fadeaccompli: (risky)
( Apr. 6th, 2017 10:45 am)
This is just to say--

Wait, no, I can't put this into the plums poem form. I mean, I could, but I probably shouldn't. This is just to say that I am, like many other people, not going to be posting on LJ anymore, just sticking to Dreamwidth. (We'll see if this even crossposts to tell people!) Ping me over here if I follow you on LJ and haven't added your DW account to a tracking circle and you'd like me to; I know I've been very lackadaisical about getting my DW circles filled up, or reading them, because, well, I was so fond of LJ.

Not so much anymore. Oh well. All good things must come to an end.
fadeaccompli: (academia)
( Mar. 16th, 2017 12:03 pm)
Catullus's 64th poem (as the collection comes to us) is what we call an epyllion: a miniature epic, in which poets of his period showed off their ability to handle the epic style and epic topics, without running to the bloated and tedious length that those had become associated with over time. That still makes it his longest extant poem (and likely his longest ever): 408 lines. It's written in a lofty style he didn't usually deploy, a lofty meter, and on a lofty topic: the marriage of Peleus, one of the heroes that sailed in search of the golden fleece, and Thetis, a nymph prophesied to give birth to a son greater than his father. For which reason Zeus, who was terribly interested in her (because Zeus), married her to a mortal instead.

The prophesied son is Achilles, the greatest--and in some senses, last--of the heroes in that Age of Heroes. He's a pretty popular topic for poetry, art, and so forth. I mean, the whole damn Iliad is about him, in a sense: it begins with Achilles being angry and sullen, and ends with the funeral of Hector, pretty much the next-best hero, whom Achilles killed.

In Catullus's telling of the marriage of this man's parents, Achilles gets about a quarter of the poem. Half of it is given over to describing the bedspread on the marriage bed/couch, which shows Ariadne, abandoned by Theseus on an island after she helped him against the minotaur. Because what's more epic than dramatic ekphrasis, right? What's left of the poem is about Peleus, Thetis, and their wedding day.

So, with that introduction given! This is my translation of the poem. I've gone for a very literal translation, where possible--most of my digressions from the literal involve adjusting the syntax or moving an adjective around or swapping something between adjective/gerundive/active verb, so that it doesn't become wildly awkward in English--and I've resisted the urge to footnote.

Assume the usual warnings for anything written in the classical canon.

Long poem is long )
(Inspired by the writeup here of a book on Saint Ijanel, and the subsequent invocation of her in various places to help us stop dawdling and get to doing what we need to do.)

Ijanel is my saint; I shall not linger.
She maketh me to rise up from soft couches:
she leadeth me unto the work waiting.
She restoreth my nerve:
she leadeth me in the paths of productivity for my deadlines' sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of doubt,
I will fear no hesitation: for thou art with me;
thy goad and thy hook they encourage me.
Thou preparest a racecourse before me in the presence of mine doubters:
thou anointest my hands with ink; my spirit runneth over.
Surely action and determination shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will stand at the riverbanks with Ijanel for ever.
fadeaccompli: (academia)
( Jan. 11th, 2017 12:28 pm)
Is this thing on?


Oh, good.

Well. 2016 was quite the year, wasn't it? To the point that I have nothing to say about the year as a year that hasn't already been said more eloquently, and more angrily, by other people.

Me? I'm doing okay. Some significant stress factors in exciting financial areas that are not disastrous (at least in the short term) but aren't a whole lot of fun, either. So, setting that aside, I'll move on.

Grad school is going really well. I deeply enjoy living in Minnesota, especially in a shared apartment in a giant complex where I'm not paying for heat and not shoveling the snow. (Though I kinda want to try snow-shoveling. It looks fun. Probably more fun when it's not mandatory, as is the case with so many things in life.) The dog adapted surprisingly well to the cold; it turns out a small dog with relatively long hair takes DELIGHT in snowbanks, to the detriment at times of the human trying to wade in behind him. I have had to fish Adverb out of neck-deep snow a few times, and he's lost booties (necessary when it gets below 20F or on very salted areas) several times. Meanwhile, I adore the snow and cold now that I have the right gear for it; I'm crocheting some more scarves, I learned all about layering, I have snow boots I really like.

