Quit telling me what to do, Google!
Who d’you think you are, to tell me what to do?
I’m not gonna do it!
Really, why do you even think I’d need to?
I’ve only uploaded 12 or 13 with “Halloween” in the title.
Quit telling me what to do, Google!
Who d’you think you are, to tell me what to do?
I’m not gonna do it!
Really, why do you even think I’d need to?
I’ve only uploaded 12 or 13 with “Halloween” in the title.
Wow. This is…I have no words for what this is. No single words, that is. I should be able to string together a lot of them to give some vague idea of what this is.
One thing I can say simply, though, is that I sure picked a doozy to finish up the challenge with! This was my pick for the last remaining challenge, #14, “Read a book about war.”
So, let’s start with a simple idea of what this book is about. It’s about a war in the fairy city of Ferrum, though the fairies aren’t fighting it: the gnomes and the tightropers are. Now, before I get to answering the question you’re undoubtedly asking yourself (i.e. “what the heck is a tightroper?”) let me first dispel a few misconceptions you’re undoubtedly harboring. First off, that image you’ve got in your mind right now of Tinkerbell? Wipe it out. These fairies have no wings, naturally grow glitter in their skin (which flakes off like dandruff), and they’re immortal. So immortal, in fact, that they can never really die, and are fully capable of feeling any bits of them that become detached from their bodies (including that oft-falling glitter!) and even controlling those bits, if they’re large enough. So at the start of the book, the heroine Beckan takes her father with her everywhere, because he’s just an eye and an ear in a jar. And as to those gnomes, if you’re thinking of saccharine little garden statues with pointy hats and long beards, forget them. Forever. These gnomes are more like a cross between Tolkienian dwarves and Gollum, only with pointier teeth and long mole-claws for digging. And they love to eat fairy; nothing is more nourishing to a gnome than fairies, and even a small mouthful will support them for weeks. As to the tightropers…we never get a very clear description (because our very unreliable narrator already knows what they are and what they look like) but they seem to be very spindly people with a spider-like ability to produce “ropes” out of their mouths. (And yes, I know that’s not where the webbing comes out of a spider.)
As you may guess from that description, this book is set in a very unusual and rather disturbing world.
What I’m about to quote to you (with one mild edit for language of the sort I don’t use on my blog) comes from the story I was writing in late October, to which my NaNo novel was a sequel. I’d been working on the same scene (a press conference being held by a rock star and his boyfriend, whose relationship had recently had recently been exposed (in every sense of the word) by a sleazy paparazzi-type in a tabloid) for a while, and had started to lose touch with it, I suppose…
“You better believe it!” Curt laughed, before kissing him passionately. Arthur could hear the flashbulbs going off, but he couldn’t force himself to break away from the kiss. It felt too good. And, deep down, a part of him hoped that maybe photos of them kissing might help other young men accept themselves the way photos of Curt and Brian had helped him. Even having that thought made Arthur hate himself for putting on such airs. That he would have the nerve to compare himself to Brian — to imagine that he could ever be even a quarter as important to Curt as Brian had been — shocked and disgusted him. No matter what Brian had become since, he had been the love of Curt’s life, and Arthur knew that wasn’t going to change for someone as pathetic as he was.
The reporters were already shouting more questions by the time they parted. “What else are we supposed to be asking you, man? This scene is growing tedious!”
“You’re telling me? Let’s get the f*** out of here.”
As you may have guessed, they weren’t supposed to say any of that…but yes, I really did find myself typing that as I realized I didn’t remember what else I needed the reporters to ask them.
(Yeah, I’m still hooked on writing Velvet Goldmine fanfic. Actually been posting this one to AO3, in fact. Though I haven’t gotten this far in the posting yet. Oh, uh, spoiler warning. If anyone happens to see this who’s been reading it. Which seems unlikely at best.)
I think I just won the “stupidest title for a blog post ever” award.
If there is such an award.
(I’m not sure if I’d actually want there to be one or not.)
Anyway, I just wanted to post about something stupid that actually tied in to my somewhat estranged “Greek mythology” theme.
