Thursday, September 30
Wednesday, September 29
I sat in a little restaurant drinking coffee tonight after walking down there all cold and shivery. Have I said yet that I like to be a bit cold? To feel the autumn! Yes . . . Anyhow, I was thinking how nice it would be to have walked down there all tired and foozly only to be met with warm food and a sweet aunt-like figure who always tells you how skinny you are and how you should eat more and an uncle-like person who always tells jokes and remembers things in a most eccentric fashion. Also, the sherry. I have found that on freezycold winter nights I like a small glass of sherry. It tastes warm and cozy.
Yes, I am weird. I like mead and sherry but not red wine and not beer (bar a little guinness). Weirdo. Why am I blogging about alcohol? I rarely ever drink the stuff, and I certainly didn't tonight unless they put something weird into my coffee that I didn't taste.
Oh, and I've gotten a few remarks saying that I seemed to be out of temper and I also said something about "giving up men" in my last blog entry, which led people to believe that I was lonely. Or something. They usually trail off before the conclusion. I am fine. The quote was from Bridget Jones, for pete's sake. I'm out of temper today because of some gross incompetence on my class boards. The two are very different.
And, the end of Bridget Jones was funny, but I think less of Mark Darcy for having sex with Bridget on their first date, which is rather a frightening concept after the whole point of the book comes out . . . but then Bridget isn't exactly the epitome of anything pure or . . . of average intelligence, even . . .
alas. I will stick to reading Lord Peter Wimsey novels from here on out. At least until I get a hold of the next Bridget Jones book.
Tuesday, September 28
I've also decided that I don't like making desserts.
Time to go sit in bed and read Bridget Jones' Diary and giggle helplessly into sleep.
"I've decided: I'm giving up men. And carbohydrates."
Monday, September 27
I previewed a movie for our local youth group, on homosexuality. It isn't blatantly, bible-thumpingly Christian, which is a real plus. I hate it when they do that. I almost wish I had been part of a healthy youth group when it was my turn to be in a youth group because then I might be able to figure out how other people think about it. I have a gay friend and I've had a friend who decided she was a lesbian, therefore I want to think hard because I care for these people. But then, to the liberal eye, everything I say here will be taken out of context and twisted into meaning that I am homophobic. Weirdos.
Bweh. I got absolutely nothing done today. Not a bit. Not a sniffle. But! I am wearing a fiendish t-shirt. I am now listening to "Goodnight, My Love (Pleasant Dreams)" by Harry Connick Jr. and humming along. I'm going to be a sap and burn rose oil tonight. I'm out of bergamot, now, which will shortly make me depressed, until I forget about it.
I want to wake up tomorrow and be able to see what I am. This is a problem right now. At least, for somebody like me, who wants to know myself, it is a big problem when I do things and can't figure out why I do them. Not a comfortable mystery, like those of the universe. Entirely practical and affecting my everyday activities, this mystery is unpleasant and distasteful.
And I probably shouldn't be blogging it because one day when I am rich and famous and entirely self-absorbed, somebody will remind me of it and I will fall, like Citizen Kane's second wife, and I will end up drunk, talking to reporters. At a night club. Oh, the adventurous life of a blogger. Thrilling. Really.
Sunday, September 26
Thank goodness the paper is in. The first one of the term, too! I'm surprised it took this much out of me, but I suppose I should have known the way I have been reading and humming along this summer. We'll see how it goes.
The wind is threshing dust and leaves outside my window, and my cat thinks I am an idiot for being up at midnight. She is right, as usual. Listening to Jars of Clay's "Worlds Apart", thinking about odd things people have said to me this past week, wishing for stupid, useless things, and remembering--oddly enough--an old Sunday school lesson taught to me by a hero of mine who doesn't know he's a hero.
