You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2011.

December is an awfully busy month.  I don’t know how I feel about that.  Things are insane at work, so much so that my voice sounds just slightly wrong to me because I’ve been talking on the phone so much that I’m a little bit hoarse all the time.  But it does make the day go by quickly, so there’s that!  We’re all back in the cubicle farm, which is kind of depressing, but one of my coworkers just gave me a tiny stuffed cow whom I have named Elsie, and now she actually has a desk to sit on.  I guess I can be happy for Elsie’s sake.  This weekend is going to be all kinds of awesome, however, because they let us get off work at 3 today, and we’re not going back until Tuesday morning!  I intend to have loads of fun and be immensely productive.  The former, at least, will almost surely happen.

Here’s all kinds of stuff from the internet.

Geekery:

Beauty:
Hilarity:
For your information:

Music:

Dude.  The Consolation of Philosophy turned out to be brilliant.  I highly recommend it!  It’s very short, but very dense.  I think I fully digested maybe one-half of what was actually contained in the book.  I thoroughly enjoyed Boethius’ devastatingly logical approach to the huge questions in life.  It reminded me of something, and at first I couldn’t put my finger on it.  I finally figured out that it was very reminiscent of C.S. Lewis’ theological writings.  It has that same inexorable logic and the same exquisite arguments.  Then I felt pretty dumb, because 5 minutes of Googling revealed that C.S. Lewis was VERY well-acquainted with Boethius, and everyone knew this except me.  In 1962, Lewis wrote a list of ten books that  influenced him most.  Consolation of Philosophy was number 7.  He wrote essays on it and was quite the fanboy.  I will be the first to admit that Lewis’ reading tastes can be terribly, intimidatingly dry (and that’s coming from someone who enjoys medieval lit), but trust me, Consolation is worth a look.

Now I’m reading The Nibelungenlied, a Middle German epic poem from the 12th century, give or take a few dozen years.  I’m reading that in translation as well, obviously.  I know the story pretty well–or I thought I did.  I had always believed that Nibelungenlied was derived from the Volsunga Saga of Iceland, with which I’m very familiar.  Turns out it’s more of a parallel (yet distinctly different) work, and I’m finding as I go along that I much prefer the Icelandic version.  The Middle German version tweaks the story to fit a courtly medieval period; The Nibelungenlied is to the Volsunga Saga what Thomas Malory’s Morte d’Arthur is to the Welsh Arthurian stories.  In both instances, I prefer the older foundations of the tales to the flowery, often contradictory retellings.  Still, I have to say that the Nibelungenlied (again, like Morte d’Arthur) is pretty darn entertaining, and well worth your time if you’re into Germanic medieval literature.  (Please, who isn’t?)

Henry V on trapeze was shockingly good!  If you’re in the Raleigh area in the next five days, consider giving paying the Burning Coal Theatre a visit.  A lot of work had clearly gone into the production, and I was really impressed with the level of skill (both in terms of trapeze work and Shakespearean acting, and the combination of the two).

I’ve been horrendously busy and have all sorts of things to tell you about, but no time.  So just enjoy some stuff from the internet and some book ramblings and we’ll call it a day. 🙂

Shorts:

Things you should know about:

Music:

Upon the recommendation of some friends with flawless literary taste, I read Maus by Art Spiegelman, which is a graphic novel about the Holocaust, with the Jews as mice and the Nazis as cats.  Reading about the horrors of Auschwitz from the perspective of a mouse at 1:00 in the morning was a pretty surreal experience.  I don’t understand why I didn’t think it was very good; it’s undeniably powerful and well-done.  After giving my friends a callous review of it, I realized I’ve maybe read too many books on the Holocaust.  If that sort of thing doesn’t move you anymore, you’ve definitely read too much of it, and you have no business discussing it anymore.

I read Against Nature by Joris-Karl Huysmans, a copy of which I swiped years ago from a professor’s free-book shelf.  Oscar Wilde was evidently fascinated by the book, and in The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dorian reads this “poisonous French novel” and is obsessed by it.  What sort of book would Dorian Gray enjoy, you ask?  Mainly a very long catalogue of the likes and dislikes of an effete, high-strung , overly intellectual wuss possessing far too much time and money and lacking all common sense.  The novel didn’t strike me as particularly dangerous–merely silly, instead.  The main character is obsessed with artifice, and this tendency is best illustrated in the chapter in which he decides his fabulously decorated hermitage needs some light and movement.  He has the shell of a live, giant tortoise covered in gold.  When this doesn’t tickle his fancy sufficiently, he has the gold shell encrusted in jewels.  At the end of this lengthy turtle shell description, the main character realizes the tortoise isn’t moving.  The poor thing has died from the stress (or possibly the boredom).  By the end of the book, I felt pretty much like the tortoise.

I’m currently still toying with The Idylls of the King, which is always enjoyable, while also starting The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius, a 6th century Latin writer.  I am *not* reading it in Latin, however.  My masochistic streak isn’t that wide!  Boethius influenced scores of writers, however, and this work is quite widely regarded, so I’m looking forward to delving deeper into it.

You seem to have stumbled upon a storytelling of ravens. Watch for falling collective nouns; you may find a wing of dragons or a charm of hummingbirds caught in your hair. Hardhats are recommended.

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