So, I’m sorry to say that my birthday was last month, and as usual I couldn’t convince my family to pretend it wasn’t happening. But at least they had the decency to only give me one present. In this case, it was the Blu-Ray of the movie Iphigenia, based on the Euripides play Iphigenia at Aulis. (But without the dea ex machina ending that scholars have been arguing about for centuries.)
I saw the movie years ago in a class, and I’d been trying to get my hands on it for a couple of years to see it again, but the DVD was long out of print, and apparently someone stole the Netflix lending copy. (Seriously, it’s been on my brother’s queue for years.) But it was finally released on Blu-ray recently by Olive Films (at least, I think that’s what the logo said) so I was finally able to see it again.
I hadn’t read the play yet when I first saw the movie, so I was surprised at just how much material there was before the start of the play. (Must have been at least ten to fifteen minutes.)
The point of this post, though, is to tell you about a little goof they made in the subtitles. (And yes, I only just got around to watching it yesterday. On account of I have a slight problem with my television, and currently have to take Blu-rays to my brother’s place to watch them.) For those who don’t know the story of the play, the only pertinent detail you need for my anecdote is that Agamemnon sent a letter back to Mycenae, asking that his eldest daughter, Iphigenia, be sent alone to Aulis, in order to marry Achilles. Of course, his wife, Clytemnestra, wasn’t about to let her daughter go off alone, so she’s come to Aulis with her. And when she’s talking to Agamemnon about the proposed marriage, she’s asking about what kind of man Achilles is.
And Agamemnon tells her that he’s “descended from Aesop.”
And I’m sitting here going “Um, what?”
Because I know that’s not what it said in Euripides. Because while Aesop is one of those writers that — like Homer — has a partially (or entirely) mythologized life story, he’s still a real person. (Probably.) And lived in historical times. And was a slave.
But the movie was going on, and I forgot about the line until after the movie was over.
Then I was suddenly like “Oh, duh!”
What the line actually said was that Achilles was descended from Asopos, not Aesop. Asopos, of course, being a river god and the father of Aegina, who was kidnapped/ravished/impregnated by Zeus, giving birth to Aiakos, who was the father of Peleus, father of Achilles.
Now, it still strikes me as weird to pick Asopos rather than Zeus in order to talk about Achilles’ divine lineage (not to mention what about his mother, Thetis, the most powerful of the Nereids?) but presumably that was either because pretty much everyone in the mythic nobility is descended from Zeus, or — more likely — for metrical reasons.
But writing Aesop instead of Asopos…
…it’s hard to find rhyme or reason for that one.
Been a while since I did a Words Crush Wednesday, huh? Well, I hope I remembered the title correctly on the book I’m quoting here! It’s not a book I own, you see, but one I came across as I was cataloging the museum’s library on Sunday. I seem to recall the title being The Reason Why, but it might have been the plural “Reasons” or…well, this is the general idea, anyway. It was a book of “scientific facts” explaining all sorts of things like why a bubble is round, where condensation comes from, et cetera. The stuff a five year old asks.
Anyway, this one was so funny I had to take a photo of it so I could quote it here.
977. Why do tears form in the eyes?
Because, under the emotions of the mind, the circulation of blood in brain, and in its nearest branches, becomes considerably quickened. The eyes receive a larger amount of blood, and the secretion of the lachrymal glands being increased, the fluid overflows, and tears are formed. The use of tears is probably to keep the eyes cool during the excitement of the brain. They are formed also during laughing, but less frequently. [Emphasis in original.]
Yup, this allegedly scientific document just claimed that you cry to keep your eyes cool ’cause your brain is overheating. Because that’s such a scientific explanation.
(Actually, while I understand that the main purpose of the tear glands is to keep the eyes moist and to wash away dust and other particulate matter that accrues on the surface of the eyeball, I have to admit to some curiosity about why emotional distress causes tears in most people. Primarily because this put the idea in my head; I’d never really stopped to think about it before.)
My house mostly no longer stinks.
(It’s just a hint in the hallway now.)
But I’m listless now.
I’ve been off-line for a week.