And now, time to braid the hair and crawl into bed. If you ever get the chance and want to see a bit of how I wish my mind would work, please read Gaudy Night. It sounds weird but it really is very good, and very revealing of humanity, even if I don't really like Harriet all that much. Oh dash it all.
Saturday, September 25
Today is the "continuing writing the paper" day and I really can't figure out why it isn't just flying off my fingers and finished last night. Honestly, I expected it to be. I guess I haven't written an academic paper in a couple of months and so now it feels weird to be doing so. This paper isn't exactly intellectually stimulating, either. Stuffed full of generalizations and vague references. The few specific references are to bits of incoherent manuscript full of symbolism we hardly recognize.
Ok, enough griping, dear. Time to get to work seriously this time instead of writing a blog entry which won't really inspire you any more than the spearmint oil or the coffee, which, by the way, are tasting and smelling oddly because of each other.
Two bottles of water, a Staedtler Mars Plastic eraser, my trusty mechanical pencil, and Take Five. There are plenty of bits of paper lying around and I can also use my white board. Right-ho, Jeeves.
Friday, September 24
This is the introductory paragraph to a paper I am writing on the principle characteristics of Old English Poetry--one of those papers that the professor requires so he doesn't freak out the first time he gets a real paper from you.
Thursday, September 23
Also, one of my classmates made a hilarious bunch of "Freudian" slips (Freudian because we were talking about gender symbolism) and I couldn't stop laughing for Quite Some Time. I hope she meant it to be a play on words because if she didn't I am SO in trouble. Even now, I can't help from giggling.
Right, so I'm sleepy. Or maybe just tired. In any case, I'm going to put on comfy pjs and sleep, and try not to kick the cat off the end of my bed. Stupid thing thinks it OWNS the spot. Maybe it does.
Anyway, it was a bad day yesterday, and a bad morning this morning, and I have some things to think through before letting my mind wander while my mouth is open. Write that down.
I did book-cross something yesterday evening at the library with a post-it note on it that proclaimed its interest in social reform and liberation. However, I did not get that outline written. Drat it all. It is due next week. Or the end of this week. That means I have only a bit of time left. At the time, though, it seemed much more important for me to be running errands with a sister.
Glumly gloomy obfuscations. Anyway. I have a bit of Anglo-Norman literature to hum about and a poem to vivisect before lighting votive candles to the patron saint of outlines.
I did find an interesting article that might be interesting to Certain Persons who may or may not be reading this blog.
Tuesday, September 21
I am finishing up Peredur today, rereading a lot of Old English poetry in a hideous modern translation (excepting Pound, of course), and parading Sherlock Holmes' deductive reasoning around shamelessly with a lot of obvious conclusions about origin, feeling, theme, and other poetic devices. Also to do on the list is an outline for that paper--tomorrow I will sit at the library and type it up (I can also be sneaky and take something to book-cross).
I have a cafe latte on one side of my desk, a bottle of water on the other, and a packet of peanut M&Ms. I've shoved everything from my desk (well almost everything) into someplace where it won't bother me, and now I should be ready to yell a battle cry and plunge into the studying binge I've been hoping to accomplish since the last time it happened . . . Somehow, I feel strangely reluctant. Oh, well. Tally-ho.
Monday, September 20
--1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
--1/2 cup milk
--1 cup butter, softened but not melted
--2 and 1/2 cups sugar
--2 teaspoons vanilla extract
--3 and 1/2 cups flour
--2 teaspoons baking soda
--1/4 teaspoon salt
--2 and 1/2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (brown and spotty and a little soft)
--2 cups chopped walnuts (not too small, but not half-walnuts)
--2 cups chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 and butter two loaf pans. If you don't do this, there are dire circumstances, like bread that won't come out of the pans.
Pour the lemon juice into the milk and stir until the milk is curdled. This smells bad, gets thicker, and clumps just a little. Set it aside, but not in an inaccessible place.
