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.
fadeaccompli: (academia)
( Mar. 23rd, 2016 12:31 pm)
Yes, I am totally getting to Ovid! But I felt like doing some Greek while I was out, so I tackled a bit of Acts next. Koine is weird. I don't mean that in a judgmental sort of way--all dialects are equally valid!--but it's very, mm, chatty? Lots of prepositions that don't feel necessary to me, which lead me down rabbit trails as I try to work out the specific meaning they want to use when it's really just the sort of thing I'd expect a dative on its own for. Slightly odd syntax. Simple, repetitive vocabulary. Such is. Anyway, have a few verses:

(1.1) I made my first account about all the things, Theophilus, which Jesus began to do and teach (1.2) until the day he, commanding the apostles he chose for himself by means of the holy spirit, was taken up; (1.3) the ones to whom he presented himself alive after his suffering, with many sure signs, being seen by them for forty days, and saying things about the kingdom of God.

(1.4) And when he was eating bread at the table* with them, he commanded them, "Don't depart from Jerusalem, but await the command of the father, which you heard from me; (1.5) that John baptized in water, but you will be baptized in a holy spirit after not many days."

(1.6) So when they got together they asked him, saying, "Lord, are you re-establishing the kingdom for Israel?"

(1.7) He said to them, "You do not know the times or moments which the father established in his private authority, (1.8) but you will receive power when the holy spirit comes up you, and you will be witnesses of me in Jerusalem and in all of Judea and Samaria and up to the farthest part of the land." (1.9) And having said these things, while they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him away from their eyes.

(1.10) And as they were staring into the [part of the] sky of his removal, and behold! two men stood near them in white clothing, (1.11) who said, "Galilean men, why do you stand around looking into the sky? This Jesus, the one taken up from you into the sky, will return thus in the same manner you saw him carried into the sky."

(1.12) Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mountain called Olive-Yard, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath-day's journey away. (1.13) And they went inside, up into the upper room where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas son of James. (1.14) All these men were faithful, in one accord, with prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and with his brothers.

(* This is a remarkably...specific...verb. Which is given that exact definition only for its appearance in Acts. As I have not studied Koine ever, I will trust the dictionary on this one; if you want a more Attic definition, try "gathering them together".)
First bit of translation is the easy one! Namely, a set of letters that someone suggested, with a handy link. There's nothing particularly exciting going on here in the literary sense, but it's a nice bit of insight into the ancient lives of the, as best I can tell, quite wealthy. If you go to the website where I got the text, you can compare the translation on one of them with me. (I still don't know how they got 'cheese' from τύπους. I mean, they probably know better than I do, but it's not in any of my dictionary sources.) So, as follows:


1. p.yale.1.34

Greetings to Scythian Ptolemaios. Come to Talos now, bringing also the chosen shepherds you told me about. And if you come too slowly you will harm yourself, because I don't have the leisure to remain longer. Farewell. Thanks, Choiachos.


2. p.hib.1.54

Greetings from Demophon to Ptolemaios. By all means, send us the flute-player Petous with his Phrygian flutes and the rest, and if you need to spend something for it, you'll be repaid by me. And send us Zenobios with his dainty kettledrum and cymbals and clappers, because the women want him for the festival; and bring the prettiest clothes possible. Get the kid from Aristion and send it to us. And if you have captured the slave, hand him to Semphtheus so that he'll pass him over to us. And send us as many statues as you can, and a new jar [of wine], and all kinds of vegetables, and seasoning if you have it. Farewell. Put these things and the guards accompanying them on the boat.
So! It looks like Everyone Loves Ovid, which is not entirely surprising, so I'll be picking up with his Ars Amatoria pretty soon. (I have the first twenty lines or so translated already in a notebook somewhere, courtesy of some very long flights to and from Sweden, but I'll just restart from scratch to get into the swing of things.) Everyone also loves Pliny, so I'll be working out a book of his to poke at; that'll go slowly and awkwardly, given the lack of notes--unless I just try to do the start of the book on land animals, since I have notes for the first few sections of that--but it gives me one prose and one poetry source, which feels like a good balance to me.

There was a lot less enthusiasm for anything in Greek, so I'm going to start with a papyrus transcription someone sent me, and then re-evaluate after that. I desperately need the Greek practice, but I do at least get some (god damn Aristotle) in the philosophy reading group, so there's that.
fadeaccompli: (academia)
( Mar. 12th, 2016 12:06 pm)
"Gosh," I said to myself, looking at Perseus and its giant store of conveniently accessible Latin and Greek texts, "I really should practice more, but it's no fun to just translate random things on my own without any purpose in mind beyond the practice, and without anyone to talk to about it..."

Which is where you people come in. At least in theory.

I need some practice in my Greek and Latin; other people, in theory, might be interested in seeing the results. So I figure I can give a few options for things I might work on translating, see what people are most likely to care about reading the translated versions of (with my obligatory footnotes and commentary, because why not), and go from there. A few notes:

1) Lyric poetry (of the type I'm interested in) goes pretty fast, so you can get full (short) poems in updates. However, a lot of the humor in stuff like Martial is either incomprehensible without footnotes, or extremely risque--or just damn horrifying--by modern standards.

