freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
Bugger, I forgot to go back and do the May attribution thing. Excelsior!

  • 2nd May, "it's not about what you love, it's about how you love it". Quoting Wil Wheaton on being a geek, from a response at a Q&A (linked from that post). The man is very sane.
  • 5th May, "the same old painted lady". The Mandatory David Bowie Quote, this one from "Song for Bob Dylan", slightly mis-applied because I was talking about wearing make-up. You know, I'd never realised until I looked properly at those lyrics how involuted the imagery is. "Here she comes again / The same old painted lady / From the brow of a super brain..." The image is actually Athena (wisdom) emerging from the brain of Zeus, but the song snarls up the ideas so you're not sure if the painted lady is actually Dylan's wisdom, or if she's some sort of harpy-like figure to be vanquished by his songs. Typical Bowie flow--of-consciousness, in fact.
  • 8th May, "I'd much rather have a mansion in the hills". Crowded House, "A mansion in the slums". Somewhere round the third verse they stop trying to differentiate between a caravan in the hills and a mansion in the slums, and decide they'd rather have it all. Word.
  • 13th May, "the stars look very different today". Bonus Mandatory David Bowie Quote, this time clearly from "Space Oddity", appropriately enough since I was talking about Chris Hadfield covering "Space Oddity" from the International Space Station, and yes, it bloody still makes me weepy.
  • 24th May, "you may seek him in the basement, you may look up in the air". T.S. Eliot, "Macavity, the Mystery Cat", from Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. You should have recognised that one. And not because of Andrew Lloyd Webber.
  • 28th May, "one day will flash and send you crashing through the ceiling". From "Thank heavens for little girls", jolly old Lerner and Loewe, originating in Gigi, but I think I probably know the Perry Como version, FSM knows from what source. The aether, perhaps.
  • 30th May, "what she says is all right by me, I kinda like that style". Talking Heads, "The lady don't mind", and if you're anything like me the mere reading of this sentence will have infallibly ear-wormed you with the song in question, which will resist all exorcism for upwards of a week. Catchy little bugger.
This should be the last ever Giant Attribution Post, on account of how I've started footnoting posts with an attribution for the subject line, just because. It's remotely possible that my academia may be showing.

In other news:

I write like
Ray Bradbury

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

I am deeply flattered.

Cat Valente, on the other hand, writes always and only like Cat Valente. The Shoot-Out at Burnt Corn Ranch Over the Bride of the World is a sort of weird mythic western thing which causes me love and despair and illuminating pain, like a crowbar inserted to the head and twisted. Read it and weep. (My subject line is her penultimate sentence, which I steal because, in its precise moment and context, it's perfect in the way that Mozart is perfect).
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
Today I appear to have bullied my therapist, been excessively nice to a string of students, and taken a flamethrower to my Intray Of Doom, which was starting to achieve sentience via the compaction heating of its organic layers. This appears to be guilt in operation, not least because I am now badly overdue on one paper submission and slightly overdue on the other, but spent the last few days playing Morrowind nonetheless. In mitigation, Monday afternoon through to the Wednesday public holiday (yay workers!) was rendered more than usually null and void by a lovely gastric bug, which means I'm still pale and nauseous and inclined to dry crackers and staring moodily into my tea. However, the weasel-like cunning of my Cunning Plan is now revealed: having a monthly Acknowledgement of Intellectual Debts post is a free and ready-made theme about which I don't have to think very hard, so hooray!

Things Wot I Have Referenced In April:

  • 4th April: "how do you like your blueeyed boy / Mister Death?". This is, of course, e e cummings, the poem without a formal title, but usually referenced as "Buffalo Bill's". I have an unremitting adoration for e e cummings, I love the jerky, fragmented life and colour and convoluted wit of his poems. This one talks about heroism with a wry, partially deflating tone which makes that last line, the one I quote, amazingly complex. The post was talking about the Iain Banks cancer news; like Buffalo Bill, Banks seems to me to be inherently associated with death, and with a dark and deconstructive sense of heroism.
  • 5th April: "worlds collide and days are dark". I'm quoting the lyrics to Adele's "Skyfall", in the post reviewing the movie. I remain unimpressed by the movie, but I still love that song, and the quote covers both the clash of genres and the descent into Gothic which I found in the film.
  • 11th April: "one day in spring I'll take him down to the road". Belle & Sebastian lyrics, to "Dog on Wheels". Beautifully appropriate to a post about those little ambulatory robots in the park.
  • 19th April: "a truth universally acknowledged". The post was being madly enthused about The Lizzie Bennet Diaries; anyone who didn't recognise the quote from the opening sentence of Austen's Pride and Prejudice should jolly well be ashamed.
  • 22nd April: "I'm getting too old for this sort of thing". Star Wars, Obi-Wan. Of course. Slightly lateral given that the clip in the post was Harrison Ford, but he's really getting old.
  • 28th April: "Drive-in Saturday". Title of the David Bowie song, not entirely thematically appropriate. In retrospect, "Science Fiction Double Feature" would have conveyed more of the movie club multiple-film sense without the resonances of weird post-apocalyptic desexualisation, but on the other hand I was talking about Iron Sky...