I miss the spouse quite a lot while I'm in Minnesota. But I do get to see him periodically. And he's often being flown off to California or Japan (or, coming up, Tasmania), so it's not as if I'd have him with me constantly if I were in Austin, anyway. We manage.

Grad school itself? A bundle of delights. I mean this honestly. I have liked all my classes so far, and took a lot of joy in live-tweeting some lectures from Archeology of Prehistoric Europe. (In some alternate universe where I have much higher tolerance for heat and sun, I might've gone into archeology.) It's a little weird at times doing graduate classes rather than undergraduate classes; there's a lot less of the constant feedback and grades to evaluate how I'm doing, and everything piles up into a giant heap at the end. In December, I turned in a 25-page paper, a 12-page paper, and an 18-page paper, which is more than I've ever had in a single semester before. Did three presentations, took various tests and quizzes, spent a lot of time buried in So Much Seneca... Good times. Good times.

I'm in Austin right now, over the winter break, though not for much longer. This coming Monday I get to experience the fun that is stuffing my nervous little dog in a carrier and then under the seat on two separate planes for the first time ever. Much more practical than having Rob drive two days to take me to Minnesota then drive two days back to Austin--he's doing enough travel as it is without adding that in!--and I do have some mildly effective sedatives for the dog, but, yeesh. I'm braced.

Turned in my first chapter of the project I'm working on for Choice of Games, which I am quite pleased with. Writing interactive fiction is going pretty well as a side thing while I'm buried in academics; the necessary outlining and the breakdown of any given scene into a series of small chunks with choices means that it's a bit like doing piecework in crochet or yarn. Easy to pack around, pick up and put down quickly. And I'm just having so much fun with IF in general.

Wish I had more time--well, more brain, it's the lack of focus more than lack of hours--to read; my to-read list has gotten enormous, and full of really excellent books I've been waiting for, and still haven't started. But that's academics for you. In any case, I'm glad the new semester is starting soon. I'm taking a bundle of fun classes (French for reading! Ancient Greek prose composition! History of late antiquity! Poems of praise in Greek and Latin!), and the schedule is good for me. I get a lot more exercise, writing, studying, translating, and cooking done when I have a nice schedule to slot it all into. And a dog who no longer has a back yard with a doggy door, and thus needs to be walked three times a day.

So, uh, yeah. That's what I'm up to lately! It's going pretty well, despite some of the stresses and the wretchedness that is 2016 in the less personal sense.

For far too many dog pictures, check out Twitter.
My dog's name:
* Adverb

Things I actually call my dog in practice:
* Darling
* Sweetheart
* Kid
* Kiddo
* Dog
* Small Dog
* This Dog
* Dogkin
* Dogface
* Dogarooni
* Doggy-Dog
* Dog who Dogs like a Dog
* Pup
* Pup-Dog
* Puppy
* Pupperoni
* Pup-Tart
* Puppernickel
* Pup de Pup
* Goofball
* Little Mister Paranoid
* Communist Inspector
* Good Boy!
Everyone wants some awkward Greek translation, right? Right!

Theogony 1-206 )
Behold, a clunky as heck translation of the third book of his work. In which he ramps up to explaining all the reasons why there is no immortal soul, and thus there's no reason to be afraid of death.

Awkwardly translated text! )
So, graduate school! I've now had one week of real proper classes, though I still haven't been to two of the seven, on account of labor day. Monday's my roughest day, with three classes: the archeology lecture, Latin sight-reading, then Hesiod. Eek. At least only two of those assign homework/paper/readings, eh? Anyway, so far:

* Greek sight-reading is a delight. Very challenging, because we're reading Homer, who I haven't done in something like five years, and my Greek sight-reading is always pretty shaky on the vocab even before we get to the Homer-specific vocab. But still, a great deal of fun; the prof keeps repeating that it's a No Shame class and that no question is too basic to ask, and she'll explain the parsing on things as she gives answers. Three students, one professor, round table, photocopied bits of the Iliad. I'm pleased.

