arthur could get laudanum for them without it seeming the least bit suspicious, which would give him some internal conflict as he began to realize that no, they weren’t suffering from terrible headaches, but were taking the opium in order to seek pleasure.

All in all, I’m pretty excited about the project, it should be a lot of fun, and yet I also feel like a total freaking hypocrite.  For two reasons, actually.  The first is pretty simple; quite some time ago, I posted a “free plot idea” on this blog, suggesting an Austen-like romance where it turned out that one or more of the handsome young gallants was secretly gay, and was having to lead a double life as he tried to find a love that would make him happy without exposing himself to the harsh punishments his era would have doled out.  I posted it because I felt there was no way I could write it myself, lacking both the subtlety and understanding of the human mind to write it well, and lacking the time to research it properly.  I haven’t increased dramatically in human understanding (if anything I might have gotten worse), and although I now have time to do research, I’m not likely to actually do so.  And actually I couldn’t really do very good research even if I wanted to, what with all the libraries in the area being closed for the duration.

The second reason I feel like a hypocrite is that sometime after I posted that plot idea, I went looking to see if there already was anything like that out there.  All I found (with a search which was probably not very thorough) was a book where someone had re-written Pride and Prejudice to make it a gay romance.  I didn’t even look very closely to see if they had changed the sexuality of one or more characters, or their sex.  I was too outraged that someone would wreak such changes on one of my favorite books to find out the particulars of how they had done it.  (Alas, if only I had known what someone was going to do to said book so soon after that!  Making it gay is at least a change for a good reason, and happy same-sex romances are always nice to have.)  But here I am, about to mutilate a different one of Jane Austen’s novels to make it gay.  (And while it’s not my favorite, I’m sure it’s someone’s favorite.)  Admittedly, I’m doing it in a weird and round-about way, and technically I’m actually trying to turn the movie gay, not the book, but I’ll be borrowing a lot of events from the book that didn’t make it into the movie, because if I stick to just what’s in the movie, I’ll be limiting myself too much; the book’s events lend themselves to my ideas better.  (Though I will be watching the movie again before I start, to refresh my memory as to just which events were actually in it.  Also to revisit the entirely invented first introduction of Frank Churchill, because that was a freakin’ awesome character introduction.)

Of course, even as excited as I am about the project, it may not kickstart me back into writing properly again.  The weather’s getting warmer again, which means I can’t sit in my nice comfy leather chair for any length of time before the leather starts heating up and I get unbearably uncomfortable and have to sit on the floor, which is bad for my back and not particularly conducive to writing.  (Last summer I eventually got to the point of sitting in a nearby wooden chair with my computer on a folding table, and that worked pretty well.  But ironically it’s not warm enough for that yet, because my legs and especially my feet are as sensitive to cold as my back has become sensitive to the heat of the leather.)  And I might quickly find myself overwhelmed by trying to write for the period and the setting.  I don’t know.  There are so many question marks and uncertainties.

But these days, there are question marks and uncertainties about pretty much everything.

Oh, Bai, Dine-in Movie Theatre!

Published December 19, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Okay, so I finally got to go see The Disaster Artist, which I’ve been anxiously awaiting ever since I first heard about it.  And yes, it’s fantastic.  Definitely see it, especially if you’ve seen The Room.  (I have no idea how well it works if you haven’t.  Seems like it ought to work, though.)

But for some reason every theatre chain in this city decided it was “an arthouse flick.”

Which means it was only showing in the two artsy theatres — one located in a shopping mall (this close to Christmas!) and possessing the tiniest seats ever, and the other located in a hard-to-deal-with shopping district and only open at night — and in the “dine-in” theatres of the regular chains.  You know, the ones with the La-z-boy seats and the double price tickets.

The one in the shopping mall was absolutely out.  That’s a last resort theatre even when it isn’t Christmas-shopping season, just because it’s so uncomfortable to sit there.  And the one in the shopping district really wasn’t appealing as a prospect because their first showing of the day starts at 4-something, and trying to park there is a nightmare.  And Tuesdays are half-price ticket days at the major chains.  (Possibly only for their frequent viewer members; not sure about that.)

