Oct 25, 2009

Paper faces on parade: Masquerade

     Haha.  It is still 85 degrees in the day here in sunny Orlando.  Sucks to be cold!

     BBC has caught me up again.  I finished listening to And Another Thing... as read by BBC 4 and stumbled around their site to listen to a very nice half hour show called The Grand Masquerade about the puzzle-book Masquerade written in 1979.  It created a whole craze about it since it was an actual treasure hunt.  There are some in America but most of them are about and in Britain.  The prize is usually worth every frustrated second of painful mind-bending and illogical puzzle solving.  If I had time and effort I'd definitely join this idea.  I used to do easy-peasy versions of this as a kid... although I did suck at those.  Maybe my mind is a little sharper now.  Although reading the answers to them are more convoluted than a well-fleshed conspiracy theory.

     So I don't want to brag but one of the roomies was editing a fellow's fiction paper.  I lent a hand since she was pretty flustered and all but this thing reads like an ideal version of the cult fiction I read about.  There was an idealized character who said everyone was blind except him.  He was isolated because he was so "smart" even though it wasn't anything great.  He had a philosophy that had to be understood without explanation and the whole thing reeked of Ayn Rand.  I commented that and in fact I was spot on.  Her writings were a cornerstone in the ideas for the story.  I called it straight out.  Although he didn't have black emo-hair.  Still, I got the big one.

     On the book front I have finished another two books: The Messiah of Stockholm and Animal Farm.  Neither were the book I had thought to grab at the library last post but oh well.  Messiah is an amazing book about  man discovering himself as a definition of who he is and not what he might be.  It's about losing innocence long after you should have lost it and how ideals can kill you as easily as save you.  Definitely worth at least a single read-though.  Animal Farm was just about what I expected although I kept applying it to Chinese Maoism as well as to USSR early history.  The pictures turned it into a gruesome storybook and made it a bit more horrifying to read.  Still working through some of the non-fiction on the 501 books but no luck getting through them yet.  They just drag on for so long!

501 Books current count: 35 read and 3 in the works

Oct 22, 2009

Interesting facts about authors

    OK, more a single interesting fact about a single author.  Poul Anderson who wrote classic fantasy and scifi titles from the 50's and 60's including Three Hearts, Three Lions and The Broken Sword was a founding member of the Society for Creative Anachronisms which is pretty much a permanent, more fleshed-out Renassaince Faire.  Tad and I (hah! he said I could use his name) joined it to enjoy it (and spend hours researching something we love) with some friends last year but now we have parted and it isn't as much fun.  We are 9th century nobles from China and Japan, respectively.  That's why I want to sew my Heian costume for Halloween and he has a facsimile of a T'ang scholars outfit.  Created by yours truely!  I have some Poul Anderson books and to give you an example of SCA just read Three Hearts, Three Lions.  In the end it is an idealized dreamworld of an earlier period of knights and courtesy and plagues.  Ok, not the plagues so much.

     On the book front I am working through Out of the Silent Planet another scifi by an unexpected author, C.S. Lewis.  In his attempt in 'Catholicism throughout reading' he has broken free from Narnia and explored into the depths of space.  I'm only halfway through it because I made an apple pie yesterday.  But no icecream.  I also took out an illustrated version of Animal Farm, sure I know the plot but I have never actually finished the book.  The illustrations turn this from a story into a macabre children's book.  Just think about it for a minute and tell me it doesn't disturb you.  I bet it does.

     I actually forgot Silent Planet today and I'm stuck in the library for another few hours until I finish helping a friend with his math so instead I will grab yet another book to begin.  I was looking for Hermann Hesse (he wrote Demian and The Glass-Bead Game) but the library carries neither of these.  Also 1984, Catch-22 and at least one other book I looked for are all checked out until next year!  Actually, I own an audio version of 1984 and read at least half of Catch-22 before I had to return it last time.  Still, not complete!

     It looks like I might be starting The Invention of Morel but who knows if it's actually on the shelf.  Stupid people reading books.  That's my job!

