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Stark Raving Sane
Mens regnum bona possidet
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1st-Dec-2013 12:00 am - [sticky post] Friends Only
Lord of the Rings: Anduin

I'll probably post a public entry every once in a while, but nearly all of them will remain friends-locked. 

I like friends, so if I know you in some way, comment to be added.  Unless you're an axe-murderer.  But then, even if you are, I'm not an axe, so it probably wouldn't matter.  

Be warned, though, most of my entries aren't particuarly exciting.   

(Banner byorange_yarn, featuring the wonderful show Pushing Daisies.  RIP.)
11th-Nov-2010 02:33 pm - Haitus
Lord of the Rings: Anduin

I hate to do this, but I've got to give Livejournal a rest for a bit.  It's the most horrible time of the year... crunch time!  I need to get off LJ and do my giant pile of assignments, and the only way I can force myself to do that is to tell everyone that I won't be around.

So if I I'm not posting or making comments to your entries, it's not that I've dropped off the face of the earth, and it's not that I don't like you.  It's that I'm frantically finishing assignments.

And so, I leave you with this comic.  Which probably amuses... only me. 
6th-Dec-2009 10:59 pm - Je me souviens
Lord of the Rings: Anduin
Twenty years ago on this date, a lone gunman walked into Montreal's École Polytechnique and killed fourteen people before turning the gun on himself. His victims were all female and most were studying to be engineers. Twenty-four people in total were wounded in the attack. When one of the students asked why he was there, he answered, "You're women, you're going to be engineers. You're all a bunch of feminists. I hate feminists."

I have never particularly wanted to be an engineer. Or a doctor, or a lawyer, or a politician. But I have never questioned that I could be any of those things if I had had such a desire. Neither did the Montreal students, and neither did the thousands of others who were in Canadian universities and colleges in 1989. I am happy that I have the chance to choose what I will do with my life; I am hurt and angry that those fourteen women will never have that chance. There is no excuse for that.

The title to this entry is a misnomer: I do not personally remember when this happened. I was just over three years old; nobody tries to explain something like that to a toddler. But I have lived with the collective memory of it ever since. Each year at school there were memorials and announcements, and the newspapers still run commemorations and commentaries. The Montreal massacre has become a symbol of equal rights and of the struggle to end violence against women. Whether or not we think that making it a such a symbol is the right way to look at it, the important thing is that we do look at it. It reminds us that even the things we take for granted are sometimes endangered. After all, things are still not perfect ...and twenty years is not such a long time.
If I didn't love the Sons of Maxwell before, I would now. Apparently United Airlines broke Dave Carroll's guitar a year ago and has refused to pay compensation. So like any decent musician would, he's written a hilarious country song about it:

Over a 1.3 million plays in four days... not bad!
11th-Mar-2009 11:33 am - "For as myn auctour seyde, so sey I."
Lord of the Rings: Anduin
Some musings on popular culture, spanning several centuries and using ridiculously sweeping generalizations. 

Lately I, and many other people, have been lamenting the state of popular entertainment.  Reality shows aside (because that would be a rant all in itself), most of the successful shows, movies, etc. are basically remakes of older ideas.  A book is made into a movie, which is then made into a televison show; an older movie is remade into a newer movie; comic books become movies and television shows become comics; books and films rely more on sequels and prequels than on new ideas.  What hit me today is that this is not a new phenomenon.  In fact, the medievalist in me should have embraced it long ago.  While the strategy of reworking old ideas has been common for centuries, it really hit its stride in the Middle Ages.

Medieval Europe did not generally prize originality.  Or rather, they didn't prize it in terms of content.  If you can present an old story in a new way, that's fantastic.  If you have a new story that you want to tell, you'd darn well better lie and say that you found it in some old book written by a guy with a Latin name.  It was almost always safer to have an "authority" (or "auctour") on which you based your work, or at least parts of it.  (This was obviously long before copyright laws.  But then, the longer your authority has been dead, the better, so the books would have been in the public domain for ages before it was worth stealing from them.)  Nearly everything Chaucer wrote is gleaned from other sources -- some of the Canterbury Tales are almost word-for-word translations -- and the genius is that Chaucer told the tales better than anyone else.  So really, taking an old story and adapting it is not limited to the present age.  The difference is that modern culture claims to value fresh ideas and daring concepts.  I think that's where the problem lies.  At least the Middle Ages were honest about appealing to the authority of older texts; we're just too afraid to try new concepts.