(38 posts to check out!)
It’s going to be onerous,
Trying to resume on-line life.
I may start posting excerpts,
From my current Work-In-Progress.
It’s been going more slowly,
Because of the excessive heat
(The problem of having only a laptop)
But I feel like some of it’s fun,
Maybe even worthwhile.
(Only maybe, though.
It must not be forgotten that I suck.)
This heat is the biggest issue, though.
My AC is…well, not broken.
It runs. It runs just fine.
(Much better than the neighbors’!)
But it has this thing going on.
If I run it too long,
Water seeps through the vent,
Soaks the filter,
Until the filter is a knot
Halfway into the furnace.
But I can’t call for a repair.
Not right now.
So I have to let it got hot in here,
Saving the AC for short bursts.
I have ceiling fans, but…
They only go so far.
Writing is mostly out,
Gaming is having trouble keeping my attention.
I can’t help it.
I’m just listless.
(Also, I seem to obsess about sex more than usual in the past week…)
Forget the format: this is a genuine report on my current situation.
Not making up new words in the Lewis Carroll sense (or even in the Robert Heinlein sense), but in a more methodical, if still silly, way. It’s much harder than I expected.
But let me back up a minute and explain why I’m trying to invent a word.
I’ve been working on my current novel project, which I’ve mentioned several times before. (Like, cycle through the “Writer’s Corner” category posts, and most of the recent ones will be about it.)
In order to make the story interesting (I hope) and to have things actually happen (gasp!), I’m having to put my narrator through a number of events he finds unpleasant and humiliating. (But that’s okay, because he’s abrasive, arrogant and sometimes a bit annoying. So I don’t mind making him suffer a bit.) I just wrote the conclusion of the first of those events, or rather the first major one.
Said event being that he was forced to pose nude for the faculty of the art department at the college where he teaches Greek (and sometimes Latin). Why he had no choice but to pose naked for the (mostly female) art teachers is a bit of a long, convoluted and frankly ridiculous story that I don’t want to get into right now. (But he’s a side character (though he doesn’t know it) for a (made up) romantic comedy movie (a bad one), so it’s okay that the side plot of the novel (which is the main plot of the movie) is absurd.)
Anyway, after suffering a number of humiliations during the posing process, this happens:
“Okay, next can you get down on all fours, head hanging down, as if you’ve just been defeated in something of dreadful importance?” Callie asked.
“**** no!” I replied. I don’t get in that pose lightly, and not where just anyone can see me. Especially while naked.
He’s got a hair-trigger temper, and this sets him off, all the more so because Callie accuses him of being immature, and then tries to sweet-talk him, despite that she’s in her 60s and dresses like a flower child (despite that, this being the 1980s, she was too old for that even during the 1960s). So he’s ready to storm out in a huff and go home to sulk and fume, or at least get drunk. (He does a lot of the latter…)
But he’s still naked, so he can’t just stomp out of the room. (Especially since it’s mid-February, and though I don’t say where his college is located, in his original incarnation, several novels ago, he lived in Detroit, so Februaries would be pretty cold. (I even looked up what that particular week’s weather was like in Detroit in 1982. Very cold indeed.))
So for Words Crush Wednesday this week I have two quotes for you, one from Plato and one from Michael Ruse’s The Darwinian Revolution, in which he’s paraphrasing Robert Chambers’ Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation, a popular but not very scientific pre-Darwinian book on evolution, which both helped and hindered the true science of evolution. (It’s complicated…)
Because I like to go chronologically, we’ll start with Plato’s Republic, translated by G.M.A. Grube and rendered all but unreadable by C.D.C. Reeve. (Seriously, the latter thought it was a good idea to remove the quotation marks and most of the “I said”s and “he said”s from this dialog. So the result is that most of the time you cannot tell who is speaking! Because sometimes a change in paragraph means a change in speakers, and sometimes it doesn’t. Worst. Edition. Ever.)
[Prior to this quote, they’ve been discussing oligarchies, and how under an oligarchy it’s permissible for a rich person to sell all his possessions and live on in the city without belonging to any of the useful parts of the city.]