Beat together the butter, sugar, and vanilla until it is creamy. Add the eggs and make sure it is all mixed thoroughly. I use a Kitchen Aide thingy of my mum's instead of the traditional pewter cauldron, so it isn't much of a chore to mix stuff. The more you mix the eggs, the tougher they get, so go easy on them.
Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt, and then add the butter-sugar-vanilla to it as well as the curdled milk. Then stir in the bananas and the walnuts. And the chocolate.
Pour the batter into the buttered pans and then bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until you can stick a toothpick or a knife in and it comes out clean.
Let it sit until it cools or you will get a crumbly mess of falling-apart-banana-mush. Put the loaves on a rack to cool them, and then when they are relatively cool, slice and snaffle.
Recipe helped along by a Green Thumb cookbook but certainly adapted from it.
Ha. I have vanquished the kitchen. Mwahahahaha.
Sunday, September 19
I have a sneaky suspicion that the people who “cleverly” inserted the Christian traditions and symbolism into the story of the Grail were taking a leaf out of Paul’s book (pun intended). By using the symbolism that was already established, the missionaries would be able to explain Christianity in terms that the people understood. After all, the symbols that were in use already did have some connection to Christianity.
update: I deleted the rest of the post. It is just too long. If you want to know more, I can send it to you, but . . . right. That was a lot of stuff to read through, and not the best written, either. Tada.
Saturday, September 18
"Another distinguished writer, again, in commenting on the cave drawings attributed to the neolithic men of the reindeer period, said that none of their pictures appeared to have any religious purpose; and he seemed almost to infer that they had no religion. I can hardly imagine a thinner thread of argument than this which reconstructs the very inmost moods of the pre-historic mind from the fact that somebody who has scrawled a few sketches on a rock, from what motive we do not know, for what purpose we do not know, acting under what customs or conventions we do not know, may possibly have found it easier to draw reindeer than to draw religion."
--G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man
Thursday, September 16
Ok, I got fed-up saying that I was confused by Pagan symbolism.
"No one who is conversant with the way in which men's minds operated in the Middle Ages ought to find any difficulty in thinking of the Grail as a Christianization of a heathen vessel of plenty." (Brown)
This fits in with the place where the grail first appeared (in Chretien's version, p. 420) because it was in a feast hall, carried by a young woman who was accompanied by two young men. Youth and plentiful food might suggest abundance and fertility. Also interesting is that Pagan religions, such as Wicca, often think of their deity, or the Earth, as a Goddess. Maybe it is and maybe it is not a coincidence that it was a girl who carried the grail?
Also, according to the websites listed below which are about modern Pagan religions, water is also a symbol of fertility. Perceval's path changed when he came to the river and met the Fisher King (418). A symbols of the element of water (also according to the aforementioned websites) are chalices, goblets, cauldrons, cups, pitchers, and very likely these include something that could be a grail.
Brown also makes a case that the mentioning of fish in relation to the grail (Chretien 460, also thematically) might actually suggest an accident in the translation due to the fact that the Irish/Gaelic word for "fish" is spelled very like the word for "host" in French. He says that instead of the Fisher King living off of a single host served from the grail perhaps he lives off of some kind of fish (footnote 1, p. 402).
Brown, Arthur C. L. "From Cauldron of Plenty to Grail" Modern Philology, Vol. 14, No. 7. (Nov., 1916), pp. 385-404.link from JSTOR if you are at an on-site location.
This is a JSTOR article that I'm having trouble getting a link from. If I take the link they ask me to then when I click on it they tell me I have to be on campus! The other one should work, but I'm not sure if you have to be logged in or not. Use the keywords of the title and author to find it if you can't get to it from a link. Brown is a bit opinionated and the article does assume that you have a working knowledge of French and Latin, which I don't. It is neat to see how Chretien rhymes, though.