* Archeology is both a lot of fun and quite intimidating. There's a 24-page paper assigned (on top of some map quizzes, tests, and so forth) where I need to focus on, you know, artifacts. Not text. Every time I come up with a topic idea, I find myself going over all the textual support for it, not the artifact-based support. It's a very different way of thinking about things! Which means this is exactly the kind of class I need to take. It'll expand my academic horizons usefully.

* Lucretius is darling, and pretty grammatically straightforward; most of my hiccups so far have been when I can't figure out if a final A is long or short, or forgetting the gender of less common vocabulary. I suppose this means I should get better at my scansion so that I can work these things out myself in that whole slew of frustrating endings for first declension nouns/adjectives. I have two presentations and a big paper on him, and the first presentation is coming up fast, but I think I'll be okay. I can do a half hour on Herculaneum if I just prep properly. It's interesting!

* German Reading is...pretty much exactly what I expected! The book charges briskly through basic grammatical concepts, and so does the class. Having taken two semesters of regular German is helping immensely for pronunciation when I read aloud and for some of the vocab. Which reminds me that I ought to go study for Tuesday's vocab quiz.

* And then there's Intro to CNES, which might as well be called How To Grad Student. We started out with the history of the department, to explain some rather puzzling organizational issues, and we're spending our next two sessions in the main library with various librarians, learning how to, well, library. ("You might not know about the secret collections--well, they're not supposed to be secret, but you wouldn't know on walking in to ask after them," the prof says.) Future sessions cover things like: attending conferences and giving papers at them; professional behavior with respect to your colleagues; technology for teaching; how to handle sensitive topics in teaching; different styles of research; resumes, CVs, and job hunting as an academic; and, well, so forth. It seems like an immensely useful class. Do all grad schools have one of those?

On the more lifestyle side of things... I am learning that Minneapolis is super walkable, but that I still hate walking in sunlight. (That may change as it gets colder.) The Green Line is my new best friend. The bars aimed at students are just as mediocre here as they are in Austin, which is no huge surprise. (I was served two tacos that were basically just...mini unfolded burritos. Tasty, but not very taco-like.) It's tricky to work out groceries to haul on the train that'll last most of a week and give me multiple dinner options without too much prep. Adverb is better at being an apartment dog than I would've suspected. The apartment is quieter than I dared hope, except on every other Saturday, when the tailgate parties start at 8am...

I'm lonely, off and on. I miss my cat(s). I miss my spouse and my house and my housemate and having a yard with a doggy door instead of having to watch for Adverb's sign he needs to go outside, which consists of staring at me quietly until I get the hint. I miss the chest freezer and the HEB. And the amount of Things To Do that I have coming up, academically, is absolutely staggering: three classes with big papers, vocab study and grammar study and academic reading and presentations and a HUGE amount of translation, and that's before getting into the vast and terrifying reading list for PhD students. And I do worry that I don't have a very tight focus on my thesis-to-be, yet; heck, I haven't even figured out what my obligatory minor will be.

But overall, I'm happy. And I'm getting things done, and I'm trying to get into a routine of reasonably healthy eating and walking and so forth that'll stand me well as a habit once I'm beaten down by snow, papers, and the general grind of things.

So that's the state of me.
fadeaccompli: (determination)
( Sep. 3rd, 2016 09:27 am)
Ah, I remember when I used to have theme and focus for my posts! But anyway.

* Endure is a tiny game by Emily Short, in which you translate a few lines of the Odyssey. In four different styles, piece by piece, for very different translated results. (Refresh to play again, if you've translated all the Greek and want to see it in different styles.) Very simple, and yet some great thought-provoking depth in what it's doing.

* Minneapolis has been lying to me, I've been assured. The weather has been gorgeous since I got here, it was gorgeous during my visit, and right now the temperatures are ambling toward my absolute favorite level of coolth. I will surely be shaking my fist at the sky come proper winter.