Today's subject line, incidentally, a quote from Wil Wheaton, from this lovely meditation on geekery or nerdery and what it actually means. He's right: it's about the intensity of the connection: that the actual object of all that affection is purely secondary, which is why geeks can flock together even if they variously represent DC and Marvel, or Star Wars and Star Trek. Given that this subject-line roundup has referenced a good proportion of my nerdy loves (poetry, Gothic, Belle & Sebastian, Austen, online narrative, Star Wars, David Bowie), it felt appropriate.
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
I would blog about our lovely weekend away, except (a) I don't have the energy to dig up and post the photos, (b) I need to do the traditional start-of-month acknowledgement of sources, and (c) I'm too damned upset about Iain Banks. Apart from being one of my favourite sf authors who falls into the China Miéville category of "clearly way more intelligent than I am", Iain Banks is a lovely man and doesn't deserve sudden short-term terminal cancer to the solar plexus. And while one tries not to turn this narcissistically to one's own pain, after Terry Pratchett this is just too damned much. Not only are they two in my top 5 of authors-whose-every-work-I-will-read-despite-anything, they're both highly intelligent, culturally aware and likeable people who utterly don't deserve this, and both of whom I have met. I haven't met many of my sf/fantasy icons. In fact, I think the two of them are it. I actually got to chat to both of them beyond a quick signature. If this is the upshot, I'm going to try and avoid meeting any more, the cosmic wossnames apparently take that as a signal to hit them with something unpleasant. If I ever see China Miéville in the flesh I'm going to run like hell in the opposite direction. (Which, to be fair, I might well do anyway. Intimidating man.)

I'm being very bad at this blogging thing at the moment, I don't seem to have the energy. However, a few actual posts were perpetrated in the month of March, with attendant convoluted subject line references, as follows. (I include the actual wording of the subject line as an innovative addition to these little round-ups by special request of the Jo).

  • 7th March: "rocking the Lawful Good". This doesn't need attribution, it's not a quote, and if any of my readers don't by this stage get the D&D alignment reference and its particular application to my psyche, I give up.
  • 8th March: "the interconnectedness of everything". This is actually a partial paraphrase of Dirk Gently, I never remember the exact wording accurately. (Apparently it's "the fundamental interconnectedness of all things.") I must re-read those, they're fun, and Douglas Adams can't blindside me by suddenly pitching up with something terminal on account of how he's already dead. This is at least predicable.
  • 10th March: "I came, I saw, Ipad." That was a horrible piece of lame wordplay and I should be ashamed. Also, I very much doubt that Julius Caesar ever actually said "Veni, vedi, vici". It has "apocryphal" written all over it. The Ipad, on the other hand, is a marvellous gadget and I'm really enjoying it, even if the lack of actual hard drive, as a concept, makes me flail around a bit.
  • 15th March: "! GET! KNOCKED! DOWN! butIgetupagain". Now I have the bloody Chumbawamba ear-worm again. Thanks for that, meticulous referencing. That wretched song ("Tubthumper", for the sake of full attribution and in case you weren't paying attention) is more damned fun than it has any right to be.
  • 17th March: "this vast and brooding spirit". Oh, now, that's interesting. *waves the Red Flag of Over-Analysis Alert*. The quote is from the poem about Cecil John Rhodes which adorns the Rhodes Memorial, and which incidentally also formed the basis for a more than usually way-out Call of Cthulhu module I and Bumpycat wrote back in the day, featuring Rhodes's negative energy centred on the memorial as a blot on the fabric of reality which opened portals to Bad Stuff. (I don't do postcolonialism, except apparently in my role-playing modules, where I've done it several times). It's also a misquote, owing to the extreme dodginess of my memory: the actual phrasing is "the immense and brooding spirit". The post is talking about Batman and whinging about the excessive broodiness of The Dark Knight Rises, so as a subject line it's fairly apt, but I remember typing in the (mis)quote more or less as a knee-jerk and then being tickled by how actually appropriate it was to my argument in the review. The full poem reads: "The immense and brooding spirit still / Shall quicken and control. / Living he was the land, and dead, / His soul shall be her soul!" In terms of Batman's identification with Gotham and the upshot of the movie, that's pretty much exactly it.
  • 19th March: "meanwhile, he has built a remote-controlled duck". Actually attributed in the post: quote from the article on useless machines which had endeared itself to me at the time. Even more pleasingly surreal out of context.
  • 26th March: "I have a bad feeling about this...". This was a post about a Star-Wars-Lego-themed cocktail party. If you do not recognise the quote you are no friend of mine, and need to slink off into a corner somewhere and consider your sins. Good grief. (We had the first movie playing silently during the party, causing a lot of us to sit around watching it and supplying either the actual dialogue, or new, improved dialogue (mostly Stv). When everyone had gone the EL and Sven and I watched The Empire Strikes Back and argued about abysmal Empire tactics on Hoth. I love my friends, and am fairly confident that none of you are currently sitting in a corner considering your sins).

