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Happy Poetry Month! Here, have some nonsense.

The Jumblies
by Edward Lear

They went to sea in a Sieve, they didCollapse )
Current Mood: energeticenergetic
Current Music: those magic changes
31 December 2014 @ 09:22 pm
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!
Current Mood: coldcold
Current Music: Dvorak, Symphony from the New World
06 August 2014 @ 11:10 am
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 stormCollapse )
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Current Mood: sleepysleepy
Current Music: Árstíðir - Heyr, himna smiður
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.
Current Mood: productiveproductive
Current Music: Pat Benatar - We Belong
30 April 2014 @ 11:37 pm
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)
Current Mood: sleepysleepy
29 March 2014 @ 11:25 pm
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 (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 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.
Current Mood: FEELINGS
Current Music: Dvorak - Symphony No. 9
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 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.
Current Mood: fullfull
Current Music: Shostakovich--Jazz Suite #2
31 December 2013 @ 11:35 pm
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.
Current Mood: tenuous
Current Music: Alasdair Fraser - Neil Gow's Lament for the Death of His Second Wife
30 November 2013 @ 11:08 am
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 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.
Current Mood: coldcold
Current Music: KDFC: Dvorak, "In Nature's Realm:
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.


Happy Halloween.
Current Mood: sleepysleepy
Current Music: Loreena McKennitt - All Souls Night