I'm still mourning the loss of one of the few new, original shows on TV (Pushing Daisies, I still love you!), but it's nice to know that a derivative culture can still produce something great.  Well, at least in theory.  Setting aside some decent retellings of old myths, I have yet to see Revenge of the Killer Asparagus IX laballed as the next Morte D'Arthur.
16th-Jan-2009 11:39 am(no subject)
I think this year's Latin bootcamp is officially getting to me.  Case in point: last night I tried to spell "illustrious" as "illustrius."  And over the Christmas holidays I declined my cousins' names.  Two of them end with -a (first declension) and one with -er (second declension), so it was easy. ;) 

Oh, and I am in love with my Chaucer class. 

Right, back to studying.  There's a quiz today in -- you guessed it -- Latin.  I'll do a real update later, and I'll try to keep the medieval languages out of it.  I promise.
24th-Dec-2008 10:39 am - Christmas Eve
loud penguin

Just a quick note to say Merry Christmas to you all! 

Have a wonderful Christmas, and if the weather is as weird where you are as it is here, be careful on the roads!

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21st-Nov-2008 11:34 am - Pushing Daisies
Lord of the Rings: Anduin

Dear ABC,

Apparently you've cancelled Pushing Daisies, one of the funniest, most original shows on the air.  Congratulations.  Now there is officially nothing on your network that I care about.  Feel free to fill that hour with generic, soul-killing reality shows and reruns; I certainly won't be watching.  Congratulations.

17th-Oct-2008 05:00 pm - Computer troubles
Eddie Izzard Stonehenge
So my computer died yesterday. I took it in to the repair place and was told that it's probably the hard drive. Fantastic. I'm hoping that they can fix it, or at least that they have new hard drives on sale...

Ergo, I'm computer-less for awhile and writing this at one of the campus computer labs. The point of this is: don't send me anything urgent via the Internet!
25th-Sep-2008 05:42 pm - Fun fact for the day
Apparently at Kalamazoo (where the university holds a huge annual medieval studies conference) there's a group that gives mock papers. One year they wrote and presented a paper examining the time when Dante went to Ireland. "Apparently" while he was there, he invented limericks! Hahahahaha.

Now I have a new goal in life: write one of those papers. Maybe I'll pretend to discover new documents proving that Chaucer's cat allergy was the inspiration for the Canterbury Tales. Oh, and he went to Ireland too. To see Dante.

ETA: For Lord of the Rings fans, especially people who've read the books as well as seen the movies, here is LOTR Breadbox, a parody of all three films.  Bwahaha, genius.
17th-Jun-2008 01:15 pm - Community Plug
Lord of the Rings: Anduin
For any Harry Potter fans who have some time on their hands this summer, I present...

Application & Rules || Character Stamping || Apply for a Shop || Try out for Quidditch

Diffindo Elite is a Harry Potter hybrid sorting community. This means that, unlike other Harry Potter sorting communities, there are six houses, all mixtures of the four in canon: Gryffinpuff, Ravendor, Ravenpuff, Slytherclaw, Slytherdor, and Slytherpuff. Once you have been sorted into one of the houses, you have the opportunity to earn your house points by participating in various contests, Quidditch, and by opening a Shop! We all have a great time, and we would love for you to join today!

Click on the banner or click diffindo_elite to view the community!

We need new members! It's fun, in a nerdy sort of way. I know that some of you are familiar with this community or similar ones, but I'm putting it out there anyway. Come join! The people are lovely (if I do say so myself.) I'm a Ravenpuff (which means I'm a mix of Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw). And when people vote on where to "sort" you, it's like free psychoanalysis. If you do join (dooo it!), write that I referred you.
14th-Apr-2008 02:15 pm - News from Dog River
Lord of the Rings: Anduin
This coming season will be the last one for Corner Gas.  This is tragic.  The series finale will be in spring 2009, according to my friends down at the Internet.