I came, I saw, Ipad

Sunday, 10 March 2013 07:10 pm
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
The Great New Year's Eve robbery relieved me of Winona, my netbook, whose petite Goth self I sincerely mourn. In a bizarre and unprecedented move straight out of left field, however, the insurance has actually paid out for more than the replacement cost of a low-end netbook, as a result of which the whole "resistance is futile, you will be assimilated" thing has kicked in, and this morning I toddled forth (with Jo&Stv for moral support and hand-holding) and acquired myself an Ipad entirely within the bounds of the insurance proceeds. While I still regard the whole Apple cult-edifice with a fair amount of distrust, I also feel that I badly need to acquire tablet and touch-screen skills, on account of how my tech cred is slipping and I'm becoming obsolete. So far I have resisted Itunes, which I loathe with a passion born from actual experience, but I have ordered the cute keyboard-case thingy that Claire had, which looks as though it'll make actual typing actually possible.

It's all very exciting, and I am not significantly deterred from my geeky "new tech!" dance of joy by the inevitable intervention of my personal techno-jinx, which promptly stalled the setup of the new Ipad by two hours while it meditatively downloaded and installed an OS upgrade. This is, alas, simply par for the course. It's all working now, and is offering me a friendly and intuitive interface with which I am becoming rapidly acquainted. I'm taking suggestions for a name for the new creature, though - I'm reverting to "Cupcake" in moments of stress, which is simply silly. (As in, "Please don't do this to me, cupcake!" in tones of plaintive despair).

I forgot to do month-end quotes again! I am a bad academic. Herewith the intellectual debts for February, which is fortunately a short month in which I haven't blogged much owing to thing, and have descended to actual originality in subject lines more than once.

  • 4th February: I quote a newspaper headline from E. Nesbit's fairy tale "The Deliverers of their Country", which features alarming plagues of dragons infesting Victorian Britain strictly according to the dictates both of Darwinian evolution and of the St. George narrative. Also notable for beautiful Victorian magical tech in the form of the Tap-Room, which controls the weather. One of my favourites, and I really must buckle down and write that damned Nesbit paper.
  • 12th February: a line from Thomas Moore's "The Fire Worshippers", which is one of the four poems in his Oriental romance Lalla Rookh, a marvellous concatenation of swooning emotion and sultry, exotic atmosphere. Also the poem which features the famous bit about dear gazelles gladding maidens with their soft black eyes, and thus a source from which I am frequently driven to quote more or less ironically in the context of students.
  • 14th February: a quote from Nimona early in the web-comic, while she's fangirling all over Sir Ballister Blackheart's villainy and trying to persuade him to take her on as a sidekick. Nimona rocks.
  • 23rd February: Tony Stark in the Avengers movie, as any fule kno, trying to dodge a call from Coulson. I'm madly amused by the Life Model Decoy reference, as it's one of the recurring elements in the comics which they use to retcon character deaths and behavioural weirdnesses - LMDs are S.H.I.E.L.D. robots programmed and constructed to replace and be controlled by actual people, and thus to serve as a plausible decoy for attacks. A beautiful narrative kludge, in other words. We like those.

Today I celebrated the new bookshelves by relocating a swathe of my sf collection and opening up shelves to store my DVDs, which have outgrown their cabinet by a factor of two, which is coincidentally the factor by which, it turns out, my collection of superhero films outnumbers the fairy tale ones. This possibly suggests the need for a change in my academic focus. I'm down with this.

the devil his due

Tuesday, 5 February 2013 02:19 pm
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
Examining two plagiarised Masters dissertations in a row will make one really, really antsy about unmarked quotation. I signally failed to note my subject-line sources for the entirety of December as well as sailing blissfully past the end of January, making me a Bad Person, although I think the end-December default possibly had something to do with post-burglary rage and distress. Herewith a ginormous catch-up on my intellectual debts.