So we decided to risk it and went to what used to be a really nice theatre, packed with viewers.  In fact, that might be where I first saw Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, with a lobby so crowded that it’s giving me agoraphobia just to think about it.  (Thank goodness I was less mentally fragile as a teenager! (Yikes, that’s a terrifying sentence.))

The place was deserted.

Clue one that closing it down for a year to re-fit the entire interior to “dine-in” viewing was a mistake.

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Missing Letter Monday No “P” – This is getting old.

Published September 11, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Really, this whole Missing Letter Monday thing is getting old and asinine.  What use does it serve?  Well, aside from giving me some slight semblance of actually being around.  Most of the time, it’s either old material dredged back out, or it’s just dumb rambling (like this) to fill a few words and make believe I’ve said something.

So on the one hand, I totally want to cancel this feature.

On the other hand, if I do that, who knows how long it’ll be before the next time I say anything; the blog might go quiet until October 4th.  (Or, more likely, until I finish the book I’m currently reading.  Or until the thing I ordered from Etsy last night arrives, ’cause I wanted to do a Doctor Who rant, ’cause some folks who don’t know the original show really tick me off sometimes.  And yes, that will make sense when I fill in the blanks.)

The thing is, of course, that I’ve been doing this for two years now.  I’d originally wanted to see others join in (and at first a few did) but it never became a thing across even a small fragment of the blogging world.  And that’s okay.  But it does bring to mind the question of if there’s actually any reason to continue going.

Aside from the fact that Missing Letter Monday has been the majority of what’s gone out from this blog of late.

*sigh*

I don’t have any answers and haven’t decided what I want to do.  But I know I’m frustrated with things as they stand right now.  And I don’t feel like I have the time or the creativity to use as much energy for these as I did in the beginning.


 

Missing Letter Monday – No “U”

Published April 17, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Ack.

I mean, y’know?  Ack.  Ack all over the place.

I have three 4-page essays (wait, or was it three three-page essays? yeah, it was three-page essays, whew!) and a sixty slide PowerPoint presentation that have to be finished by next Monday.  Oh, and 4 annotated bibliographies for things that obscenely insignificant and have received no scholarly attention.  Yet I have to find 4 books and ten articles for each one.

Yeah, so I have one week to do all that.

So I spent all day today in the library, trying to find finkin’ books and articles that were gonna fit the bill.  ARGH!

The only good news is that I’ve already done the PowerPoint.  All that’s left is the bibliography and one image that I forgot to get at the library today.  And the footnotes for two slides.

However.

Nine pages of essays.

On insanely pointless local topics for which no one other than the professor gives a rat’s ass.

Oh, and I’m expected to work 4 days in the coming week.

I am not a happy camper.


 


And yes, I mean every word of that, btw.  In case anyone was wondering.  My life for the next seven days is not going to be pretty.

IWSG: Conflicted

Published March 1, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

So I’m back to being insecure again.  (This, I suppose, should come as no great surprise.  If I wasn’t prone to insecurity, why would I be taking part in the support group, right?)

After some SNAFU stuff on the NaNo forums regarding my nearly submitting my 2013 NaNo novel for self-pub, I made a pledge to myself that “screw it; I’m never publishing anything, and that’ll teach those jerks!”  (And no, that didn’t entirely make sense even at the time.  And the people in question were not trying to be jerks.  (Most of them weren’t, anyway.)  But it’s one of those heat-of-the-moment resolutions that becomes firm and feels permanent, because you feel like you’ll have lost if you go back on it.)

After that, I took the smart path of withdrawing from the NaNo forums for the next couple of years, but I don’t learn too good (poor grammar intended), and so I’ve been active on the forums again.

And this time the guy really was trying to be a jerk.

Basically, he said that I’ll be a racist if anyone in my entire novel has a different skin color from everyone else.

Yes, he was advocating an entire planet of uniform skin color.

And he thought that was somehow less racist than having a diverse world.  Ugh.  (And keep in mind, I neither said anything about nor intend to introduce any ethnic stereotyping or prejudices.  It’s a world very unlike our own, without our social construction of “race”.  They have some prejudices, of course, but they’re based on culture and nationality.  (Read any 19th century work wherein the English discuss people from other European nations, and you’ll see the kind of thing I mean.)  But really even those prejudices are unlikely to come up much, because it’s a steampunk/fantasy adventure with heavy doses of m/m romance.  They’re going to be much too busy flying around the world looking for the pieces of the McGuffin and flirting/having sex for weighty social issues to come up much.  Because I write light escapism.)