2) If I do a long work, like a play, I'm almost certainly not going to finish it. So you'd only be seeing the start of that.

3) Greek goes slower than Latin.

With that in mind, here are some things I might translate! Tell me what you want to see.


Latin:

* Poems of Martial. Short, funny, not stupidly difficult to manage. I'll try to avoid the really horrifying ones.
* Seneca's <em>Medea</em>, a tragedy. Melodramatic, fairly clear, lots of angry ranting. You know the story already.
* Ovid's <em>Ars Amatoria</em>, a long poem about sexy love. Sometimes funny, lots of mythology, bit tricky in places but not that hard. I have an annotated guide available.
* Caesar's Civil Wars. Military history! Lots of indirect speech! Cast of thousands, if one counts all the unnamed soldiers keeling over.
* Pliny the Elder's Natural History. Do you want me to translate lists of rocks, with occasional anecdotes about them? This may be for you. Damn hard, but rather to my taste.
* Other: tell me about a Latin text you've been dying for a translation of. Except for the Aeneid. I categorically refuse to translate that again unless it's for a grade.

Greek:

* Poems of Pindar. I have never translated any Pindar at all. "Complicated but fun," my friend says.
* Callimachus' poems. Ditto on never having tried any. God only knows what it's like! It'd be a mystery!
* A play by Euripides, probably Helen. Pro: weird and interesting story, great language. Con: difficult, will never get to finish it.
* "Frogs", a comedy by Aristophanes. I have an annotated student edition, but it's gonna have the same comedy issues Martial does.
* One of Plutarch's comparative lives. Great anecdotes about ancient Greeks and Romans, with bonus moralizing! Probably wouldn't finish, but I could go faster now that I used to. I'd probably try the Alexander again to get a running start, but I'm open for suggestions.
* Something from the New Testament. (Probably Mark, or Acts.) I've never done Koine before, but I'm told it's generally easier than Attic anyway.
* Other: tell me about a Latin text you've been dying for a translation of. Except for Thucydides. I categorically refuse to translate him again unless it's for a grade.
fadeaccompli: (academia)
( Feb. 18th, 2016 12:39 pm)
So here's the thing. I need German reading proficiency for classics reasons, but getting an Only Reading Comprehension class isn't an option right now, nor has it been for some time. (Yes. I looked. Yes. I know about the theoretical For Reading classes for grad students at UT. Yes. I CHECKED. I may be getting a wee bit tired of having people helpfully tell me to take a thing I cannot, for reasons too boring to go into here.) And god knows I have the self-study skills of someone who...well, loves figuring out how languages are put together, but is maybe not the best at drilling vocabulary without a quiz and prof's approval on the other end, or at least an interesting text to work towards.

Thus, German 101 over at the community college. And I like the professor quite a lot! She keeps assuring us that we should all be glad we're taking German and not her native language, Polish, as German is rigidly logical, and Polish apparently is...not. But I gotta say, the rules for German still drive me to bafflement at times, as I'm still trying to internalize them.

Let's take word order. And we are still on very very simple word order rules, very early on. We just started chapter two. So here's the thing:

1) The verb is always in the second place in the sentence. ("Place" means it's the second "element", which can get a bit confusing at times, but generally an element is a noun or verb or negation or prepositional phrase or adjective or what not.)

2) The subject always wants to be directly adjacent to the verb; ideally before it, but after will suffice (and is sometimes necessary).

3) Negation wants to be directly before whatever it's negating.

3a) ...but can't be the first word in a sentence.

3b) ...and is overruled by any of the rules above.

Which means that if I want to say "It's raining today", it's simple:

Heute regnet es.
Es regnet heute.

"Today" or "it" can come first, and the verb, "regnet", goes second. Easy! But if I want to say "It's not raining today"...

Nicht heute regnet es-- Nope, negation can't be first.
Heute nicht regnet es-- Nope, verb has to be second.
Heute regnet nicht es-- Nope, subject has to be adjacent to verb.
Heute regnet es nicht. Success! And thus the negation, which has to go before what it negates, has found itself shuffled all the way to the end of the sentence.

You know what doesn't explain any of these rules? Duolingo. You know what dings you for having words in the wrong order, and simply tells you they can't be in that order, without telling you why? Duolingo. And THIS is why I am taking a class on German, rather than just following handy free online tools that will helpfully hold me accountable to regular vocab practice.
...were not actually all that adventurous. I went in, I answered the usual questions, I winced at the finger stick, I gave blood. The only odd part was that, for the first time ever, the phlebotomist had trouble finding a vein. Lots of hmmming, having me squeeze the ball harder, poking around, a little fishing with a needle, and then finally calling over a senior phlebotomist to actually get the needle into my vein. ("You were really close," he said encouragingly to her, after getting it to work. "Right next to it!")

Reader, I put a lot of effort into not making the D: faces that I was thinking, at that.

But, hey! Free cookies! Free Gatorade, which came in a can. (I have never seen gatorade in a can before, but there you have it. I had it.) And I feel all virtuous about it. I am a universal donor, and I have donated universally, or something like that. Now I'm back home, avoiding useful chores and poking away at fanfic, because apparently that's where my brain is right now. German class and fanfic.