Apparently they want to end it while they're on a roll, rather than have it continue indefinitely until it's no longer funny.  I suppose I understand, but it's hard to accept the immanent end of one of the best shows out there (in my humble opinion).

Excuse me while I go mourn.
19th-Feb-2008 06:23 pm - So excited it merits a public post
loud penguin
Amazon, I love you.  I've been looking for a copy of the Hilliard Ensemble's CD "Gesualdo Tenebrae" for years.  I finally found one at a reasonable price (it normally retails about $35), so that even with international shipping, I paid about $25 for the two-CD set.   Not bad for a CD that you can't find in stores and was even out of stock at Amazon for awhile.  I had to go to amazon.com, since the prices were lower there (nobody seems to have told amazon.ca that the dollar's at par).

Anyway, it arrived today!  My not-so-hidden nerd self is in ecstasies.  It's so good.  I adore a cappella voices.  The bass singer has a lower register that actually makes me weak in the knees, and the harmonies in general are fantastic.  Weird (for the Renaissance) dissonances, and then the resolution, always right in tune.  Ohmygoodnessitisamazing.

For Humanities people, this CD has the Miserere that we heard in second year (not the Allegri, the other one).  You might not remember it, but I do, and I've been looking for it ever since.  Luckily the rest of the recording is also gorgeous, or I would feel silly.  

So my quest is finally accomplished!  Not quite the Holy Grail, but what can you do.

(As I went back to Amazon to get the link, I noticed that the price had gone back up a little.  HA!)
2nd-Feb-2008 08:10 pm - A Rant on Capital Punishment
Lord of the Rings: Anduin
This has been bugging me for awhile now  The Canadian government has stopped petitioning for clemency on behalf of criminals on death row.  I don't mean in general -- I mean Canadians being held in countries that have the death penalty.  How do the Conservatives justify this?  Is it just that it was outside out borders, so they don't have to bother?  What's next, saying, "No, we don't torture, but we'll send you to some country that does so we don't get our hands dirty?"  (It's not like we'd be the first country to do it.)  Or will we start buying nuclear weapons and storing them on American soil?  That would be ridiculous.  If that doesn't make sense, then surely doing nothing while a Canadian citizen is executed doesn't make sense either.  

Yes, people who break the law ought to be punished and yes, all countries have a right to determine that punishment.  But the Canadian government should try to mitigate the sentence so that it is in accordance with Canadian policies.  Isn't that what embassies and diplomats are for, to intercede on behalf on citizens in foreign countries?  It can't be all about finding lost passports.  A Canadian citizen is a Canadian citizen, with all the rights that involves.  And that includes a right not to be executed, in my books.  Life in prison, fine; lethal injection, definitely not fine.  This sudden shift in policy is appalling.  The government's silence on capital punishment now looks like tacit consent, and that worries me. 

Also, on a semi-related side note: I've never understood how people can be against abortion but in favour of the death penalty.  I mean, is the pro-life label selective?  (The pro-choice label doesn't really work the opposite way...most people wouldn't choose to be executed, I'm thinking.)  It's a bigger issue in the States, I think, where most Republican candidates tend to be anti-abortion but pro-capital punishment.  The Conservatives seem to be leaning in that direction, though.  It just sounds like hypocrisy to me.

And really, I don't hate Americans.  Just to clear that up.  I'm angry at certain policies that the Canadian government should disapprove of, and used to disapprove of, that's all.  /disclaimer
14th-Dec-2007 03:01 pm - Narnia gushing
Lord of the Rings: Anduin
Because I'm still not over the Prince Caspian trailer (squeee!), I had to share some of my favourite quotes from the Narnia books.   There are some plot spoilers, but ...well...you should all have read the books.  If you haven't read them -- and I mean all of them, because just reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe doesn't count -- then go to the library!  Right now!

 Also, apparently Eddie Izzard will be the voice of Reepicheep!


I'm not sure how I feel about that.  I mean, I love him and all, but I never saw him as Reepicheep.  Or as...anything connected with Narnia.  I have a very clear picture of Reep in my head, so I'll be very disappointed if he's not what I was hoping for!  But I guess as long as I'm withholding judgment on Caspian (also not how I pictured him...at all), I might as well withhold judgment on Reep.
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