fadeaccompli: (risky)
( Oct. 18th, 2017 06:30 pm)
The last time I posted here, it was about heading back to Minneapolis.

You may gather from the long silence that the semester has been damn near crushing with the workload. I'm tired all the time, and stressed quite a lot. Greek is very hard, Latin is challenging but mostly just a lot to do, the comp lit class has difficult reading (which is at least in English), and teaching Latin...

...well, I actually love teaching Latin. But needing to be chipper and focused and performing in front of the class at 8am five days a week, then grading and handling emails each of those five days as well, plus meetings with my supervisor and so forth, does rather add to the workload.

I'm not getting nearly as much writing done as I'd like. By a long shot.

Very tired.

In other news... Um. I dunno. I read various good books, mostly in snippets every morning on the bus (woo, ebooks on phone): The Stone in the Skull, Provenance, The Nightmare Stacks, An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors, Ruin of Angels, probably a few others I've been forgetting. Continuing to enjoy Squirrel Girl. Really got into The Good Place. Went to a great picnic at Hidden Falls Park. (The falls were indeed hidden, but not well enough to keep me away.) Got to see Rob again for a week. Walked the dog many times. Bought some new (used) shoes. Learned to gel my hair in place against the difficulties of bike-riding, speaking of which, started using the bikeshare program here. Stocked a shelf at the office with pudding cups and apples and trail mix for all the nights I've been staying until 7 to get things done. Had a lot of fun conversations about grocery stores and high school graduation rituals and dogs with my Norwegian law school flatmate.

Very tired.

Gosh, I'm so very tired.

I should stop typing this and stagger home to eat something slow-cooked, and walk the dog, and then translate Latin until it's time for sleep.
fadeaccompli: (weather)
( Aug. 25th, 2017 11:33 am)
That's the plan for today, anyway. The original plan was to fly out tomorrow morning, but have you seen the size of that hurricane coming towards Texas? So, ah, no. I called the nice people at Southwest yesterday, and they gave me the earliest exit slot available, which is this afternoon.

I don't take afternoon flights very often. It's weird to be out at the coffee shop in the morning when I'm flying today. Somewhere in the back of my head flights are still what I remember from childhood: up at 3am to be at the airport by 4am for a 7am departure, from Quito to Panama to either Miami or Los Angeles, depending on the planned summer route. Or the reverse, back to Quito. I still mentally block out air travel days as an All Day Thing. (Which is probably for the best; I find air travel exhausting, despite being fond of it.)

The dog will not be pleased to be shoved into a carrier, and then hauled between three airports and shoved under the seat in two planes, but that's what sedatives are for. They don't knock him out, but they make him unhappily woozy instead of unhappily hysterical. I'll take it.

I'm rather worried about the house with the incoming storm, but it's too late to do anything we haven't already done for. Definitely time to get some trees trimmed once it's passed, though, to avoid fears of falling branches. (Or worse.) One of the downsides of living in a nice residential neighborhood full of pecan trees is that sometimes they come down.

I'm really looking forward to teaching Latin. I'm excited about the upcoming classes. I am side-eyeing the cost of all the textbooks. I am frustrated with how little I got done over the summer. My brain is full of Catullus and anxiety and wondering what meetings during orientation week call for breaking out the Professional Wardrobe and which I could just show up to in jeans and t-shirts like usual.

Ah, grad school. Very fond of it, even if it makes me a quivering mess of stress all the time.
fadeaccompli: (determination)
( Aug. 5th, 2017 01:00 pm)
I keep meaning to swing through here and do a sort of roundup of what media I've been trying out lately. More of the Laundry Files series, some great new space opera, nonfic on narratology, a variety of good TV shows... But I keep putting it off until I have the time and concentration to do it all.

Putting that off a while longer! But I realized that I really want to make sure people see this one. It's...well, a book, more or less? It's definitely a text memoir, with some illustrations. It was posted entirely on Tumblr, but there's an index. The whole book's done now, and there are prefaces going up, which reminds me of how good it is.

Ten Years A Peasant is the memoir of a man who was one of the sent-down youth who moved from the city to a very rural village because of the Cultural Revolution. He's writing now from in the US, where his children live, and his children helped with translation and annotation, as well as finding illustrations and putting it online. (There are occasional editorial notes to explain puns, jokes, wordplay, and points being made with particular Chinese characters.) It's the memoir of someone who's several decades removed from the experience, but also clearly found it the most formative part of his entire life.