Oct 20, 2009

I never quite got the hang of Tuesday

     Well, I have another book to check off my lists: Clockwork Orange.  Turns out there is another chapter than the Kubrick movie had.  Despite the author's adamant protests I don't know if it was worth the change in the pace of the story.  I'm pretty bored and sleepy but the night keeps on existing.  I get to go to Disney Friday so hopefully I will have a few good photos to add on.  Until then, my friends.

Oct 18, 2009

Yay, I'm no longer talking to myself!

     I would like to thank Stacey and EqyLlzQ_yu67HbR3E9Q9YRzElzgx1g8-, whose unique name I will never remember, for being the first two people to follow my blog.  That means I can no longer just ramble on and on about anything without regard to decency and society...  Or can I?  Either way, it's nice to talk to an audience of any size besides 0.

     Well as I stated the intent of I visited parents and returned home with everything I came for (except a Pur filter as they use Brita) and more fruits and veggies than I know what to do with.  The weather finally went back under 80 degrees yesterday thus officially marking the beginnings of the fall-like non-season here in the most southern state.  As befits a lifer from Florida I was enraptured and then uncompromisingly cold. I mean, it is according to WUnderground 54.4 degrees.  In October none the less!  At least a third of the emotion stuffed in that last sentence was sarcasm although the rest may have been something near confusion and dismay.  Other great thing is I came back with a tin of Darjeeling tea to make constantly.  My first pot was amazing and reminded me to start working on Halloween costumes, which I mostly haven't.

     The hushand's costume has already come together a bit as he now has a ninja mask and I am providing a white lab coat.  That's right, what an amazing guess, he's Dr. McNinja!  I'd give a prize but it would probably be squash or something right now. 

     One last note here before my eyes cross completely: the earrings in the header up top here were made by a friend of mine Laura and I want to thank her here again because they have encouraged me to keep up a blog and be proud of it.  So thanks Laura!

Oct 17, 2009

Visiting parents

     Time for car registration renewal and since it still comes to my parents I headed over there for a good 24 hrs or so of their love and care.  I actually used my laptop to listen to BBC's In Our Time for three separate episodes.  I think that catches me up although I am slowly wading my way through a few new podcasts.  Was able to actually do my partial differentials HW today, despite my total belief that I wouldn't understand anything going on in the chapter.  Now all I have due is three HW for my electronics lab and even more joy!! I have to finish a take-home test as well.  Then I have two tests on Thursday one of which is relativity.  Blerg.  Without a doubt that will be the worst test I take.

     In other news I started advertising the blog out to others.  I posted it on my facepage ((haha, thanks for that Meeples)) and gave it to a few friends.  I haven't decided my policy on using real names yet although I think I'd better soon.  Some people don't like to be mentioned on the internet and others completely take it in stride.  Hmm...  Will consult others and get a general consensus of all those whose name would likely appear in it at some point or another.  I should start worrying about pictures as well.

Oh well, not tonight.  Right now the lack of sleep has caught up with me.  Time for the sandman and his A Capella group to come.

Oct 16, 2009

Quantum HW Hell

It is 6AM and I didn't sleep.  I spent about 4 of the last 6 hours working on quantum HW.  I just don't feel comfortable working normalization integrals.  No matter what I do, they never look right and I feel awkward even setting them up.  I just need to do them and stop wimping out.  I have 3 problems left.  I have been instead rediscovering the amazing group The Freelance Astronauts.  Just listening to them makes me a happy, happy person.  Not going to type more because I still have HW due and three problems to do.  Only really nice thing is that I plan on visiting my parents this weekend and getting my car registration, a new Pur filter and I'm sure something else.  Alas and I'll drive with no sleep...  Assuming it takes me another 2 hours to finish this damn chapter.