  • 6th December: the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. Naturally.
  • 10th December: I always thought that "A Wonderful Bird is the Pelican" was Spike Milligan. Apparently the rest of the world thinks it's by Ogden Nash, whereas in fact it's by someone called Dixon Lanier Merritt, of whom I have never heard despite the fact that "A Wonderful Bird is the Pelican" has been my SCA .sig ever since I acquired an actual pelican. As a random bonus related fact, my sister's Standard 4 teacher was an amazing lady called Mrs Holly, who used to repeat the above verse to the class ending with "He can hold in his beak enough food for a week, and I'm surprised if I know how in the world he can."
  • 11th December: quote from the Cure's "Boys Don't Cry", suggested irresistibly by the tears of non-graduating students with which the post was concerned.
  • 19th December: from Ethelred, or, The Sad Tale of a Motor Fan, by H. A. Field. I love this poem, which I've known from childhood - it was in a little Penguin book of comic verse which I still own, although it's been lovingly re-read to the point of actual explosion into disparate pages. The tragic confluence of the mechanical with the watery made it an inevitable reference to the sad demise of the Mermaid.
  • 25th December: Terry Pratchett. I cannot remember which Discworld novel it hails from, but odds are on Hogfather, still one of the best semi-satirical deconstructions of Christmas known to humanity.
  • 1st January: I am referencing Tennyson's Mariana in the Moated Grange, for which I have a low sneaking fondness predicated upon general disbelief that any major poet can possibly get away with being so brow-clutchingly and self-consciously goth. I mean, thickest dark and flitting bats and forlorn sleep-walking and wastes of grey and everything dreary, dreary and wishing I was dead. Any contemporary emo band who tried it would be laughed off the stage.
  • 6th January: a bastardised phrase from "Over the Misty Mountains Cold", the dwarves' song in The Hobbit. I actually love Tolkien's poetry, he's been exposed to Nordic verse enough that his language has wonderfully muscular internal rhymes and rhythms. (Good lord, but "rhythm" is hell to spell. I'd never noticed).
  • 10th January: I am quoting Hamlet. I can still remember huge chunks of Hamlet's soliloquies, as a result of the play being our A-level set work. A-level English requires you to illustrate your points in essays with direct quotation, but they aren't open book exams, so you end up rote learning large, important bits of speechifying. I still know bits of Julius Caesar despite never having read the play because it was my sister's O-level text and she had pages of quotes stuck up next to the toilet for the whole year.
  • 11th January: I have just spent fifteen minutes on YouTube trying to work out which version of this I know from the radio in my undergrad years, which were late 80s/early 90s. It's not the Bobby McFerrin one; mature reflection suggests it was probably the Breakfast Club, which is a scary, scary thought. I didn't even know it was a Beatles original. Go figure.
  • 22nd January: Belle and Sebastian, "Funny Little Frog", which is a weird little song about, as far as I can work out, unrequited love. Or celebrity crushes.
  • 23rd January: rocking the Hobbit quotes this month, for obvious reasons. One of Gollum's riddles. His do tend to the dark and slightly threatening.
  • 30th January: at the time I spent a wayward half hour on Google trying to work out the origin of this proverbial phrase, which was wandering vaguely round my head for no good reason. All I can dig up is a horrible joke about Saint Lawrence, patron saint of cooks, who was roasted on a gridiron and is held to have made the joke about turning him over, presumably to indicate his saintly indifference to scorching. This is a curiously nasty little joke, is all I can say.
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
It's apparently the sixth of the month. Not sure how that happened. It's gone past in a blur of meetings and stressed students. I had a very weird dream last night in which I was exploring a derelict haunted house in the woods somewhere, and kept encountering a ghost of a 4-year-old girl in a black dress who ran through the rooms with a fairly cheerful, focused, childlike intent, and looked perfectly substantial except for her tendency to run through people. I think my subconscious thinks I'm not real.

It does mean that I'm unfashionably late to acknowledge my intellectual debts, and the Duchess will have my head off forthwith. Consequently, Words Wot I Have Swiped In November:

  • 2nd: Arcade Fire, "Wake Up", my second favourite song of theirs, and one of the ones I was rhapsodising about in the post.
  • 5th: slightly sadistic Guy Fawkes rhymes. I've always loved the phrase "Gunpower, treason and plot", it's magnificently satisfying. Something about the balance of assonance with the scansion (the 3-2-1 syllable arc is pleasingly rhythmic) and the powerful plosive punch of "plot".
  • 8th: I am quoting stoner-Fran Krantz in Cabin in the Woods. The bit where he arrives driving with a bong.
  • 20th: my contractually obligated David Bowie quote, from "Always Crashing the Same Car", slightly doom-ladenly given that I was talking about taking my driver's test. (Again).
  • 26th: the phrase is, of course, John Scalzi's. And highly characteristic.
  • 27th: "Train in Vain" is a Clash song that I actually know better from the Manic Street Preachers cover. It's one of those weird songs which doesn't actually have the title phrase anywhere in the lyrics.
  • 29th: if you don't recognise "The Hunting of the Snark" I'm saddened and disappointed.
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
This month is inching along at maddened inchworm speeds, now, given the date, with added fireworks. I am horribly behind in The Department of Intellectual Debt Acknowledgement. Before I do that, however, a brief service announcement.

LJ has experienced a completely ridiculous upsurge in spam levels in the last week or so. I am thoroughly bored by having to delete all these stupid, illiterate ads for far-fetched and unlikely products, although the essentially random re-introduction to all my own deathless prose over about eight years is ... illuminating. A quick survey of the comments stats for the blog reveals that very few actual real live humans post anonymously to this blog, and when they do, a good proportion of them are people who actually do have logins and are simply not using them in the interests of hassle-reduction. I am thus, out of concern for my own sanity and the desire to avoid the inevitable karmic backlash from all the Evil Thoughts I keep having about spammers, going to switch the blog to login-only commenting. With apologies for those of you for whom it's a pain. If someone finds a spray repellent or handy orbital nuke that actually eradicates spam-cockroaches, I'll open the comments up again as a gesture of solidarity for the anonymous.

Right, October! A month of weeks.

