timeripple: (dulac fiddle)
I have not yet decided whether my LiveJournal will be deleted, or whether it will remain in its present state of defunct disuse. But any new content will be happening at Dreamwidth.

Meanwhile, here is some selectively selected Tennyson, used semi-satirically.


[...] I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour'd of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
[...]
Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows;
[...]
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

(from "Ulysses")
timeripple: (dulac fiddle)
Spring speaks again, and all our woods are stirred,
And all our wide glad wastes aflower around,
That twice have heard keen April's clarion sound
Since here we first together saw and heard
Spring's light reverberate and reiterate word
Shine forth and speak in season. Life stands crowned
Here with the best one thing it ever found,
As of my soul's best birthdays dawns the third.

There is a friend that as the wise man saith
Cleaves closer than a brother: nor to me
Hath time not shown, through days like waves at strife,
This truth more sure than all things else but death,
This pearl most perfect found in all the sea
That washes toward your feet these waifs of life.

--Algernon Charles Swinburne (from Tristram of Lyonesse)
timeripple: (cucumber error (hogfather))
Happy Poetry Month! Here, have some nonsense.

The Jumblies
by Edward Lear

They went to sea in a Sieve, they did )
timeripple: (anenome)
There are very few hours left in this year and I feel that I ought to say something about it. A lot happened! I did many things!

2014 is the year I went to Iceland and took selfies in front of a glacier and sprawled on a black volcanic beach.

Some wonderful people got married to each other and I played fiddle at the wedding with some of my favorite people, and I got to spend time with some of my other favorite people.

I did not write a lot on LJ, but I wrote a lot of other things, or at least wrote a lot of drafts of a few other things, even though it was really hard and I spent whole days sobbing under my blankets because it was hard and then I made myself do it anyway. I took a bunch of supremely stupid standardized tests and I really hope I get into a PhD program that makes this entire fall worth it.

My faithful Ovid the Macbook went into honorable retirement--not exile--after six and a half years of loyal service. I am typing this on Diomedes the Shiny, which is swift and powerful and will hopefully survive whatever battles we face.

2014 is the year I was supremely grumpy about books. But I also fell in love with the Symphony from the New World and discovered red lipstick and Kraken rum.

I was really pleased to discover yesterday that I could read (without dictionary) the following line from the German translation of Graceling: "Dieser Lord hat eine Tochter, die mit Gedankenlesen beschenkt ist."

I am not Graced with thought-reading, but I am hopeful. Happy New Year!
timeripple: (anenome)
Much has been happening and, as is the way of it, I have not posted about it. However! Here are several exciting things:

1. Yesterday I did SCIENCE! I looked at slides under a microscope and recorded things for Archaeologist Housemate. In future there may be things to centrifuge.

2. A couple of weeks ago I impulse-bought a giant pink digital watch at CVS. I am now convinced this is what I was born to wear, especially with Zoya Blu nails.

3. I am apparently going to Scotland in two weeks. Yay? It was not my idea, or my choice of timing, but I'm reminding myself how much I like Edinburgh and am determined not to be terrible about it.

4. I am going to Iceland after that for a few days, because it was the most amazing thing I could think of to do. (And because I'm already missing a ton of work for Scotland, so I might as well miss more work to do something I want.) There was a long and hilariously complicated scene at the travel agency, culminating in the owner offering me a job. She was only half joking.

5. Archaeologist Housemate was cleaning and almost put a bilingual collection of Rainer Maria Rilke in the to-sell pile. I fixed that: she's going to want it some day. Leafing through it I found this: and I still don't know if I am a falcon, or a storm )
timeripple: (dulac fiddle)
Today was a beautiful day, of the kind that remind me why I moved here. Wrote a bit, got a smoothie and drank it in the park with Cavafy’s selected poems, took a nap with Copernicus, wrote some more. Slow progress is being made, much of it on the wrong side of the line between context and wild speculation.