So, because he said all this crap about the world I’m trying to put together for a series of novels I haven’t even begun to start writing yet, I feel like “now I have to publish it just to prove that f***er wrong.”

But that is in direct opposition to the 2013 doctrine of “never publish anything ever no matter what!”

Which puts me in a weird emotional bind.  All the more weird considering I haven’t even named the main characters yet.  (Well, it kind of grew out of an AU fanfic idea, so for my plotting purposes I’ve been using the names of the movie characters.  Though at this point there’s not much similarity between my characters and the movie ones.)

It’s probably a moot point.  I’ll probably finish the first draft of book one (assuming I ever start writing the thing) and go “wow, this is irredeemably terrible” and go back to writing other stuff.  (That is, after all, what usually happens.  Like my 2012 NaNo novel, the last time I tried to spin an original novel out of a fanfic idea.  I was enjoying writing it at first, but by the time I was done I was just like “ugh, I never wanna see this piece of trash ever again!” and I haven’t opened the file since.)

Anyway, amusingly enough, this all kind of ties in to this month’s optional question

Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

Because that 2013 NaNo novel?  It was the result when I finally got around to writing something I’d been planning since I was 18.  (So the idea was almost twenty years old.)  I think I had actually started writing it back in the summer of my 18th year, but…not sure what ever happened to the manuscript.  (And I guarantee it had zero similarity to what I eventually wrote.)

Missing Letter Monday – No “J”

Published February 1, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

“Random News”

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!

Ugh.

(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.)


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Struggling

Published October 18, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

I want to post things that are seasonal, because it’s October, and Halloween is the only holiday I really like.  But I can’t think of anything to post that’s seasonal.  (This is even worse on my other blog, since it’s about my toy collection, and I don’t have time to take new photos, but the only photos I have sitting around waiting to be used are either singles for Wordless Wednesday, or a set for a review of the new(ish) Monster High two-pack of Cleo de Nile and Deuce Gorgon, but my next post on that blog will be my 100th, and I want it to be something a little more special than just more Monster High.  (Then again, the son of Medusa would be appropriate, given what’s going on right now in my myth re-tellings, and given this past Wordless Wednesday was my vintage Calibos action figure… (I am horrified beyond words, btw, that a toy younger than I am is now considered “vintage”…it was only the 1980s!  That’s not that long ago!  *whimper*)))

Worst of all, I shouldn’t be online anyway.  I should be reading.  I have tons more reading to do for next week — at least 150 pages for the Thursday only class, and about as much for the Tuesday-Thursday class — and I need to be researching my final papers.  But it’s so hard to concentrate on my reading.  I just don’t wanna read it right now!  I want to play games, prepare for NaNo, blog, photograph my dolls, buy new dolls (not that I have the money for that right now) and generally do anything that isn’t reading one more word about the Wars of Independence in Spanish America, or about the fall of the Roman Republic.  Halfway through the semester (roughly) and I’m utterly sick of both my classes.

Ugh.

Sorry.  I know I wasn’t going to do these kinds of pointless posts after leaving the daily format, but…sometimes I just want to vent, and venting to the few people available to me just doesn’t feel right, somehow.  (Especially venting to my brother.  He’s very sympathetic, but it makes me feel guilty; he’s never finished college, and here I am whining about my Master’s studies?  It’s very awkward.)

The worst thing, really, is how much I want to do NaNo this year, though I know I don’t have time.  But I really like the idea I came up with — though that’s bitten me before — and I just…I just don’t like the idea of not doing it, for the first time in years.  (Ilios was my first NaNo novel.  I think that was 2011?  Sounds about right…)  But with two major research papers due mid-December, one 25 pages and the other 5,000 words, plus a 3,000 word paper due earlier in December, I don’t see how I could have time, because I’ll need to spend every spare minute reading.  (Though at least the 3,000 word paper is expected to be based only on the readings assigned for class.  Which, of course, don’t let up for a minute.  At least the TTh class doesn’t have any more assigned readings after the ones for this coming week.)  And yet, on the other hand, I haven’t done any serious amount of writing since April, so if NaNo can get me back on track again (which I had hoped, actually, to have last year’s NaNo do, if I recall correctly…) then surely that’s a good thing, right?  (Then again, my writing sucks, so maybe it isn’t…)

I shouldn’t be writing this.