  • 1st: simply panders to my random love for the thoroughly wonderful phrase "in hock", which is slang for being in debt or, more specifically, having all one's belongings in pawn. It's such a lovely word, hock. Solid and faintly unlikely. The OED seems to think it's from the Dutch hok, "hovel, hutch or prison", and it has lovely resonances with card games, specifically faro, staking everything on the turn of a card and losing.
  • 2nd: Wordsworth, "Tintern Abbey". The Lake District appears to have colonised me good and proper with mad Romantic yens.
  • 3rd: not a quote. I am contractually obligated to occasionally be original in subject lines. It's in the Blogger's Code.
  • 7th: Douglas Adams. A quote from actual Vogon poetry, by Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz. I blush to admit a careless misattribution in a previous month: the poetic collection My Favourite Bathtime Gurgles by Grunthos the Flatulent (referenced on 11th September) is not, of course, Vogon poetry, but was the work of the poetmaster of the Azgoths of Kria, perpetrators of the second worst poetry in the universe. I apologise for this unaccountable slip, while remaining staunch in my belief that being hooptiously drangled with crinkly bindlewurdles is really the only description which adequately expresses the pain and despair occasioned by the particular batch of essays I was marking.
  • 11th: as any phule kno, "arkle" is the noise of faint concern made by baby gargoyles, circa Sandman, "Preludes and Nocturnes", the bit with Cain and Abel.
  • 12th: a phrase from Avengers slashfic by scifigr147, specifically Clint trying to negotiate with a sentient toaster which hates sesame seeds and is refusing to toast him a bagel.
  • 15th: the second line of "Me and Bobby McGee". If this mention puts that wretched song back on my brain again I may actually give up this attribution thing entirely, because good grief.
  • 17th: more Hitch-Hiker's Guide, here Arthur Dent. The quote about never being able to get the hang of Thursdays was on a Wednesday post in which I was complaining about thinking it was Tuesday. It seemed appropriate.
  • 18th: I must cop to quoting that sappy and irritating Coke jingle from way back in my childhood. I have, for some reason, very vivid memories of hearing that song on the radio practically endlessly, both in its jingle incarnation and in the subsequent actual chart-topping version. Even given the delay in things hitting rural Zimbabwe and its probable subsequent media lifespan this is quite an impressive feat of memory, I was two years old when the song charted.
  • 23rd: the deliriously apposite I-hate-work title of the song by Belle & Sebastian.
  • 25th: I am, of course, quoting the hero of Canton, the man they called Jayne, from the episode "Jaynestown". He's wrangling with Mal about the statue.
  • 27th: Velvet Underground.

intellectual hock

Monday, 1 October 2012 06:25 pm
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
'Tis the first of the month. The regularity with which that happens, month after month, is simply distressing. Or reassuring. One or the other. Possibly both. I've been teaching seminars on vampires and gothic and marginal indeterminacy all afternoon (it's alive! it's dead! it's attractive! it's repulsive! it's real! it's not!), and may consequently be a little more vague than usual. While conversely being thoroughly buzzed from teaching, of course. (To a rather reduced class: warning, there seems to be a nasty gastric bug doing the rounds, at least four of my students were missing, following plaintive emails on the how Laid Low they were. Concerned citizens may wish to refrain from breathing for a bit.)

October is possibly allowed because it's the month in which Catherynne Valente's second Fairyland novel is released (hooray)! (You can catch the first five chapters on, and I suggest you do). Be that as it may, the month is definitely here and I should pay my intellectual debts. In the merry month of September I have unceremoniously nicked quotes for subject lines as follows:

  • 3rd September: bittersweet leaving gestures from the Magnetic Fields, from "Sunset City", off The Charm of the Highway Strip, which I always think is my least favourite album of theirs until I actually listen to it again. I should also add for posterity that the song's wherever-I-lay-my-hat creed is absolutely antithetical to my personal philosophy, lifestyle choices and the depth of my Cape Town rootedness, and any coincidence was purely temporary and the result of maddened academic globe-trotting.
  • 5th September: as any fule kno, I am quoting T.S. Eliot, specifically The Waste Land, in a rare and futile gesture towards academic street cred. (I'm actually extremely enamoured of the poem, which is weird and elliptical and full to the brim with dodgy Grail imagery and also imprinted me extremely firmly in first-year English classes).
  • 8th September: this has passed into the proverbial, in a slightly cynical and world-weary usage I associate, for some reason, with the 1940s. Google has no idea. Sigh.
  • 11th September: Vogon poetry. The title of the multiple-book epic by Grunthos the Flatulent, who was, IIRC, the one whose own lower intestine strangled him rather than hear him recite.
  • 19th September: Tennyson, "Mariana", the lady who sits in her rotting moated grange with bats and tears and what have you, and bewails the non-arrival of someone or other, and which is quite one of the most self-consciously Goth effusions of all time. It's incidentally also probably an extremely valid and literal depiction of depression. Also, I seem to be having a very poetic quote month.
  • 25th September: a lame pun for which I decline to apologise.
  • 26th September: the Bee Gees. Again, without shame.
  • 28th September: a lame pun on the title of the Everly Brothers song. If it's any consolation, I thereby thoroughly earwormed myself with the damned thing, which is still circling aimlessly through my cerebellum in an incomplete and fragmented state.
So now you know.
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
Hooray! I am back in the familiar embrace of Winona, with all my logins automatic, instead of having to type the wretched things in manually on my mother's computer. I miss my own virtual space. I am also much in favour of Virgin trains, which are currently trundling me happily towards Euston with a power point and a table for Winona and easily-accessible internets, with no greater drawbacks than occasional fainting fits in the wireless connection, and a slight tendency to double-type when we go over a bump. Ain't the future wonderful.