I got an ARC of The Bane Chronicles (collected), and I keep saying I’m done with that whole series, but it is awfully addictive, if absurdly overwrought in places and totally lacking in main characters who are less than ridiculously, angelically (or demonically) attractive. Magnus Bane is pretty much the only character I would actually want to read about at this point (though the terrible movie gave me an unexpected fondness for Isabelle Lightwood). Nostalgic terrible sweater blast! Plus I like just about anything Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson write.

I also like Cavafy a lot, as it turns out.

“One of Their Gods” (C.P. Cavafy, tr. Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard)

When one of them moved through the center of Selefkia
just as it was getting dark—
moved like a young man, tall, extremely handsome,
the joy of immortality in his eyes,
his hair black and perfumed—
the people going by would gaze at him,
and they would ask each other who he was,
if he was a Greek from Syria, or a stranger.
But some who looked more carefully
would understand and step aside;
and as he disappeared under the colonnade,
among the shadows and the evening lights,
going toward the quarter that lives
only at night, with orgies and debauchery,
with every kind of intoxication and desire,
they would wonder which of Them it could be,
and for what suspicious pleasure
he’d come down into the streets of Selefkia
from the August Celestial Mansions.
timeripple: (fyeah curly redheaded heroines)
April has slipped away too fast. Work has been busy, and I've been busy outside of it. My adventuring has been curbed somewhat by extremely persistent plantar fasciitis in one foot, which I finally contacted a recommended doctor about, only to be told that they don't do feet. Sigh.

Anyway, I have not forgotten it is Poetry Month (for the next few minutes). Through a string of coincidences involving a remaindered box of postcards and Emily Dickinson, I've been reading Muriel Rukeyser, who won the Yale Younger Poets prize in 1935. I find her often incoherent, but I like some of her phrasing very much. The following is pure Wellesley benediction; I read it and find myself back in the chapel squashed between my friends on an uncomfortable bench. The choir has just finished, or possibly the group that did Indigo Girls songs, and we are all of us being encouraged by somebody with a PhD and a gown:

“This Place in the Ways”

Having come to this place
I set out once again
on the dark and marvelous way
from where I began:
belief in the love of the world,
woman, spirit, and man.

Having failed in all things
I enter a new age
seeing the old ways as toys,
the houses of a stage
painted and long forgot;
and I find love and rage.

Rage for the world as it is
but for what it may be
more love now than last year
and always less self-pity
since I know in a clearer light
the strength of the mystery.

And at this place in the ways
I wait for song.
My poem-hand still, on the paper,
all night long.
Poems in throat and hand, asleep,
and my storm beating strong!

(Muriel Rukeyser, The Green Wave, 1948, p. 21)
timeripple: (cucumber error (hogfather))
Hello my darlings, I did not mean to be so long away. I have been having ADVENTURES and also being busy. Which is better than being not-busy. I have read several terrible books and a few good books and binge-watched a lot of television ([livejournal.com profile] a4yroldfaerie, when you told me of Young Americans the first time why did you not tell me that Bella was AWESOME?).

For Valentine's Day I winged out my eyeliner and dressed in fuschia and Swarovski and went to hear Dvorak's Symphony from the New World. The performance was excellent and the program notes were snarky.

In early March, I went to KPOPCON to hear Javabeans and Girlfriday talking about idols in dramas.

For St Patrick's Day, I finally bestirred myself to go see Frozen, and you know what, I have A LOT OF FEELINGS ABOUT IT. Despite its massive narrative problems, I spent most of the screening with tears of joy running down my face. I am not exaggerating even a little bit. There were actual tears. ON MY FACE.

Finally, I convinced some friends to see the Veronica Mars movie with me last night. IT TURNS OUT I HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS ABOUT THIS ALSO. I came home and lay on the floor with the expectation that the feelings would recede to a manageable level. They did not. The ONE THING that would have made it possible for SPOILER and SPOILER to finally SPOILER ACTUALLY HAPPENED ;ALSDJFLASKF;ALSKJFAL;KJDFAL;DKJA;DJKSF I cannot deal. I feel kind of like [livejournal.com profile] snowqueenofhoth after seeing Revenge of the Sith, only less SPOILER and more SPOILER.