* There are a lot of dogs in this complex, as expected. What I had not expected was how many of them are completely outside the listed weight restriction. Neither that husky, that golden lab, nor that big brown dog that was yelling at us from the balcony is under 30 pounds. (And that pointer puppy is not going to be 30 pounds once he's grown up, either.) I'll just assume they got special exemptions made on the lease. But it does mean Adverb has been doing some cowering behind my legs as enormous dogs yell at/try to play with him.

To be fair, he also cowers behind my legs with small dogs yell at/try to play with him.

* Classes start on Tuesday. Right now, I am registered for seven classes, which is not quite as absurd as it sounds. Three of them are quite solid graduate courses (Hesiod, Roman Philosophy, Archeology of Pre-Historic Europe), but two are sight-reading classes with no homework, one is German reading, and one is an intro-to-CNES (Classics and Near Eastern Studies) course that's all reading and discussion. All but the archeology course only meet once a week, which means my schedule is bizarre and occasionally hilarious.

* As a Classics track PhD student, I get the full reading list that Latin PhD students do, and the full reading list that Greek PhD students do. I counted. 58 authors, many of whom I'm reading multiple works from. (Some of whom I'm only reading excerpts from, and a handful I only have to read in translation.) It's going to be a very busy...forever.

* We went to a meeting where all the current grad students talked about what they'd did with summer funding. "Don't expect us to be able to send you all over Europe," the program head reminded us, as four or five people explained their summers spent traveling between programs and interesting sites all over Europe. (The rest had mostly worked on their thesis or reading list, with a general 'don't starve' stipend type of funding for the time.)

* Then there was the meeting where we covered information like "How do you know what to address a professor by?" and "What's appropriate grad student clothing for attending classes, TAing, teaching, attending conferences?" and "Health insurance: for the love of god, sign up by the deadline!" and "Please don't take out the maximum student loans you're allowed, this will cause you problems" and "Undergrads think their TA is the voice of god, do not give definitive answers to these questions yourself." It was remarkably useful on at least two levels: one, that so many 'unwritten' rules were being made explicit; two, that it makes me confident I can actually ask for help with questions like these if I'm not sure.

* In related news, I bought a small amount of very cheap slightly professional clothing. Some day I would like moderately nice rather professional clothing, but I do not trust my own fashion judgment enough to spend money on such things yet.

* The light rail here is very handy and easy to use; the bus system is, despite their website, still rather baffling.

* I want to buy a bike, and the people at the bike store were gloriously useful in helping me figure out the right bike for me, but should I buy a bike when I'm not sure if I merely want one or if I'll actually use one regularly?

* Hoping to go to the state fair today. Wish me luck.
fadeaccompli: (academia)
( Aug. 29th, 2016 02:17 pm)
I moved to Minneapolis (temporarily) for grad school.

So, yeah, that's the dominant thing occupying my thoughts right now! I'm also working on some cool IF projects, trying to drag my fanfic back to life, reassuring a travel-traumatized dog, and so forth. I want to get back into climbing. Would try to get back into crochet, but I didn't pack any of my hooks or yarn along, so that's not likely.

But mostly: moved to Minneapolis. Incoming grad school. Gonna be very busy.
fadeaccompli: (Default)
( Jun. 28th, 2016 09:00 am)
Forgive me. It's been a summer of stressful things happening, most of which are too tedious or private to talk about. But, as a summary:

- The dog is responding well to daily anti-anxiety meds. He's still a nervous little dog who barks at noises outside and pees in terror if a handybeing comes into the house, but he calms down from these things much faster than before, and spends less of the day looking paranoid. A real improvement! Though I'm still concerned about how he'll handle apartment-with-roommates living in Minneapolis.

- I went to two days of a philosophy conference last week. Specifically, a conference for the International Association of Presocratic Studies. It was a lot of fun! And has thoroughly convinced me that I need to learn French and German and Italian properly, not just for reading; too many papers are given in that language, even with provided summaries/translations in English, for me to feel like a real scholar if all I can do is read in them. It was exhausting, in a con-like way, but a lot of fun.