I had a truly lovely week in Sedbergh with my lovely mother, and have now sadly left her to her pre-term preparations for the 71 teenage girls who descend on Wednesday. My mental image is of her manning the bunkers wearing an army helmet and an expression of grim determination. She does, however, send love to any of you lot who are acquainted with her.

It is also the start of another month, which is (a) terrifying on account of how the year is doing that acceleration thing, (b) means I missed [ profile] wolverine_nun's spanky birthday party on Saturday, woe, and (c) obligated me to pay my intellectual debts. Unsuspecting sources from whom my subject lines have ruthlessly nicked euphonious words over the month of August are as follows:

  • 1st August: one of the more crescendo-to-silly bits of the Arithmetic Song from the Doctor Seuss Song Book, a copy of which I joyously possess. It's actually surprisingly atonal and tricky music to play, but the inherent insanity of the lyrics makes me very happy.
  • 6th August: the Obligatory David Bowie quote, here, of course, from "Life on Mars" in rather nicely layered commentary on Curiosity's perfect landing. The ineffable satisfaction with which a quote clicks into place on several levels simultaneously is... well, ineffable.
  • 10th August: Charles Dickens, the opening Chancery bit from Bleak House, in which he is sustainedly and beautifully rude about lawyers.
  • 14th August: you should have spotted this one - pretty much my statement of weather-related creed from "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head", which was written for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid by one of the world's great song-writing duos, Burt Baccharach and Hal David. Those guys wrote great music, particularly for piano rendition. Hal David, by an unpleasant co-incidence, died a couple of days ago.
  • 19th August: a somewhat prescient reference to The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, since, while I have neither seen nor read the work concerned, I have spent the last week rather dementedly catching up on my YA girly literature from the library in the boarding house. This has involved a slightly gruesome amount of paranormal romance in addition to teen fantasy and a bucketload of Meg Cabot. Meg Cabot is fun - funny, acute and surprisingly well written. As a bonus, scientific experimentation suggests I can whack through a Cabot novel in about an hour and a half, which means that the total number of books I've read in the last week is... *counts on fingers* ... somewhere slightly in excess of fifteen. I feel much more frivolous now.
  • 20th August: a horrible pun mashing up the conference venue with the sort of agony-column state I was in after completely screwing up that first conference paper. My second paper is much shorter and more ruthlessly shaped, and I am poised to watch myself like a hawk for unnecessary elaboration.
  • 23rd August: dear Bilbo, slightly drunkenly at his birthday party, quoted in mitigation of the slightly drunken ability of a select cohort of academics to correctly remember the quote at the after-party.
  • 30th August: William Wordsworth, naturally, from "The Prelude". Sticking a pin randomly into "The Prelude" at almost any point will yield a quote useful for heading posts about sight-seeing in the Lake District.
I'm in London for a couple of days, crashing with [ profile] egadfly, and lunching with various peoples who are being very kind about my feeble flutterings at the idea of navigating London with a giant suitcase in tow. I go through to Kingston for the conference on Wednesday, and then head back to CT on Sunday. I feel very globe-trottery.
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There's been a big red ABSA poster up in my corridor for two weeks, advertising some sort of graduate development programme. It has a little mathematical conundrum on it, which reads as follows:


This bugged me for a couple of days, as I dashed madly past it in Hellweek flurries, and eventually I stopped and looked at it properly. 9+7 in this context probably equals 144, but I'm curious - is this a strange and random ABSA pattern-recognition game, or some sort of recognised mathematical procedure with a label of its own? I'm thinking the former, mainly because it apparently works with my vaguely organic pattern-recognition brain. Structuralist study of narrative does weird things to the pattern recognition.

Apparently the cosmic reward of being determinedly and successfully nice to students all last week (only one slight slip-up in the last few hours of Friday) is that I'm grumpy as hell this week. Then again, this week they're trying to do stupid, illegal things which show they haven't read the notices. I am becoming progressively more crone-like and codgerish about non-notice-reading gazelles.

And, in other news, it's August! aargh! I still have to finish two papers in less than three weeks, although I do pretty much know what I want to say and how I want to say it, which helps. However, a new month also means the monthly assault on another prevalent vice, namely unmarked quotation.