It didn't work the first time, but I am so overwhelmed with feels that I think I will try this floor thing again. Dvorak is not helping either, because as it turns out, I have feelings about that too.
timeripple: (nodame nom nom)
Happy New Year!

Work has been pretty all-consuming, but I felt very Berkeley this morning—went to the Cheeseboard for a ginger cookie and cheese roll, looked at "comfort shoes" at the mature lady-clothes shop, went to Andronico’s (which has the exact same bulk bins as Monterey Market, only more so). Came home and did half an hour of yoga with assistance from Copernicus the cat. Spent the rest of the day finishing an advance copy of The Blazing World, which I don't think I'm allowed to discuss pre-publication but about which I have many thoughts.

I thought about going back out and getting milk and eggs for a quiche tonight, but in the end opted to make a sort of salad by cooking frozen blackberries together with tofu and leftover sushi rice in a little pot and mixing that with spinach and pepitas garnished with fresh blackberries, sort of a less successful riff on Heidi Swanson’s black rice and cherry salad. It was… not all that delicious, to be honest, but it looked pretty. The white rice absorbs the blackberry juice and looks kind of like pomegranate seeds, if you don’t look too closely. Dinner reading: MFK Fisher’s Musings on Wine and Other Libations. She's delightful.

In other news, inspired by [livejournal.com profile] mousapelli and by extreme intellectual boredom and hatred of retail, I am seriously considering a try at a PhD. Probably in comparative literature rather than straight-up English, though really a mountain--nay, a mountain range--of research needs to be done before I even know where to apply. I had this revelation just in time to miss all application deadlines for this fall, so I'll have to wait almost two years to actually start--assuming I find a program I want that wants me--but I am pretty sure I can fill the time. I have a few real-world sources, but any suggestions and/or advice would be most welcome.

If I insist on spending all my spare time writing scholarly papers about Greek literature in Victorian children's novels, I might as well get credit for it.

My anthropologist housemate K. recommends that I take up kendo to increase my confidence. We shall see.
timeripple: (fyeah curly redheaded heroines)
I suppose it would be accurate to sum up 2013 as "the year I moved to Berkeley and had a lot of feelings." I also read a lot of books (no surprise) and watched a lot of American television and only three Asian dramas (yes surprise) and, to judge by my diary, had a lot of feelings about those. I took a semester of Korean (excruciating but also entertaining), expanded my cooking repertoire, and went apartment-hunting twice.

It's so weird to see myself as an adult. I think it's helped me begin to think about the future, though. And I'm afraid, but also--for a change--hopeful.

Happy New Year.
timeripple: (fyeah curly redheaded heroines)
Not very creative, perhaps, but seasonally appropriate, and anyway it’s freezing in here. It may be mid-sixties autumn outside, warm light and drifting golden leaves, but I keep waking up expecting snow and red-brick towers and black lamp-posts.

Also I’ve finally begun reading A Game of Thrones and am enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. I’m impressed with the HBS team’s ability to recommend things: I must say we chose better than we knew when we featured the re-jacketed Young Miles in Other Games, Other Thrones. (Better than we knew because none of us had actually read GoT. Nobody told me about Tyrion Lannister! And Arya Stark would be right at home in a Tamora Pierce novel.)

Speaking of books I’m enjoying a lot more than I thought I would, Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (pub 1/28/14) is excellent! Beauty and the Beast meets Greco-Roman mythology meets Tam Lin with unexpected shades of Diana Wynne Jones! I was only disappointed that *spoiler* wasn’t an anagram for *spoiler* because that would have been awesome, though possibly too much. And then, hilariously, I saw [livejournal.com profile] idiosyncreant listed as a beta-reader in the acknowledgements. YAY!