And it's just...fascinating. The rigorous, brutal, clannish conditions that a lot of city kids were suddenly thrust into. The author's cheerful determination to make it work. The political enthusiasm of those kids and most of their neighbors, the political threat of accidentally praising the wrong person at the wrong time. The traditional labor that had been working for three thousand years and the author discovering why the tradition has stuck: because it's functional. The shift and change of incoming technology, and how to deal with it. Village politics and city politics, and learning how to silently manage between them. Everyone working around the rules, and everyone using rules to get things done. Cheery intervillage theft and retribution and competition and banding together against other people who don't understand.

I came away deeply impressed by the author, at that, who seems to have been an exceptional young man. He doesn't try to puff himself up; but his straightforward descriptions of how he tried to learn things, or adjust around problems, and what he did when problems hit him in the face, were really something. I wish I'd been half that determined and full of ingenuity when I was the age he described.

As he says in the preface, discussing when he showed his first chapter to friends:

My compatriots’ reactions were varied – some even said “it has a certain historical value." The initial motivation for writing these essays was for my children, but if it can have a bit of historical value, that is beyond what I’d hoped.

At the time, sending over 17 million youth into the countryside felt like a very big deal, but compared to the several hundred million migrant workers who have since left their homes to work in the cities, it seems barely worth a mention. And in another few decades, we will be gone and these eclectic stories would further disappear like the smoke.

It's just...really, really interesting, and a great book. (Besides, it's a memoir, so you know the guy going through all that trouble got out okay.) I highly recommend it.
Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World: A YA novel above Doreen Green in a brand new junior high, dealing with squirrel powers and toddlers in danger and grouchy new friends and mean girls and a supervillain and politics between tree & ground squirrels. Fast, funny, an absolute delight. Bought myself a copy after originally getting it from the library.

Ms. Marvel, volumes 1 & 2: I really like the protagonist, and while the story moves more slowly than the Squirrel Girl comics do, it's still a lot of fun. Thoughtful and silly and punchy in turns. I'm not thrilled by the art or most of the hook-ins in to the larger superhero universe, but definitely worth reading more in the series.

Ninefox Gambit: A book I've been sitting on for a while, because I knew I had to get some brains put together to read it. Weird, brutal, brilliant military scifi, having a conversation with a lot of the same things Ancillary Justice does, but from a different angle and in a very different setting. Suspect it will please fans of Warhammer 40k. Of which I am not one! But it was a twisty, exuberant, dark, compelling read, with the kind of prose I wish more books these days had. Bought the sequel immediately.

Various volumes of the Dragonbreath and Hamster Princess series: Entertaining as always.

Various volumes of the Laundry Files series: Lovecraftian mythos plus bureaucratic spy comedy. They vary wildly in tone--maybe skip Equoid unless you read horror regularly--but they're great reads, and manage to balance some absurd humor with pretty serious thoughts about acceptable losses and collateral damage when fighting secret wars. Makes me wish that Charlie Stross wrote for In Nomine.

The Magpie Lord + sequels: Secret(ish) magic in Regency or Victorian England, damned if I can recall which, with two prickly and proud men falling in love while dealing with curses and magical enemies and so forth. Good fun, occasionally dark, often adventuresome, be aware that the porn quotient gets higher as the trilogy goes on.
fadeaccompli: (Default)
( Jul. 4th, 2017 10:09 am)
Remember the Triassic Park game that I ran the other day? A friend of mine reskinned it for Call of Cthulhu, so there's now Arkham Stories, wherein investigators try to solve creepy mysteries and not die or go mad. Slightly different rules, as it allows for potential campaign play (or at least longer sessions).

Naturally, I decided to run a pick-up game where I declared I had two hours to get this done, online, so let's get moving, people. This is the log.

Deep in sleepy Shogburg, the Methodists awake )
So, a few weeks back I ran into this one-page RPG on Tumblr. It's called "Escape from Triassic Park", and it's basically "Jurassic Park from the dinosaur perspective," with very fast and silly rules for maximum mayhem. This afternoon, I decided to try it out, and run a very short, very fast game of it for anyone who wanted to play.

(N.B.: The RPG was created by these folks based on the RPGs done by this guy and seems most like this RPG of his about criminal bears. Note has been also made of its similarity to Lasers & Feelings (PDF link), so, credit where it is variously due!)

The obstacles in their path were "all the males are in cryo storage" and "the guards are spliced with dino DNA"; they started "in their own enclosures"; and these are the stories of the Dinosaurs On The Run.

(Most of the OOC comments have been taken out of the log except for clarity, amusement, and where I forgot to do otherwise. One typo has been corrected, and two misordered poses have been put back into order. Otherwise this is exactly as it happened. Based on a true story, etc.)