  • 4th July: I am quoting, of course, "As time goes by", which will now proceed to ear-worm me for a couple of days and give me a random, rootless desire to re-watch Casablanca. Than which, I suppose, there are worse things. I woke up this morning with A-ha's "Take on me" on the brain, for no adequately defined reason, so I should count my blessings. Anyway, it was also an egregious but slightly lateral pun on both the passage of time and fundamental particles, since I was burbling about the Higgs boson at the time. (Absolutely the best and most definitive response to the Higgs boson is, of course, from Scenes from a Multiverse. Of course they're conspiring. With cigarettes dangling out the corners of their mouths.)
  • 9th July. As any fule kno, this is a quote from the Mutant Enemy zombie logo at the end of Joss Whedon productions, and anyone who didn't recognise it should be properly ashamed. Ashamed, I say! *waves unreasonable geeky fangirl flag with unrepentant chauvinism*
  • 13th July. I have no idea what I was doing here, other than conflating Joss Whedon randomly with incense. Why, I can't say. I don't like incense.
  • 15th July. I wish I could say I was quoting Walt Whitman, but in fact I'm quoting Robin Williams in, of course, Dead Poet's Society, and once more I cannot say why, I can't stand the film. While being, of course, one hundred percent behind the idea of captains. Notwithstanding which, there seems to be a certain level of masochism in this month's subject line choices.
  • 18th July. This one was for [ profile] wolverine_nun, who knows as well as I do that this comes from Flanders and Swann, "The Gasman Cometh", and I have no doubt that a select but gratifying number of you also recognised it. I couldn't give tuppence for all of the rest.
  • 23rd July. We used to play and sing this in guitar club at school - mountain folk song about the miner's life, which is insanely catchy and which I suspect I've quoted before. Both the Tennessee Ernie Ford and the Johnny Cash versions are jauntier than I remember it being, we tended to sing it a bit more like a dirge. Well, obviously. "Another day older and deeper in debt", after all.
  • 25th July. Oh, dear. I am quoting Bobby McFerrin. I seem to do insane amounts of research for these subject line glosses, and this batch has revealed that the 1988 hit version is actually completely a capella, which I never realised before and which makes me very happy indeed.
  • 26th July. My contractually obligated David Bowie quote. I was ridiculously proud of the thematic fit in this one, given that post was about Tom Cruise and the lyrics are from "I'm Deranged", and at various points insist that not only is it funny how secrets travel, but "It's the angel-man" and "Cruise me babe".
  • 29th July. Omar Khayyám, who has, as evinced by outbreaks of bloggery in November and December 2005, has a quote for absolutely everything.

This week's quotation round-up brought to you courtesy of hopeless inconsequentiality, and a headache. Now I go to fend students off with a crowbar and meet my Deanly-requested teaching and learning report-construction doom.
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Today is the first time I've ever wished I was in a different faculty. Various flavours of science department must be all bouncy and gleeful today about the Higgs boson confirmation, but Humanities trundles on obliviously. I keep having to restrain myself from babbling about it enthusiastically to confused History professors. Sigh. Also, I am a sad geek. This photo of Professor Higgs all vindicated and overcome with emotion made me weepy.

I seem to have allowed the start of the month to slide past without acknowledging my intellectual debts. Horrors! (Although not as much of the month as I thought, given that I've resolutely and erroneously dated all the forms I've signed today for the 6th July). Nonetheless, herewith.

  • 1st June. Goon Show, The Moon Show, which is magnificently silly and which I did, for once, actually mention in the post.
  • 4th June. Not actually a quote. Apparently I am too capable of originality.
  • 8th June. Ernest Bramah, The Wallet of Kai Lung, via, as a commenter perspicaciously pointed out, Dorothy Sayers. (Lord Peter was another very early girlhood crush. But did lead me to Kai Lung, who I likewise adore on the Master Li principle).
  • 13th June. Mordin Solus from Mass Effect 2. The beautiful and inevitable logic of making Salarians sing Gilbert and Sullivan patter-song makes me extremely happy. Also, the rhymes in the filk are clever.
  • 15th June. I am quoting Toto. In a post linking to Toto covers and confessing an enjoyment of "Africa". So sue me.
  • 16th June. Isaac Watts, although I am still heartily kicking myself that I didn't construct the post more intelligently and use the Lewis Carroll crocodile instead.
  • 22nd June. I am rectifying the Lewis Carroll omission by quoting the White Knight's Song, quite one of my favourite pieces of dreamy nonsense poetry.
  • 23rd June. Only a quote if you consider me to be quoting myself on previous birthdays. I think I may adopt this as an official birthday tradition.
  • 26th June. Oh, dear. I am guilty of using as a subject line the title of one of the Call of Cthulhu modules I wrote with Bumpycat. This is possibly unduly narcissistic. Sorry.
  • 27th June. Title of a work I've always liked by a French artist, and thus linked to the post on umpteen levels, including using the actual work as an illustration.
  • 28th June. Egregious and unnecessary pun on a proverbial phrase.
Alas, no David Bowie. They may have to revoke my fan licence.

a year of months

Friday, 1 June 2012 01:14 pm
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I have no idea why the notion of it being June should inspire me with helpless Goon Show quotation, but there you go. Being as I am not in posession of a legit poetic licence, I shall simply have to tell you from whence I nicked all my subject lines over the merry month of May.