Things have been crazy at work and I’ve been super grumpy and had to give myself the “these people interrupting your frantic shelving are the people who keep you in business, so SMILE AND BE NICE TO THEM” talk. In between going up to full time at the store and running all the social media, though, I’ve finally been making progress on my re-read of The Daisy Chain, so that’s immensely satisfying.

I went to a friend’s Thanksgiving dinner and brought molasses spice cookies from the Flour recipe book. They were universally praised—supremely gratifying! I hope you all had an excellent Thanksgiving and happy Hanukkah and are staying sane going into the Christmas season. I am myself, against all probability, warming to the holiday spirit. And I am endlessly thankful: for health, employment, a roof over my head and good food and books and music, for family and most of all for my friends. You are precious to me.
timeripple: (anenome)
This morning I painted my nails gold and drew bare branches with a Sharpie to cover up some small scratches, donned my traditional Halloween attire, and went to work. Now I am home snuggling with the cat and about to start the traditional Halloween ritual re-reading of The Perilous Gard.

In honor of the day I give you the beginning of "Goblin Market," because this is one of the nicer parts of California and all that business about seasonal desolation doesn't quite apply, not yet.

Morning and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpeck’d cherries,
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheek’d peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries;—
All ripe together
In summer weather,—
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly;
Come buy, come buy:
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegranates full and fine,
Dates and sharp bullaces,
Rare pears and greengages,
Damsons and bilberries,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Bright-fire-like barberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the South,
Sweet to tongue and sound to eye;
Come buy, come buy.”

Evening by evening
Among the brookside rushes,
Laura bow’d her head to hear,
Lizzie veil’d her blushes:
Crouching close together
In the cooling weather,
With clasping arms and cautioning lips,
With tingling cheeks and finger tips.
“Lie close,” Laura said,
Pricking up her golden head:
“We must not look at goblin men,
We must not buy their fruits:
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry thirsty roots?”
“Come buy,” call the goblins
Hobbling down the glen.


http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174262

Happy Halloween.
timeripple: (nodame nom nom)
Any suggestions for Berkeley-on-a-budget things to do with visitors? We're planning to walk around the university and Telegraph Ave, hit up the Elmwood and the Gourmet Ghetto and the rose garden, maybe do some scenic driving in the hills... any other suggestions?
timeripple: (intellectual dilettante)
It turns out that my alter ego--or one of them--is an Oscar Wilde character. Why is nobody surprised?

September is over and I've been writing not enough, but taking in vast amounts of media. I've become addicted to Welcome to Night Vale and Elementary, watched most of Coffee House at long last, and attended the theatre. Of Sam Shepard's Buried Child, I say:

...an intriguing and infuriating work, in which contradictions casually occupy the same space and horror and comedy obscenely intertwine. Shepard's brilliant dialog serves less to convey information than to underscore what is not said. Perpendicular to the central mysteries is a disturbing gender and generational dynamic, in which the female characters exist either as plot points or as objects upon which the male characters enact the full force of their outrageousness. The text invites not analysis but speculation; the audience must reconcile itself to non-reconcilliation as the play's hideous absurdities both repel and fascinate.

I've also been blogging less opaque reviews at Clarissa's Bookshelf. And gardening (the arugula is spectacular) and attempting to better my piano skills and entertaining the cat Copernicus. I found a marvelous Ted Hughes poem the other day, but I'm saving it for winter.

And now I'm going to go procrastinate by reading Diana Wynne Jones, and you can't stop me.
timeripple: (fyeah curly redheaded heroines)
It is my one-year breakup-with-Boston anniversary. Not sure how I feel about it; trying not to think too much.

I will say that the food around here is better, though not necessarily the chai.
timeripple: (Default)
I must be a grown-up. Today I actually thought, Kids. They know a little bit, maybe they know a lot, and they think they know everything.