Spring Wolf. "The Alchemy of Life" Spring Wolf's Spiritual Education Network: The Pagan's Path" 1997-2004. last visited: 09-16-04. link
"Element Water" Pagan at Osn. last visited: 09-16-04. link
"Correspondences: Element of Water" PaganNews.com last visited: 09-16.04. link
Devorah. "Magickal Symbolism: Elements and Directions" Music for the Goddess last visited: 09-16-04. link
n.b. regarding the websites: These were not hard to find through Google.com but I should have taken a lengthier search on one of our college's databases to come up with possibly more reliable information.
Tuesday, September 14
The down side of this study is that I have over two hundred pages to read and I'm supposed to have finished them already this week. In that light, I am rather disappointed with myself, but reading it all last week would not have made it any easier for the information to sink in. Last week wasn't the best time to be doing serious stuff like that, anyway.
Thank heavens we are nearly done with Tristan. A new conference has been posted and suddenly a light beamed down from heaven and somewhere a harp struck a fabulous chord of C. Now we are going back to the Cretin, who is surprisingly better than Gottfried von Whatsisname, not for obvious reasons (unless you've read my last post). I had been about to go to desperate measures with the Cretin but with an air of counter-irritant-cy in waltzes von Whozawhat and then suddenly the Cretin became a nice guy.
Looking through the information that the internet has to offer at first pair of keywords, there are plenty of interesting things to see. One site has a complete libretto and a horrible midi file that plays Wagner's Parsifal, and another one has Grail earrings. Who would've known? The Pagan and Christian symbolism should be fun to nitpick out of this study. Through the Camelot Project, I found some easy-read pieces about the Cretin as well, which I'll definitely look over after I finish reading the assigned stuff.
Of all the stuff we've plowed through or happened upon this semester, only the story with Owein and the gwyddbwyll game compares with this in humor potential.
Saturday, September 11
Even by accident, it causes the downfall of two people who do not deserve to fall by such witchcraft. They must be absolved of their guilt, of course, because the potion must dissolve the bonds of free will and therefore make them inhuman, demons. Can you imagine being the figure behind the mask in your own nightmare?
Their worship of Truth and Beauty and every good thing becomes a twisted freakish obeisance to every whim of lust.
The potion they drink tastes like wine, and it is something like the fruit of the vine used for holy communion with the Holy Spirit. Instead of bringing them closer to reality in truth and purity, which in their drugged stupor they mistake, it brings them closer to each other in physical embrace.
They made a pilgrimage to The Cave of Lovers after they were banished from her husband's kingdom. That cave is their temple, a Mecca for their love. The great marble bed stands like an altar in the center of the cave, where nothing is sacrificed to any higher cause than a couple's sex drive.
The real problem I have with this is not that they were actually given over to it, but that the author goes through the motion of writing about them as if they were in the right! It is enough to bring tears to the eyes that there was somebody with such stupidity given the gift of literacy.
I have decided to keep this blog for school purposes if nothing else. I am tending towards posting notes here, even if Mindsay is back and running . . . I've got to keep studying now and will probably update soon. Got a LOAD of work to do . . . *sigh*
Life is so awesome.
Friday, September 10
The fight scenes are riveting. Very cool. People try and make it sound boring by saying it is old, saying it is poetry, saying only dusty professors read it, but seriously this stuff is pretty cool:) I found a really neat site to go along with this too that I think I shall have to post on my class. Not only is it annoyingly formatted by it has good information.
The bit I especially like is the full translation with sound bites mixed in between. The sound clips are important because of meter and translation, which is difficult. The cool thing about the sound clips is that they are in a woman's voice! Ha!
Anyway, I can't find a good clip of my favorite part, talking about the sword that Beowulf used to kill Grendel's mother. It had been woven and carved with drawings of giants and how God drove them out with the flood. What it references is the Nephilim, who were supposedly Sons of God. This is a much-disputed bit of the Bible that is really fascinating. I intend to ask God about it one day when we are face to face. Or maybe there will be a book of Frequently Asked Questions.