Session Log )
fadeaccompli: (risky)
( Jun. 26th, 2017 12:30 pm)
Finally turned off the crossposting to LJ; it's been failing ever since the new TOS went up over there, anyway.

Alas, alas, for Livejournal of old. Long live the Dreamdwidth!
fadeaccompli: (determination)
( Jun. 26th, 2017 11:14 am)
I'm never quite sure how to treat my DW account, especially with how silent the place is compared to LJ of old. Not quite a ghost town, but certainly not the neighborhood coffee shop either. A suburb sidewalk, perhaps? We wave to people we pass when we see them outside, watering the lawn or checking the mail. Sometimes we wave from a window as they pass our house, walking the dog. It's quiet. Fairly amiable. Such is.

Well, since my day-to-day chatter is on Twitter, I suppose I treat this as a very broad kind of diary. Thus, recently:

1) I became less sick. Go me. Very much appreciated.

2) I went to Minneapolis for a week, where I:

2a) Met up with professors, picked up a lot of books from the library, saw some classmates (coworkers? what do you call fellow grad students in your department?), and figured out a better direction for the Catullus paper;

2b) Went to Fourth Street Fantasy, as I have apparently been doing for six years now, and had a marvelous time, especially because I was on anti-anxiety meds and carefully using my time, which meant I didn't get to everything I wanted, but I was able to really enjoy all the things I went to, and;

2c) not only enjoyed the panels I attended immensely, but ended up on the traditional impromptu But That's Another Panel at the end of the con, which was on happy endings, wherein I got to argue with people I like and have a great time;

2d) and then headed back home, as it's pretty eerie to be in Minneapolis over the summer, with the office empty and my dog somewhere else;

3) I've been picking up on German on Duolingo again, which is reassuring, in that I still have the basic syntactical structure and simple forms down, even if my vocab is lousy and thus I need Google Translate to get through an academic paper in German, yeesh;

4) I am working valiantly on my Social Services of the Damned project, and finally making the progress I've been wanting;

5) I'm mulling over the Catullus stuff, and about to go to UT and turn my TexShare Card (derived from my Austin City Library card) into a UT Some Title Here Card that will let me check out academic books I need from them, which, y'know, will be helpful, because JSTOR will only get you so far in the research grind, especially in classics, since JSTOR doesn't really do much in the way of non-English resources and I damn well need to pick up some stuff from other languages;

6) ...shit. I need to learn Italian. Should be easy, right? I've got Spanish, I've got Latin, I've got the French basics, how hard could it be?

7) Back to Duolingo it is.

8) Also I've read all the (modern) Squirrel Girl I can find and you guys, it's GREAT, it is ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC, I'm turning into an evangelist for it, and you should read it. The graphic novel collections, the YA novel, anything you can find that's from the last few years. (Prior to that is...iffy.) Seriously. It's great.
fadeaccompli: (chores)
( Jun. 3rd, 2017 03:23 pm)
Being sick does not make me more productive, and I do not particularly like it. Fortunately, the lurgy appears to be lifting! ...unfortunately, it now appears to be descending on the spouse in turn. We are a very wheezy household at the moment. Alas, alas, *cough cough cough* alas.

Poking away at Latin, both for the summer research project (Hello, Catullus!) and prepwork for teaching Latin (Hello, Oxford Latin Course!). Some of it is fun, some of it is tedious. Some of it would be more fun if I were not pausing to drink another bottle of water every twenty minutes.

I saw Wonder Woman and it was pretty darn good. I read Lightning in the Blood and it was good, though not as exciting as the novella before it. I dragged some books to Half Price Books, I played some Persona 5, I outlined the conversational trees for this chapter of Social Services of the Damned. The usual.

The cats are all fine. The dog is anxious. The city is too damn humid. The kitchen always needs cleaning. Summer continues.
fadeaccompli: (chores)
( May. 18th, 2017 12:55 pm)
Back in Austin! I arrived to a glowingly scrubbed house (maids were hired for an afternoon), which is already reacquiring a layer of cruft as three cats, three humans, and a dog walk in and out through various doors, pet or otherwise. But still. It was very nice and the best thing to come home to after two days in the car. The cats are already back to their usual habits around the dog; Zabina will interact with him briefly, Peejee is eating his kibble, and George is hiding in Fuzzy's room. Cats. They have their habits.