I should be reading Plutarch.

Or one of those ten zillion books and journal articles waiting for me to read them.

Except it would have to be the journal articles; I’ve already used up all my little post-it-note-flags in the two biographies assigned for this week.  (The journal articles, of course, are .pdfs on my iPad, so I can mark them up in the .pdf reader.)  Once I’ve written the paper for this set of reading — due the Thursday after this coming one, naturally — then I can take out most of the flags, and rededicate them.  (But only most, ’cause the pink flags are all for my final paper.  And I’ll have to check which of the rest of them are for this first paper and which are for the second-to-last paper.  But most of them are for this coming paper.)

Also, it doesn’t help that my arm is acting up horribly, despite that it’s getting cooler outside.  (Though it’ll be back up in the 80s by Wednesday!)  But I’m stressed over all this reading, so of course my arm is acting up.  It responds to stress and hormones as well as heat.

Have I said lately that it sucks to be me?  Because it totally does.

All right, I’ll stop moaning and whining now.

I’ll get to reading that Plutarch.  Should be a faster read than the biography of San Martin, right?

Another Rant You Won’t Want To Read

Published July 28, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

So I met with a new physician. (The old one retired.) It was not a promising first appointment. Now, my old physician always used to harp on my weight, too, but the way she did so was different, more friendly, more maternal. And she certainly didn’t ever suggest surgery. Seriously, this new physician said something about how I wouldn’t be able to get down to my “ideal” weight without surgery, because all I’d be able to lose would be about 60-80 pounds, with diet, exercise and medication, in 6-8 months, so I should really consider surgery as well.

Um, seriously, wtf?

First of all, losing more than that any faster than that would be freakin’ unhealthy.

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This Past Thursday

Published May 9, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

Okay, I think I’ve recovered enough to talk about it now.

So Thursday starts out–no, let me back up a bit.  The previous Thursday, in class the professor said that “next week will be our last class meeting” but that he wanted to meet with all of us, individually, on Tuesday or Wednesday to talk about our previous papers and our upcoming final papers.  I had a dentist appointment on Tuesday (to get the crowns put in) but Wednesday was wide open, so I was okay with that.

So he starts an e-mail sign-up sheet on Sunday, for us to say what time we want to meet on Tuesday.  I reply by pointing out that Tuesday is off the table for me, but Wednesday is good.  He says he’ll let me know what times he’s open on Wednesday…and eventually–like, Wednesday morning–says that no, he’s not going to be available at all on Wednesday.  I reply and tell him that I have a doctor’s appointment for my arm problem on Thursday at 11:00, and that I don’t know how long it will last or how long it will take to get to campus from the hospital, but that I’d definitely be available right before or right after class.  He says he’ll only be in his office at 11:00 on Thursday, so we’ll have to talk about the paper via e-mail.  I’m like “okay, whatever,” and don’t reply, ’cause it didn’t seem like a reply was needed.

I guess it was.

But more on that later.  So, Thursday morning, I’m on the way to the hospital, and I’m pissed off at the weather, because I was promised thunderstorms, and I’m getting a bright sunny day.  Good for most people, but torturous for me, because my left arm feels hot all the time, and the sunlight streaming down on it through the car window as I’m driving is the worst.  (And no one was available to drive me to the hospital.)  Plus there were lots of crazy people out on the road, as usual.  And it usually feels like I’m the only person in a five million mile radius who obeys the speed limit.  But mostly it was the weather that was the problem.  I spent a lot of time on that drive screaming obscenities at the sky–and sometimes at other drivers–and I definitely cried some, too.  Frustration will do that to me sometimes.

I did more screaming of obscenities in the parking garage at the hospital, because the first decent parking place I found was for “valet parking.”  Who does valet parking at a hospital?  And, more importantly, why would the valet parking have the good parking places?  Wouldn’t it make more sense to have the furthest out parking places for the valet parking, since the valets are being paid to walk over there and retrieve the cars?

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