In unrelated news, I have heard back from two of five graduate schools about my application, and got accepted to those two. Which is very exciting! But until I hear back from the other three, I have less to say about it than about blood donation. When I have an actual decision made, then it'll be Very Big News indeed.
"But I don't have anything interesting to say right now," I tell myself. "Well, except for those things which deserve a proper post with plenty of thought and organization, and I don't feel like that much work--"

Well. Never mind that. In the interests of putting something here other than exchange letters and "There was a house disaster" posts, here is, in no particular order, a series of things I'm really into right now:

1) Wilde Life, an urban fantasy webcomic with god damn pacing and arc plot and structure. Also, set in rural Oklahoma. Great art, sharp writing, characters I love, and a believable promise from the author that it's going to go specific places, not meander. I've talked about it here before; still highly recommended.

2) Ovid. I've been working casually and slowly through his Ars Amatoria, since I have a Bryn Mawr edition sitting around anyway. (I am told Ovid is difficult, but I think people are talking about other works of his, or working from editions without annotation. This is pretty simple so far.) It's charming and has such voice, and I still love his habit of just slapping a random noun into the ablative and using it as a locative because who's going to stop him, huh?

3) Genevieve Cogman's library series. The Invisible Library is going to be out in the US soon, which should make it far easier to recommend to friends, and I'm reading The Masked City much slower than such a fun book deserves, because apparently I am now so used to reading books on my phone that it takes me ten times as long to read them in paper. Lots of fun! World-hopping magic librarians, adorable aristocratic dragon sidekick, Sherlock Holmes expy, steampunk madness with hilariously melodramatic fae villains. Great stuff.

4) Interactive Fiction. Right now I'm working my way through learning Twine, because it requires a lot less "Oh god did I typo that chapter number" checking than doing things the manual way like I did with The Virulent. (Which I am still damn proud of, as a story, but I am also glad a friend is maybe putting it into Twine for me, because that'll make it easier for people to play.) I also really want to try out the Choice Of system, because I am enough of a gamer at heart to adore stats, but I'm trying not to over-reach.

I wrote a very short story called Trope Shop in Twine, which I am fond of, and if I ever figure out how to host it online usefully I'll link people to it. (Right now it's just an HTML file that I can email to people, which is handy, but not very efficient.) ETA: ...and you can find it here. I'm working on another one called Hubris Never Steered Me Wrong, courtesy of Arkady Martine, who will have to forgive me for taking such a great title and then filling it with tragedy and melancholy.

5) Starting short stories, and then never finishing them. I'm sorry. It's a habit.

6) Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I'm sure the rush will wear off after a bit, but between that, Jupiter Ascending, and Mad Max: Fury Road, 2015 was a great year for action movies that gave me a lot to think about afterwards. I can't really burble fannishly without spoilers, so let's just say it's a movie I enjoyed, and move on.

7) Steven Universe. It's always annoying when everyone tells you how great something is and then they turn out to be right, isn't it? Well. They were. I'm deeply into the flashback episodes, for all the additional worldbuilding they do, and also for showing how the protagonist really has changed the way people interact just by being himself. But also for showing how other characters were effective and cool and learning and growing because of each other even before he came along, kthx. It's a fine balance to walk in a show that surrounds a Chosen One protagonist with superpowered heroes who have been around for millennia, and Steven Universe pulls it off surprisingly well.

#

So, anyway. Stuff I've been really into lately. Back to snarling at this short story that isn't ending properly. Endings are hard, y'all.
Here's the basics, as I put them on AO3:

Title: The Virulent (34892 words)
Fandom: Sunless Sea
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Zee Captain, The Carnelian Exile, Maybe's Daughter, The Quiet Deviless, Original Characters
Additional Tags: Choose Your Own Adventure, Possible Character Death, Epistolary, Canon-Typical Horror

Summary: The Virulent leaves the docks of London with a new captain at its helm: a woman seeking fame, fortune, and adventure on the Unterzee. The zee will always provide opportunities, but not every captain knows how to navigate between the shoals of caution and ambition to find what she seeks.

There's also a transcript version, covering three expeditions, if you want to read a version of the story without having to flip between chapters and make choices.

If you haven't played Sunless Sea, but have ever played Fallen London (aka Echo Bazaar), you know enough to be able to easily read/play this story. If you've never played Fallen London, then what you need to know to understand the story is: London was stolen by bats to a vast underground location, some years ago, because of a deal with devils. And now people set out from London to sail the vast underground ocean in rickety steamers, conducting trade with the many strange ports on the islands out there.

That all said! If you're curious, here is my ramble about the process of writing it.

On writing! )
fadeaccompli: (Default)
( Dec. 26th, 2015 06:16 pm)
Rather than try to catch up with the last few months since I said anything about my life... Here's a list of Yuletide stories I really liked this year! *cough* And maybe this will remind me to update a bit more around here.

I have sorted these by fandom, but have added an asterisk to those I think are reasonably easy to read without knowing the fandoms in question.

As such. )
.