  • 5th: a mad outbreak of madrigal, in this case William Byrd, who is one of the several perpetrators of the crack about "the merry month of May".
  • 9th: Wondermark, for a wonder actually glossed in the text of the entry.
  • 13th: anyone who didn't immediately recognise the Firefly quote kindly shoot themselves in the knees now. Good grief. In a post about a Joss movie, and everything.
  • 16th: William Blake, for no adequately defined reason, although the version wandering around my brain at the time was the hymn tune. Of course, since I was actually in Scotland it had no damned relevance anyway, and I'm probably lucky I wasn't savaged to death by Scots for conflating England and Scotland, even mentally and by random association.
  • 17th: Magnetic Fields, from "The Dreaming Moon". Magnetic Fields are really into the moon, there are three songs on Get Lost alone with "moon" in the title. Presumably they do have a poetic licence. ("Ah, moon. You are like a melody-type tune. You are so clever, you can rhyme with Goon. Oh what a boon is the moon in June to boon." I'll stop now).
  • 19th: proverbial phrase invested with a sort of postmodern CLAW-style linguistic spin, à la "I saw Goody X with the divvil!" In other, more alarming news, that post was a featured link on the Christian Book Barn, of all bizarre things, for 19th May, which is why I've suddenly and belatedly friends-locked it, just in case any fellow conference-goers stumble across it and a) realise that it's me, and/or (b) think I'm being too personal.
  • 20th: Ursula Le Guin, fragment from "The Creation of Ea", because I love it, and I was talking both about hawks and empty skies.
  • 23rd: mutated proverbial. I spent a happy 20 minutes wandering the internets trying to work out where the phrase originated, but no dice.
  • 25th: cute Danny Kaye songs about inchworms from his film Hans Christian Andersen, which I am amazed to realise I have actually seen at some stage in early youth. It was, iirc, rather weird. I know the song from the Muppet Show, and can attest to its ability to ear- as well as inchworm.
  • 28th: other than swiping "reannual" from Terry Pratchett, I totally made the incendiary karma ferrets all up my very own self.
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Yesterday was Star Wars day, which means, ye gods, it's May. You can tell by the weather, which is still pleasingly damp and becoming bloody cold with proper wintery gravitas, and my state of fret. I give a conference keynote in less than two weeks, and the paper currently consists of about six pages of notes with "aargh" written at intervals, and a giant pile of books on the school story, through which I propose to wade this weekend.

You must forgive my lack of blogging: my moments of free time, of which there have been significantly few owing to an insane rash of meetings interspersed with angsty students, have been pretty evenly divided between finding succinct and creative ways to be rude about the Hogwarts idea of education, and retreating from same into a re-play of the first Mass Effect. (Because I played so badly first time around. My skills and tactics were horrible - I realise, post the Mass Effect 2 experience, that I managed to play the first game entirely without using cover, which does explain the wear and tear on the medi-gel. This time round I am pwning it slightly more handily, as well as picking up all the bits I missed).

It also means it's a new month, and time to acknowledge my debts. (This is becoming easier given that my blograte is so far down. This is a temporary state of things, I promise.) Reading chronologically, April has nicked bits thusly:
  • 2nd. I actually have no idea where I dredged this up, it's one of those phrases which has passed into the proverbial lore of the slightly pretentiously gothic. It's actually Falstaff, from Henry IV Part II, a play I have never actually read. (Although I studied Henry V for A-Level, and am rife with opinions about it). The correct quote is "We have heard the chimes at midnight". I vaguely associate it with Thurber, although I suspect that's just the slighly ponderous gait of the phrase.
  • 3rd. A quote from a rather amusingly sadistic nursery rhyme sort of thing, in which there were three in the bed and the little one said "roll over", so they all rolled over... etc. In retrospect, it's rather dodgy. You start out with a veritable orgy of ten in the bed, and whittle them down until the little one ends up splendidly alone and going to sleep. I remember my mother singing this to us, I have absolutely no idea where it originates. It does resonate rather well with my sleeping habits, though.
  • 10th. A fragment of Magnetic Fields in marginally depressive mode. The song is "Infinitely late at night", off their album I; the flavour of the tune is sort of languidly-swaying French-ballady, a mode I associate with the fake-Frenchy elements of "Those Canaan Days" from Joseph. (News from the front: I can still recite all the colours of Joseph's bloody technicolour dreamcoat).
  • 17th. "Jade Lady" is the name given to Phyrne Fisher by her luscious Chinese lover Lin. It refers to her tendency to look like a Manchu princess apart from the bright green eyes.
  • 20th. The obligatory David Bowie quote, here from "Cat People", which is a song I seem to mine fairly regularly for quotes, it being strangely congruent with my interests.
  • 22nd. Quote and song title from Postal Service, one I've actually used before, but it's such a lovely image. (Although the song is apparently about nuclear war, it has an odd balance of apocalyptic and sappy: "I've got a cupboard with cans of food, filtered water, and pictures of you/ and I'm not coming out until this is all over...")
  • 28th. I actually referenced this one: Joss Whedon on cats.
  • 30th. Quite one of my favourite quotes from The Avengers, entailing probably my two favourite characters in the film, and deploying the nicely Whedonesque balance of reference, fan service and tongue-in-cheek, ironic reinterpretation. Postmodern, in fact. Damn, I must write that review. Maybe tomorrow, if I conquer the school story theory.
Allons-y! Dissing Dumbledore waits for no man, although it may actually wait until I've finished Virmire. Dammit. My self-discipline is not only a small, fluffy, reluctant thing lurking on a rock somewhere, it's lurking on a rock while hunched manically over a computer game and refusing to be distracted. Sigh.


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