Awesome!

May. 5th, 2008 12:14 pm
rms10: (Default)
There are several awesome things floating around that I need to share:

  1. My brother got into a maritime archaeology program in Denmark, and will be spending two years in Denmark! Yay! That is so exciting, and the eeee! and I are already planning a trip to Denmark and Norway.

  2. I was pointed to a Pirate Dictionary recently. It has all sorts of real navigation terms, and . . . actually, it's a bit short on things like pirate insults. But the fact that it exists is pretty awesome.

  3. Someone on a recent Left Behind Friday post pointed to an excerpt from Kingdom Come, one of the later Left Behind books. The writing is so, so bad, that it must be seen to be believed:
    "When you see My throne, join those on My right, your left."

    The words of Jesus were more than impressed on Rayford's heart.

    [...]


    Rayford deduced that the sun was brighter without being hotter, because Tsion Ben-Judah taught that its light was somehow enhanced by the ever-present glory of Jesus. A simple contraption out in the open allowed Rayford to concentrate the light through a magnifier and heat vegetables he and Irene and Raymie had gathered for a special feast. Irene had made butter from milk she had collected from a cow, so when everyone had assembled, they were met with steaming piles of fresh produce, drenched in butter.

    [...]

    And strange about Cameron and Chloe's relationship was that they still loved each other, but not romantically. Their entire hearts' desires were on the person of Jesus and worshiping Him for eternity. In the Millennium, they would live and labor together with Kenny and raise him, but as there would be no marrying or giving in marriage, their relationship would be wholly platonic.

    "It's bizarre," Chloe told Cameron. "I still love and admire and respect you and want to be near you, but it's as if I've been prescribed some medicine that has cured me of any other distracting feelings."

    I'm not saying that I'm any sort of expert on post-millenial dispensationalism, but none of that makes any sense.

  4. Speaking of making no sense, Mark Trail clearly takes place on another planet. The Comics Curmudgeon has barely mentioned the current plot, so here goes: a little girl wins an essay contest about responsible pet ownership. As a prize, she wins a puppy, because clearly the first rule of pet ownership is "pets make great surprise gifts for people!" The puppy cures her of the depression she's suffered since her deadbeat dad left the family. But then she dumps the puppy outside and he vanishes. So now let me enumerate the stupid things that have happened since then:

    1. Mark Trail offers to replace the puppy, because she is a responsible young woman and pets are interchangeable.
    2. Mark Trail also assumes the dog was snatched, rather than it simply ran away and/or was hit by a car.
    3. A van was spotted, and apparently this is suspicious.
    4. Mark Trail is going to bait the thieves with his own dog.

    WTF?

  5. There was a one-day conference here for local people on Friday, to see the range of research in the department. Eight-minute talks all around! Mine was originally twelve minutes, and I thought I had pared it down, but apparently not well enough. Hence, when I got the two-minute warning during my talk (and was definitely not 3/4 of the way through my material) I let out an "Oh my gosh!" mid-sentence. This got me the award for "Best Reaction to the Two-Minute Warning." Yay?


I hope you all have fantastic weeks! My workload is not insane this week, and my brother will be here this weekend. Hooray!
rms10: (Default)
Last year I read The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro, and absolutely loved it. As far as short novels go, I think it's close to perfection. Now, I've just finished When We Were Orphans, and it was okay. However, are the protaganists of all his books unreliable narrators who lack self-awareness and are determinedly ignorant about events leading up to WWII? Because if so, I think I'll pass on The Unconsoled, which is sitting on my shelf at home.

I was so irritated by the main character in When We Were Orphans that I can't even say anything rational. There's self-delusion, trying to tell yourself that what you do is important, and suppressing any doubts you may have -- as in Stevens, in The Remains of the Day. That works, and it's desperate and sad and wasteful and it's why Remains is so damn good. But I can't even figure out what the hell is wrong with Banks in Orphans, other than perhaps clinging to his childhood.

Now I want to reread The Remains of the Day, of course.

I'm also reading The Pirates! in an Adventure with Communists!, by Gideon Defoe, which is hilarious. And I'm rereading Servants of the Map, by Andrea Barrett, which I adore. It's a great book to read late on a cold night, because you feel this kinship with the main character, writing to his wife from his isolated position in the Himalayas. But clearly I have no attention span right now, if all I can handle are re-reads and short novels.

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