The sword melts like an "icicle of gore" or something, and only the hilt is left because her blood boiled so hot that it melted his weapon . . . very cool stuff. I can't do justice to it here.
Right, time to sleep. Maybe Grendel's Mum was just PMS-y?
"So the wise man spoke in his heart, sat apart in private meditation. He is good who keeps his word; a man must never utter too quickly his breast's passion, unless he knows first how to achieve remedy, as a leader with his courage. It will be well with him who seeks favor, comfort from the Father in heaven, where for us all stability resides."
I also cannot figure out how to reply to comments here like I used to on Mindsay. So boo on Blogger. If you see your name in bold somewhere down the line it will be me responding to your comment.
Mindsay is coming along a little bit at a time, but I am having troubles with layout. I may decide simply update my blog once a week over there and keep this one. I don't know. I kind of like the change. *sigh* We shall see how things go.
Thursday, September 9
Tonight, at this house, there have been very strong winds that do not whip around or buffet stones but instead whistle through the cracks in the windows and doors. It sometimes feels as if there was an ocean lapping at the doorstep, making our haven treacherous to find and dangerous to navigate to. The winds come in September, a shadow of what they will be at full height and frenzy in November. Right now they are just crazymaking.
I'm sitting at the kitchen table this late at night with a cup of Earl Grey tea and knowing beyond doubt that the soles of my feet are clean and pink. This thought is comforting.
Wind whines and whines the shingle,
The crazy pierstakes groan;
A senile sea numbers each single
--james joyce, On the Beach at Fontana
Wednesday, September 8
I did finally get a tentative topic for my paper. I'm still unsure about it, though, so I emailed my professor and in his nearly infinite wisdom concerning these matters, I should expect a good response. I already expected one tonight, but I suppose he didn't check his email . . . drat!
Having decided that I would hide on my chat program to see who else was on while I listened to my newest favorite song (Other Hours by Harry Connick Jr.), a friend from thousands of miles away popped up and said hi. So five more minutes, I think, and then I shall act Endymion for at least seven hours.
Anyway . . . back to research . . . and doodling . . .
"You actually want to see THAT MUCH of MY writing??" and then the instructor nods woodenly and looks down in horrified realization at their Term Papers of Doom.
Whoop! Espresso is ready and I must away.
Tuesday, September 7
Oddly enough it occurred to me that all of the plums scattered across the orchard under the plum trees, a squashy path of them marking our footsteps thither, were irresponsibly creating a myriad of diarrhea cases merely by default.
Plum jam shall haunt me, plum pies, plum cakes, plum everything! Woe! Woe is me!
Ahem. I have done no "preliminary research" that I was going to do for my term paper. Drat.
Originally uploaded by anstruther.
I just posted huge entries into my Medieval and Renaissance Lit. class and I'm feeling very good about myself. Yay, me! I also posted a highly intelligent remark about Tristan and the little psychedelic lapdog that ran around the story. He was psychedelic, trust me. I'm not quoting it here, though, so you can forget about it. My penchant for research does not extend as far as Tristan's dog.
I am going to try posting a picture of my glorious self so that you can ogle at my gorgeous beauty. If all goes well it should be a picture of me in black and white at a German coffee shop with my arm hiding my face . . . not the best picture, but it is a good one. Thanks to my older sister for taking it:)
I still must do some preliminary research for my term paper. That shouldn't be too hard, though, with University subscriptions and beautiful things like that . . .
That post was for my Medieval and Renaissance Lit. class; we are studying the first hundred pages of the Norton Anthology of English Lit. (vol. 1) and most of it is Beowulf. Seamus Heaney does a very nice modern translation, a little akin to Fagle's translation of The Odyssey that I studied a bit last term. The modernity bothers me a little, though. I still need to post a substantial main topic on this class.