- Speaking of actual conventions, I went to Fourth Street Fantasy the latter half of that week, and had a fabulous time. Which I always do, honestly. The panels were largely great, there were lots of good conversations in the halls and con suite and over food, I got to see a lot of friends I only see there (and meet at least one friend in person for the first time), and, you know. Good reconnecty stuff. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

- The trip back was horrible, for which I mostly blame Kansas City (fairly or not), but at least I have some travel vouchers to show for it.

- We may yet get the baseboards replaced this summer. Wouldn't that be nice?

- I'm off to donate blood in something under an hour, trying frantically to finish reading Mary Beard's SPQR before I return it to the library today (so not going to finish in time), happily eyeing Genevieve Valentine's Icon (sequel to Persona, just released today and my preorder downloaded to my phone), and I'll be playing some more delightful Fantasy Life after I return that library book. It's almost like you can't tell I'm mired in paralyzing summer depression!

- I really, really want to get better at writing interactive fiction this summer. Currently I'm trying to put together a tiny text version of Spore in ChoiceScript, as a way of learning the basics of that language. We'll see how it goes.

- Still a bit terrified about moving to Minneapolis and starting grad school, but I think it's going to be great. Really stressful! But great. And it turns out I know even more people in Minneapolis than I thought, so getting further out of the house than 'move between apartment and campus, repeat, repeat' won't be as hard as I feared. Though winter will be far worse than I could possibly imagine. I have been assured of that part. Apparently someone is going to march me into a store to buy Real Winter Clothing at some point.
A few paragraphs from the children's book I'm translating awkwardly from German, with the help of Google Translate, one semester of German, and squinting a lot at cognates.

The first four pages )
Taken from the Perseus edition of the Koine, for convenience, and translated more literally than poetically:

Love and prophecy )
fadeaccompli: (determination)
( May. 9th, 2016 09:17 am)
Specifically, I'm looking for advice on this.

So here's the thing: Adverb is an anxious, distractable, stubborn, reasonably clever little dog. And not high-energy, thank god, but he's not completely inert, either. So I'd like to keep him entertained! I'd especially like to find good ways to keep him intellectually stimulated and entertained before I get to Minnesota, where he will be in a much, much smaller space, without constant yard access.

But... damned if I can figure out how. He gets very anxious on walks, so a quick walk is more likely to lead us all to frustration--or be aborted before we turn the first corner--than keep him happy. Sometimes he'll chase thrown toys, or play tug with me, but a great deal of the time he merely stares in bemusement as I wave his favorite plush in front of him. He finds puzzle toys fascinating for about two minutes, then gets bored because he doesn't have the treat yet, and ditches the whole enterprise. He'll chew on hooves or bones or pork chews sometimes with great enthusiasm, then stare in bored confusion five minutes later when I offer them to him. And he's just...not very treat-motivated. If I'm not eating it myself, he doesn't care much.

So what the heck do I do to burn some energy off this pup and keep him from barking constantly out of sheer boredom? He'll run up to me and put his paws up on my knees in a clear "Let's do a thing!" request, but then ignore all offer of toys, hate walks, etc. Maybe I just haven't had enough dogs. But I don't know what else I'm supposed to do to entertain a dog who gets bored with things so easily.

Dog people, help?
Because of a friend's grim read-through of a deeply terrible 'historical' romance set in Roman times, I ended up translating a bit of Apuleius. Or trying to translate it, in any case; without notes, it was darn rough going, as I started in the middle of a sex scene, and it's all dramatic metaphor. Below the cut is...well, sex, I guess. Very metaphorical sex. Very rough translation. Starting and ending mid-sentences, as the page numbering got me. You have been warned on all points.

Warned! )
When I read Lyndsay Faye's new book, Jane Steele, I found it so brilliant I promptly went out and looked up more books by the same author. The Gods Of Gotham is one of her earlier books, and it's not brilliant: it's merely excellent.