Allow me to explain. (And please keep in mind that this is partly in response to a lot of ugliness about feminism I’ve been seeing around Tumblr, and partly in response to trying to marshal my thoughts on the new David Levithan novel, Two Boys Kissing. It is not a reasoned, quotable essay; it is a record of my own thoughts and feelings. It may veer into the tactlessly bitter.)

This afternoon, a couple of teenagers (not a teenage couple) came in and immediately started talking about the books, loudly and with the kind of indubitable, indignant authority sometimes displayed by the whip-smart young (and by the insecure intellectual male of any age). Well, the girl was doing the talking, anyway. She was clearly an authority on LGBTQ lit and declared herself the guy's Sassy Gay Friend.

Of The Song of Achilles: “The Greeks were way into homosexuality.” Of a number of YA books: “Stonewall” (that’s a British LGBTQ award). Of Cinder: “It was okay.” Of The Princess Bride: “That is the greatest book ever, and if you disagree, you are wrong.” On Teen Wolf: “If you are a lesbian, you will die! ‘Don’t be like this; you will die in a thousand horrible ways.’”

(This is a valid criticism: Danny is openly gay and the whole school’s darling, but the only lesbians were the Victim Couple at the beginning of Season 3, one of whom died horribly. It should be pointed out, though, that the role of Victim Couple is usually played by a straight pair, such as on Every Episode of Supernatural Ever. And the Victim Lesbians were adorable, right up until one of them got ritually murdered. Why did you have to murder one of the Adorable Victim Lesbians, show? They were so adorable.)

The girl approved of Will Grayson, Will Grayson and went into passionate, worshipful ecstasies on the subject of John Green. And, listening, I wanted to ask her: Have you liked any YA LGBTQ books by women? Any at all? How about Ash, Huntress, Pink, Parrotfish, Luna, If You Could Be Mine, Sister Mischief, Silhouette of a Sparrow?

Her companion said, mildly, “I’m a marketing guy” and bought The Fault in Our Stars, Ready Player One, and Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls.

And I thought, just a little bit, Teenagers. They get to know a little, and suddenly they think know everything.

But I also thought, They’re so much smarter about this stuff than we were at that age (“we” being the teenage peer group I grew up with in rural Northern California, myself included). And I think that’s partly because they have a literature we didn’t: a readily available literature that discusses sexuality and gender and race with teens as the focal point, teen experiences as the central narrative. They have a critical vocabulary and a hundred ways and places to talk about it that we didn’t have.

Don’t stop thinking. Don’t stop talking. Think more, talk more, listen more too.

(Ask yourself why all the authors you’re worshipping are men.

(Ask your Marketing Guy friend.)
timeripple: (t-rex agent of chaos)
Instead of using some fortuitous free days to write Very Serious Professional Book reviews, I wrote the following plot summary of [livejournal.com profile] blackholly's new book, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. I'm too pretty to d-- )
timeripple: (fyeah curly redheaded heroines)
It’s Rimsky-Korsakov day on my local public radio. Symphony #2 “Antar” in f# Op 9 yesssss. Apparently it’s also Knightly Theme Day, which is making me nostalgic for that one epics class back in college that, while a total joke, was super interesting.
...

Sometimes the only way to find out what’s going on is to hack into your superior’s email account. (Is it still hacking if he or she told you his or her password so you could get people’s email addresses? And if you told him or her ahead of time that you were doing it?)

You know it’s time to find a new line of employment when one of your senior colleagues says, “We love having you around, but—not to insult myself—you are wasted on this job.” Don’t I know it.

Despite all of that, work is going well, and not spending every day completely frustrated and angry is an improvement over last year.

