On joining the Snooty Book Readers Club

I’m not sure of the number of books I read in a year, but it’s definitely in the dozens and perhaps in the neighbourhood of fifty or more. Don’t be impressed, though, since the majority of those books had a picture of either a dragon or a spaceship on the cover (sadly, I don’t think any had both). However, I’ve pretty much read all of the books in my house right now and am reduced to the last book I own that I still haven’t finished reading – The Tempest, by none other than William Shakespeare.

Theoretically, I’ve been reading that book for over a year now. I originally bought it, used, because I needed something to read at the laundromat for the days when I was just too lazy to go to the library beforehand. However, that plan pretty much fell apart not too long after I put it into effect, which meant that as far as I was concerned, Prospero remained eternally stuck in the prologue of the play describing how he ended up stuck on the same island as the cast of Lost.

However, riding the subway regularly has reminded me forcefully of how much I hate riding the subway, so I’m forced to find ways to pretend that I’m not on the subway, and some days Metro is just too insipid for me to stomach. I was surprised by several things. First, I was surprised by how easy it was for me to follow the story despite the Elizabethan poetic dialogue. It shouldn’t have been as much of a surprise as all that, since technically Shakespearean language counts as Early Modern English, but I was able to make sense of the dialogue without even having to look up too many definitions (the edition I have has notes and explanations on the facing page). I remember having more trouble with Shakespeare in high school, but then again, that was before I got used to reading dense theoretical works regularly, so all that time spent deciphering Judith Butler’s gibberish was actually good for something.

The second surprise was that the funny scenes were actually funny to me. Not uproariously funny, but certainly good for a chuckle. Humour is something that can be iffy in a cross-cultural context, and the past definitely counts as a different culture – heck, it’s already a foreign country. But the tale of the drunken douchebags travelling around and snarking at things with their pet cave troll could make a pretty decent road trip movie today. Heck, you could insert some of their shenanigans into The Hangover without much rejiggering.

Also, I finally get why this play is so beloved in postcolonial studies. That was pretty much the reason why I got a copy from the used bookstore, after all.

Anyway, I can now rest easy in finally getting my high brow credentials. Expect me to write exclusively about Glenlivet and cork taint from now on.

Thank god it’s dead

Argentavis magnificens

Sweet Jesus crap I’m glad that thing’s extinct, I would shit myself if I saw something that size flying through the sky. And hey, good news: scientists think it mostly ate carrion like its relative, the Andean condor. However, apparently it would occasionally hunt small to medium sized animals and “[s]kull structure suggests that it ate most of its prey whole”. I think children count as small to medium sized animals. Something to sleep on, friends. Pleasant dreams!

Oh fine, all Argentavis fossils are around 6 million years old and they’re all from the Andes, so it probably never swooped down and dragged our ancestors screaming into the sky.

Happy Imperialism Day

A.k.a. Victoria Day, traditionally celebrated by oppressing brown people. If you haven’t harassed any brown people today, get to it fast before midnight if you want to stick to the spirit of the holiday. I suggest finding a South Asian convenience store clerk and shouting “God save the Queen from you savages!” at them. If you yourself are brown, be sure to punch yourself in the stomach at least once before the sun goes down.

Gymnopedie No. 1

The last episode of Community ends with a piano piece that was maddeningly familiar to me, but I couldn’t quite place it. Apparently it was from My Dinner With Andre, but knowing that fact didn’t scratch my itch since I’ve never seen that movie at all. So then I looked for the piano music on Youtube and found the answer in the comments: Gymnopedie No. 1 is the piece used in the trailer for The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. Whew, I’m glad I found that out, not knowing the answer was really starting to bug me. And to think, I would have been simply out of luck in the days before the Internet. Thank you, Youtube! Also Internet Movie Database, that site has answered innumerable questions for me as well.

Wherefore art thou

Fun Elizabethan fact: “wherefore” means “why”. So when Juliet asks, “wherefore art thou Romeo?” she means “Romeo, why are you Romeo?” To explain more clearly, Juliet is asking why her beloved is Romeo, i.e., a member of her family’s sworn enemies. It’s obviously a rhetorical question, since it’s not a question anyone can answer. “Wherefore” thus does not mean “where”, and it is incorrect for someone to use it in that manner. This piece of trivia about Early Modern English is brought to you by my sense of responsibility about not updating in too long.

There’s an explanation behind my absence. To sum up my situation succinctly: I have a new job, it’s got crazy hours, but the pay is pretty damn good. I barely have time for anything else now, though, and my scarce downtime is mostly taken up by decompressing. I’ll still be keeping my hand in, but I won’t be as visible online as I used to be.

That is all. Carry on with your normal routine.