[Socrates] Should we say, then, that as a drone exists in a cell and is an affliction to the hive, so this person is a drone in the house and an affliction to the city?
[Adeimantus] That’s certainly right, Socrates.
[Socrates] Hasn’t the god made all the winged drones stingless, Adeimantus, as well as some wingless ones, while other wingless ones have dangerous stings? And don’t the stingless ones continue as beggars into old age, while those with stings become what we call evildoers?
[Adeimantus] That’s absolutely true.
Yes, you read that right: Plato thought there were old beggar bees, and criminal bees. (That’s nothing, though. At the time, they also thought bees spontaneously generated inside corpses, so if the hives were getting underpopulated, they’d kill a cow and leave its body to rot near the hives. Without ever picking up on the fact that that didn’t help.) Later in the same discussion, Socrates refers to the “dronish ways” of the spendthrifts in the oligarchies. That I was very pleased to read, because it meant that I finally understood the reason the Drones Club is called that! I had always thought it was the weirdest thing to call a club for rich, idle layabouts…but Wodehouse had obviously read Plato! (Well, of course he had!)
Oh, and somewhere else in one of the two Plato dialogs we read this semester (I think it was the Republic again, but I’m not positive) it referred to ants and bees as having kings. Yet another ancient misconception about bees…
But now we’re going to move on to a 19th century odd belief about bees!
Chambers then backed up his suggestions [that the length of the gestation period was an indicator of the quality of the being produced] with two important illustrations. The queen bee has a much shorter gestation period than the worker, and we all know how superior the worker is to the queen, since the worker is so industrious and the queen is distracted at every turn by sexual passion and jealousy. Chambers may have been an atypical Victorian, but he was not that atypical.
Okay, I have a task for anyone out there with connections to the animation industry:
Please make a very stupid (intentionally so, of course) cartoon involving old beggar bees, criminal bees, and a sexually jealous queen bee.
Okay, my Words Crush Wednesday offerings are about to get erratic. I’m still going to be quoting from the books I read over the past semester, but now they’re going to be all out of order, depending on when I find the books I marked (in the stacks and stacks of books around here) and get around to typing in the quotes. (Should’ve been doing this as I went…)
And first I have to go with one of the last few books of the semester, The Darwinian Revolution by Michael Ruse, because it’s the only one that was a rental book, and I have to return it by, well, actually last Saturday, but I’m pre-writing this last Tuesday, so…
The subject of this quote is “natural religion or theology — the theology that involves man’s knowledge of God through reason and the senses.” In other word, argument from design. The two major figures about to be mentioned are William Whewell and William Buckland, both rather conservative scientists from the earlier portion of the 19th century. The majority of the text below is Ruse’s, of course, but there is a pretty good sized quote within it from Whewell, hence the title of my post. (I have removed his citations from the text, for readability. If anyone wants to know what the citations said, let me know. Or check out the book for yourself. It’s a little bit slow going because of ten thousand zillion names (or so it feels like as you’re trying to remember them all) but quite a fascinating story.)
the argument from design gained fresh life with the publication in the 1830s of the “Bridgewater Treatises” — eight works, commissioned in the will of the eighth earl of Bridgewater, aimed at demonstrating “the Power, Wisdom and Goodness of God, as manifested in the Creation”.
Probably the most popular of these works was written by Whewell, officially commissioned to cover the subject of God’s magnificence as evinced by astronomy (Buckland wrote on geology). He began by arguing that the world runs according to laws and that the effects of these laws are instances of apparent design. Thus by law our earth has a year lasting exactly twelve months, and by law plants have a year lasting exactly twelve months. This, Whewell pointed out, is a coincidence essential for the well-being of plants. Were plant cycles eleven months and the earth year twelve months, we would soon have flowering in January, which would spell doom. Having set the stage, Whewell drew his conclusion. “Why should the solar year be so long and no longer? or, this being of such length, why should the vegetable cycle be exactly of the same length? Can this be chance?…No chance could produce such a result. And if not by chance, how otherwise could such a coincidence occur, than by an intentional adjustment of these two things to one another?” God (understood as an all-wise designer) must have matched the lengths of the solar year and the vegetable year. More specifically, since a disjunction would not make much difference to the sun but would be fatal to a plant, there must be a God who looks out for the interests of the plants.