I am out at Epoch, the good old coffee shop I love that sometimes has tolerable music and/or quiche, and requires showing up before noon to get a seat. Before 10am if you want an outlet and/or table. I have lots of writing to do. And research! And prepping for teaching Latin! It's going to be a busy summer.

I will not work myself into a rut, mind. Tonight I'll be watching Columbo (we finally got the box set), tomorrow we start on Sense8 Season 2 with friends, and soon my copy of Persona 5 will arrive, which should take the entire summer to play through properly. I'm slowly learning to pace myself, and I view this summer partly as practice for that. I need to learn to not only self-motivate, but to hit deadlines that are a long ways out, by working...well, enough in the time allowed. Not necessarily steadily, but in a way that gets things done on time without burnout or excessive sloth.

Right now I'm avoiding my writing deadlines by reading English Grammar for Students of Latin, which is a rather dry book that I love on principle. After the German Reading class where the prof kept having to explain to students what an adverb was...well, it's nice to have a text to point to, even if I'll still get these questions in class. Or so I am warned.

I'm really excited about teaching Latin. And terrified. And excited. I need to figure out how to do lecture prep! And what examples to use! And I need to work on my pronunciation, lots, so that I'm giving the long and short vowels the proper sounds, and putting my stress on the right places!

By the way, I blame Greek for teaching me to start all sentences with 'and'. Just saying.
fadeaccompli: (thrash)
( May. 11th, 2017 11:24 am)
I just turned in my last essay of the semester. (Unlike last semester, when my three papers totaled to, what, around 30k of writing?, this semester's two papers only hit about 11-12k between them, including footnotes.) I passed my French proficiency exam. Grades were posted already for Greek Prose Comp, and I got an A in that class.

I'm going to move to a different cubicle in the office, go pick up my spouse for lunch, and spend the afternoon playing video games. Maybe I'll even play The Sims! It's been ages.
I had four classes this semester. All the actual class meetings are done, and the last day of finals week is this coming Friday. Let's see how my completion rates are stacking up!

French Reading: Exam taken, exam passed, certificate signed by the department of French & Italian and then turned in to the CNES office to prove I had passed the second of my two modern language requirements. I can officially read French (with a dictionary)! Woo!

Greek Prose Composition: All assignments turned in. As of the final turn-in assignment, Pausanias was being a jerk, walking around in Persian clothes and hiring Egyptians as bodyguards, because he's a military victor and the Persian king is dealing with him.

Poetry of Praise (Latin & Greek): Final (and only) paper turned in; seminars tend to base the whole grade on a single paper, or just about. My argument: Catullus 61 uses direct address as a way of focusing its objects of praise, with the exception of the address to the concubine, who is used as a foil for the bride and groom to keep the praise given in the wedding poem from becoming excessive.

Late Antiquity (History): Final paper is in the "I have done all the research and outlined, now I just need to WRITE the darn thing" stage. My argument: St. Jerome's letters to women treat the slaves of nuns as a form of social presentation, whose nature inherently reflects on the character of the nun in question.

I've got until the 12th for that last paper, but I'd really like to get it done sooner. After all, I have game writing to do, Persona 5 to play, Pokemon to catch, Sense8 to watch, and my entire summer project on Catullus to get started on... Plus prepping for teaching Latin in the fall, whee!
Well, I seem to be off Livejournal now, and no longer crossposting. Oh well. I mention my old Livejournal username here--fadethecat, which I left behind long ago but never bothered to pay to change there--for the help of anyone trying to google their way to my account here.*

Grad school is very difficult. I keep staring wistfully at fanfic I'd like to update, and then getting back to my Greek prose comp homework or what not. I'm lucky enough to not have much pagecount due at the end of this semester; I won't be so lucky next semester, and on top of that, next semester I'll be teaching Latin. So much to do! So little time!

Summer plans: working through the Greek reading list (the Iliad! some lyric poetry! Plato!), working on a research paper about Catullus's long poems (61-64, which is three wedding poems and a weird one), Persona 5, Fourth Street, my little sister's wedding.

There are a fair number of people on DW who I don't follow, and should, because I disliked having overlap between LJ and DW when I checked pages. So ping me if I followed you there and don't seem to be here, if you'd like. I'm too distracted with grad school right now to try to compile that list myself.

The journaling website is dead! Long live the journaling website!

(* Oh, and I changed the names on my Tumblr and AO3 accounts because it feels like I should make it that little bit harder for my future Latin students to accidentally run into my fanfic while trying to figure out how to email me on the weekend or something. But if you follow me over there, that shouldn't change anything. Send me a message if you need the names for those accounts.)
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! )