My other class, on Arthurian Legend, is due for a post on Tristan, which I find truly abhorrent. One cannot say this easily in class because of the ban on subjectivity which is enforced by a well-written, grumpy, concise comment by our Professor who in all other respects is an excellent instructor; possibly one of my favorites. (I can say that here because I posted the address to my Mindsay blog in our introductory discussion of "who's who" in the online classroom, where several other people posted theirs.) In any case, Tristan needs some attention. If all goes well I can lambast him and Gottfried von Strassburg properly if my wit is in top form. ha ha. ha.
I'm having trouble writing here. Usually I can come up with something creative for my blog entries, but this just seems to be all administration information that sounds like it should have "--MGMT" at the end of it. I've put on a good CD of Beethoven's sonatas and there is fresh espresso in front of me. Perhaps what is daunting me is the term paper due for the Arthurian class; 10-15 pages which have no business being difficult as I enjoy most of the subject very much.
*sigh* Maybe later I can get in a bit of reading for my field studies class--presently for that class I've got a good bit of James Joyce to mull over.
Monday, September 6
Synecdoche and metonymy are common figures of speech as when keel is used for "ship" or iron, for "sword." A particularly striking effect is achieved by the kenning, a compound of two words in place of another as when sea becomes "whale-road" or body is called "life-house."
In the second sentence of Caedmon's Hymn, for example, God is referred to five times appositively as "he," "holy Creator," "mankind's guardian," "eternal Lord," and "Master Almighty." This use of parallel and appositive expressions, known as variation, gives the verse a highly structured and musical quality. (Norton)
There is a contemporary writer, Calvin Miller, whose poetry reflects these literary figures in extreme. In his epic poem "The Singer", he retells Christian history with allegory. Snippet alert:
The River Singer finished and
they walked into the trees.
"Are you the Troubador, who
knows the Ancient Star-Song?"
the tradesman softly asked.
In the Bible, this passage is originally the beginning of the book of Mark. The River Singer is John the Baptist, the Troubador is the Christ, and the Ancient Star-Song is the Truth.
The overall effect of the language is to formalize and elevate speech. Instead of being straightforward, it moves at a slow and stately pace with steady indirection. A favorite mode of this indirection is irony. A grim irony pervades heroic poetry even at the level of diction where fighting is called "battle-play." A favorite device, known by the rhetorical term litotes, is ironic understatement. (Norton)
I'm having a bit more trouble discerning ironic understatement from the technique of foreshadowing; I'm supposing it comes from looking through too many books whose plot-twists I am familiar with . . . Actually quite funny:)
More than a figure of speech, irony is also a mode of perception in Old English poetry. In a famous passage, the Wanderer articulates the theme of Ubi sunt (where are they now): "Where had the horse gone? Where the young warrior? Where the giver of treasure? . . . " (Norton)
This one is interesting in relation to modern poets because nearly everybody has recently seen an example of this in a movie, which based on a book that was written by a man who also translated Beowulf. Allow me to present Tolkien with his absurd triad of initials and his remarkable story about a Ring. In one scene in the movie--more people will remember this than the book, I think--King Theoden of Rohan is being armed for battle and he recites an old poem exactly in this style and very similar to the one quoted:
"Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
[full text located at the end of this page]
So alike, in fact, that somebody else noticed it too, which happily validates the point a little more.
?. "Old English Poetry." Norton Anthology of English Literature. Eds. M.H. Abrams et al. 4th ed. vol. 1. New York: Norton, 1999. p 5-6.
Miller, Calvin. "The Singer". Inter Varsity Press: 1975. p 17.
Tolkien, J.R.R. "The Two Towers". Lord of the Rings. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1992. p 530. Published online by seatofkings.com at an unknown date; last visited 09.07.04.
There is no time to post more at the present because the floor outside my room is now dry, leaving a path for me to skip across the landing and go clean the bathrooms. Oh joy.
Until a later date when time is not of such vital importance,
So "testing. one. two. three." Up, up, and away!