It's antebellum New York City, and Timothy Wilde is, through no fault of his own, strong-armed into becoming part of the brand new police service in the city, in one of the worst precincts available. (He has a rather rocky relationship with his brother Valentine, who's behind the idea.) He promptly runs into a runaway little girl covered in blood, which turns into a murder and conspiracy mystery involving a lot of grim topics: child prostitution, serial murder, poverty and abuse and racism and anti-Catholic/-Irish sentiment (I'm not sure what 'bigotry on the basis of religion' is called, so I'm lumping it into racism for now), political corruption and riots and lynchings and...

...and yet, this meticulously researched historical murder mystery isn't grimdark. It's a lot of fun. Oh, the dark topics are taken quite seriously, but much like with Jane Steele, the lively protagonist voice does wonders for keeping the reader on an even keel through some really grim topics. Things are terrible; he does his best; even some of the terrible people have moments of kindness, and some of the kindest people can do terrible things. I found the picture of the city and the characters more engaging than the mystery itself (which I had half-solved well before the protagonist simply because of conservation of characters), but it's a damn good book. I've got the sequel, Seven for a Secret, sitting in front of me right now, and as soon as I finish writing this I'm going to crack the cover and try it out.
So! I'll be attending the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities campus, Classics and Near Eastern Studies program) this fall. I am very excited! I am also anxious as heck. Much paperwork to do, must figure out residence options there and get that set up, more paperwork to do, have to set up things so that the house in Austin can run happily while I'm away, still more paperwork to do, need to see if the dog can come along and how to manage him in apartment living if so, and also I think I need to do some more paperwork.

I am very happy. But, uh, very anxious! So that's a not unexpected combination, there.
fadeaccompli: (roles)
( Apr. 4th, 2016 11:09 pm)
Then we didn't say anything. A student passed us, oblivious to the cruel events just south of him. His hat very baggy and his step very hasty and his hose very tight. There was someplace urgent he needed to be, and he wasn't going to make it there on time. It was a gorgeous calamity in scale, I thought. A lovely misfortune. Immediate and irreversible and very soon forgotten. We needed more troubles like that. Ones like burning supper for coming down with a head cold at an awkward time. I desperately wanted to pass through countless small, endurable problems with the girl sitting next to me. I didn't need much else. After all, had I funds enough to feed her whatever she wanted, and dress her as she pleased, I myself could live on small beer and artfully deflected remarks.

But I didn't have a thing to my name save a star badge with a bent point. And I had to go to the Tombs. I hadn't even the time to wait for her to speak to me.

- Lyndsay Faye, The Gods of Gotham

God damn but this woman can write. And if that up there isn't a perfect declaration of love, I don't know what is.
Daughter of Mystery, by Heather Rose Jones, is a Ruritanian fantasy about inheritance, the formulation of miracles, and falling in love. Or maybe I should say, it's what you get when you take The Goblin Emperor and replace the airships, goblins, and monarchy with lesbians, intrigue, and scholarly inquiry. (Not exactly on a one-to-one basis.) My short review is that it's a delightful book, and you should totally try it.

Longer review, not spoiling anything more than 50 pages in, follows below.

As such! )
fadeaccompli: (risky)
( Mar. 27th, 2016 11:07 am)
Easter makes me uncertain, every year. There's what I once believed, and what the people around me believe, and I find myself caught somewhat in the middle. It's not easy to dismiss everything I was taught as a child--and frankly, I don't want to dismiss all of it--but it's so damn easy to just not think about it, when I'm surrounded by those who weren't taught the same.

So I end up going back to this one:

Matthew 25:31-46 )

So that's my to-do list. Whether or not there's a literal kingdom of heaven--and frankly, most days, I take it as metaphorical, in much the way of the vineyards and prodigal sons and so forth--it's not a bad list for me to go through.

Feed the hungry and thirsty. Clothe the naked. Invite the stranger in. Look after the sick. Visit the imprisoned.

I'm not doing a very good job of it. Maybe I'll do better this year.