I had a pretty quiet Fourth of July: had the day off work; got teary over the Declaration of Independence, as is my way; made berry crumble (it was going to be pie but I ran out of energy). I was going to go see the fireworks at the marina, but as I walked downtown to catch the bus, I grew increasingly apprehensive. The streets were almost totally deserted except for the homeless people. I spent 15 creepy minutes waiting for the bus to show up late and drive right by, crammed with drunk firework-goers, at which point I gave up and came back home. I spent the evening eating crumble and trying to reassure Copernicus, who did not like the firework noises in the slightest. Poor kitty.

Today I mostly spent passed out on my bed; I think I’ve finally caught whatever cold is going around at work. Copernicus deigned to nap beside me for a while, a gesture of great catly magnanimity. He was not impressed with either of my reading materials (ARCs by [livejournal.com profile] blackholly and [livejournal.com profile] catvalente).

Super excited to go see the Joss Whedon Much Ado movie with my friend AG tomorrow.

And finally, a very happy not-quite-belated birthday to [livejournal.com profile] snowqueenofhoth! I hope you had a lovely day and ate many strawberries.
timeripple: (i said nothing)
I don’t understand how the year can have got to the end of June without my noticing, but I blame it on my housemate’s cat, Copernicus. He is an enormous ginger tabby, and most distracting, though a good companion. He likes to listen to me fiddling and serenading the neighbors with increasingly bizarre versions of Bach minuets on the fancy electronic keyboard. (This is not all that impressive, since two and a half Bach minuets and a very short Mozart thingy are all I actually know how to play.) He also likes to chase (but not eat) hair ties, and to crouch in his crinkly tunnel, only to spring out at a bit of plumy feather at the end of a string tied to a stick. He stomps across the floor if he thinks you’re not paying him enough attention.

In other news, I’ve been settling into my new home, figuring out my commute to work, watching Supernatural (it’s so bad, and yet so amazing), being polite to people with bizarre book requests, running events, filling in for our children’s buyer, reading ARCs at top speed, and totally failing to work on any of my own writing. Though I did rescue the new Penguin Classics De Profundis and Other Prison Writings by Oscar Wilde from the give-away shelf, and have started reading it. (It’s not directly relevant to my work, but it does have to do with applying Greek philosophical writings to Victorian life, so.)

Berkeley is so weird. It’s a lot like Cambridge, only more so. And I keep finding that people are very, very invested in promoting and maintaining a binary gender dichotomy. Is it because mostly I interact with fairly affluent parents while at work? And yet other people, who I might expect to be less invested, are equally so. Do they not realize they live in Berkeley? Does "Berkeley" not mean what I thought it means? I have to say, this is not what I thought the biggest cultural difference from the East Coast would entail. (Well, this and food service.) I didn’t think people would be surprised whenever I go around muttering “Gender is a social construct!” under my breath.

I miss you all so. I woke up this morning fiercely homesick for Wellesley. I’ve been thinking a lot about its rhetoric lately, I suppose; though what I miss is not the rhetoric but my people, both those I met there and later, elsewhere.

Also chai. I’ve found two good places near work, but so far everything in North Berkeley is complete swill, or worse. (Seriously. Last week I had a very nice cup of spiced hot water and mint that tasted like it had never seen tea. I could do better myself with a Lipton bag and no cinnamon.) Happily, the muffins remain excellent. As Oscar Wilde no doubt knew, it is important not to underestimate the importance of a good muffin.
timeripple: (fake texting (it's super important))
I am aware of the fact that I failed to post a single entry during May. In my defense, I was apartment-hunting (again) and generally being stressed with work stuff. And stuff.

But! The good news is that I have started a semi-professional book review blog, Clarissa's Bookshelf. It ties into my day job, so it definitely won't replace LJ, but a lot of my book-blogging energies are going in that direction at the moment. I'll still flail about dramas and life and books here, of course! As if anything could stop me from doing that (aside from LJ's apparent trajectory of rendering itself unusable, that is)!

Love you, miss you. Hope to post more once I've moved into my new place. It's in the Gourmet Ghetto, so... be prepared for a lot of flailing about food. Nom nom!

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