Apparently Whewell never once in his entire life witnessed an early or late spring. That or he never looked out his window at plants whose blooming season was cut short by a late snowfall. He should have talked to some gardeners or farmers before basing his argument (which, you will notice, had very little to do with the astronomy he was assigned to) on the growing cycle of plants. I’m sure they would have told him what we all know, that the plants are reacting to the change in temperature, not on an annual cycle of fixed length.
Okay, let’s see if this is possible. I’ve been intending to post about my summer plans, and I need a Missing Letter Monday post, so…gonna try to combine ’em! Okay, this is definitely a bad idea considering one of my goals…ugh. Nope, not gonna give up so easy, or I’ll have to pony up another MLM plan!
Right, so, this summer. After my class is out — I have about eleven days to get the paper finished (and I’ve barely started the research!) — I plan on making some changes to my life/lifestyle. Uh, not counting the fact that my employment time is going to go up, I mean.
In any case, I plan on spending time on my novels. Either editing the ones I’ve already finished, or on ones that have yet to be started. As long as I’m at the keyboard, that’s the important part. So I’m planning on spending lunch of one of my off-days at some public eatery, my laptop before me, typing like mad and sitting there beside an emptied plate and a half-full soda, so I can pretend I still have business being there. I figure if I can spend at least one hour per seven days doing that, maybe it’ll kickstart that part of my life in the other six days.
I’ve also decided to try my talentless and untrained hand at philosophy. Because — as Descartes pointed out — technically all you need is your mind and your reason, right? (Yeah, you need more than that, I’m conscious of that.) Of course, mine’ll not be as clever or literary or competent as anything I read for class this semester. Or as happy and fuzzy and humanity-loving. (Not that most of it is all that happy-and-fuzzy…) It’s probably going to be pretty misanthropic, in fact, ’cause that’s my current take on human race. That, of course, is one of the many reasons I don’t plan on making this “philosophy” available for other people to read. I’ll keep my misanthropy to myself. But I plan to spend — as in the case of the novels — one day’s lunch + at least an hour on it. So if Monday is novels, Tuesday can be philosophy. That kind of thing. And yes, it’ll be the same “on the laptop in a public venue” kind of deal. (Can I find someplace around here that gives you cash back or a discount or something…?) But most likely it’ll be different eateries, of course, because if not they might start thinking my motives to be shifty or evil. (As I’m a misanthrope, that might not be entirely unreasonable of them…)
Thirdly, I’m going to spend time on a project I’ll talk more about on the 9th. It’s kind of similar, in that it involves a lot of time spent on a laptop, but…it’s also kind of different, and probably’ll only be done in the privacy of my home.
Fourth, I plan to get this house cleaned up. Of course, I’ve been saying that for years, but this time there’s a special motivation, in the form of 2 expensive ball-jointed dolls that I Kickstarted; I need to get the place nice before they arrive in November.
Fifth, I’m going to start doing laps in the pool at the Y again, in the hopes that it’ll make the fire in my arm back off a little, ’cause this is really getting out of hand. (Even if it doesn’t, I need the exercise desperately.)
And finally, I’m gonna spend some time reading. Not the usual hard-to-get-through non-fiction, but some good, old-fashioned fiction. ‘Cause I don’t spend enough time reading that anymore, and I need to. Plus I just bought four novels at Barnes & Noble the other day (okay, technically three novels and a novella), and another one at the used bookstore on Saturday. And I already had a backlog of them, including the Alice in the Country of Diamonds light novel, and a Young Adult first-in-a-series novel that looked really interesting. (And I need to see the current state of YA these days, since my in-need-of-editing series is kinda-sorta-basically YA…)
Hopefully, I’ll actually manage to stick to this plan. After all, only the fourth one actually has an end-point to reach. The rest are continuing projects (and exercise) so that should hopefully make them less daunting. Hopefully.
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