Oct 15, 2009


     Learned a new word today: psychomachias, which is the state of conflict in the soul between the spirit and the flesh or between good and evil, in a much more generalized sense.  That is the neatest thing to happen.  Met my brother and his wife and my niece for lunch.  My niece slept the whole time, of course, after having been screaming and blissfully crazy as Disney the whole day.  P.F. Chang's is very bland, really, nothing great in their ma po tofu in at least.  The fried green beans were good but I think that was more to do with the spicy sauce, very fatty and mayonnaise flavored than anything else.

     Made a new header for the blog even though I think I'm the only reading it at the moment.  Pretty good job with the picture I think since it was made without anything more fancy than a scanner.  I have no camera so the variegated background is because the earrings are propping the scanner lid up.  Reading a new book, The Hour of Our Death and so far seems great.  One of the books on the list, but I'll tell you all about it when it is over and done with.

     On the Halloween front, I don't even know if the roommates are having that party or not.  My costume was going to be Heian noblewoman.  Ideas are here (first pic) and here.  The second is a bit late, Tomoe Gozen the famous swordswoman who fought in the Gempai Wars in the 12th century Japan.  It involves about 6 layers, which with the weather still hovering between 80 and 90 in the daylight hours, is more absurd than I will admit to.  Still, it looks amazing and I need to get something sewn and soon.  I haven't moved the machine since I stuck it on the bookcase when I moved in two weeks ago.  Oh well, back to death and all our macabre traditions.

Oct 13, 2009

Cult Fiction

     Maybe you've never read one of these, a cult book. Not a book to start cults but a books that inspires people into cult-like behavior. After moaning last night about the end of Leibowitz I searched the University's library for any literary critiques or essays on it. I found a great resource for new books in Classic Cult Fiction: a companion to popular cult literature. As I was looking through the suggested literary cult classics I noticed that many were required high-school reading and others classics in their own rights. I include the list below with stars next to the ones I have already read. The ones in bold are also on the 501 Books list:
Against Nature
Animal Farm
Another Roadside Attraction
Been Down so Long It Looks Like Up to Me
Bell Jar
Brave New World*
Canticle for Leibowitz*
Catcher in the Rye
Clockwork Orange
Day of the Locust
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
The Great Gatsby
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy*
The Killer Inside Me
Lady Chatterley's Lover
Look Homeward, Angel
Lord of the Flies*
Lord of the Rings*
Lost Horizon
Lucky Jim
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
The Outsider
The Outsiders*
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
A Seperate Peave
The Sorrows of Young Werther
The Stand
The Stranger
Stranger in a Strange Land
The Sun Also Rises
The Teachings of Don Juan
This Side of Paradise
Time and Again
Trout Fishing in America
2001: A Space Odyssey
Walden 2
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Mantainance

Canticle for Leibowitz

383:Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller, Jr.

I mourn the end of this book. It was that strange Hegelian feeling of wanting the end and shunning the coming parting between the book and myself. I hadn't realized how much time and effort I had spent reading and internalizing the precious agony of this book. Without a doubt this book will belong on my shelf. Next to a Latin dictionary, assuming I haven't already scribbled notes in the margin for the untranslated parts.

Quick plot summary:

Post nuclear war- knowledge destroyed, the priesthood hiding all knowledge remaining and humanity at the brink of complete anarchy. It is three parts, during the dark ages, the renascence of human ingenuity and the zenith of the following civilization. Also, random untranslated Latin which always whets my interest. I won't give plot devices away because I think this is a book to read yourself.

I always wanted to be a monk as a child, not a nun but a monk as pictured in the old novels. I wanted to glorify (not God, even as a child) in the knowledge and the preservation of it to the next generation preferably by reading. I am no Christian, although being raised Lutheran I have my own views on Christ and the "coming absolution" of humanity. I read the book as a focus of the human spirit and the divine (err.. not the best term but it is 2:30AM) qualities of our endurance and hope. This was written mid-Cold War.

One day I will draw a summary between the year a sci-fi book was written and the major themes of the novel. Even in this most imaginative genre there is little variation on a theme.

I believe this is a great random segue into the ending of this post. Next time I hope to introduce things a bit better and without the tangent at the finish.