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Lunch in the cafeteria today reminded me of how much everything affiliated with fish and chips tastes exactly the same. The first time I ever had this particular local delicacy was when Chris and I were waiting for our train back from Cornwall when we went camping there last summer. We stopped at a local fish-and-chips place in the town where we were and had a lunch that was certainly palatable but completely homogeneous. The hake, the calamari, the french fries, the onion rings, the utensils and the napkins* all had roughly the same oily-crunchy texture and bland flavor, even with liberal application of aioli and salt. You could have put everything into a blender, reconstituted it into long, thick, lumpy shapes and deep-fried it and it would have been more or less the exact same meal.

Along the same lines of long, thick, lumpy objects, I had a lecture today about The Nun's Priest's Tale from Canterbury Tales in which the lecturer bravely chose to keep referring to Chauntecleer as a "cock." There was surprisingly little giggling, even when she alluded to the fox running off with a cock in its mouth and people chasing after it. Even after the lecture conversation kept to the less puerile side of things with a discussion of "Chaucer-Fried Chicken" (don't ask me how that one came up) between me and a couple friends. In conjunction with long, thick, lumpy things being deep-fried, however, my inner eleven-year-old is surfacing. Must not disturb other library patrons with juvenile laughter...

Am now off to write 1,000 words about The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd. May just type random gibberish until I actually think of something to write about.

*I may be exaggerating about a few of these. Poetic license.
The Hive

Happy Aspen-was-born-22-years-ago day!

So far the festivities have consisted of Chris giving me Rammstein's newest CD (the deluxe version, albeit the smaller one without the handcuffs and 6 dildos.) We're thinking of going out to dinner for it this afternoon provided it doesn't start dumping down rain like it has for the past 3 days. Even then we might.

Otherwise... Dragon Age is really fun, (don't listen to winterfox :p) my room is a huge mess and Chris is staying over for the week since his stupid school has the week off, which is nice. I'm planning on taking him on a tour of campus if it ever stops being wet and miserable.

PS: Mia, I hope stealing that drawing of the Hive you had to use as an avatar isn't verboten. I just though it was really cool.

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I didn't even consider the fact that I'd be sad about missing Thanksgiving this year, but here I am feeling kinda sad about it. I used to be a lot more enthusiastic about Thanksgiving when I was a kid and we would go to my dad's stepmom's house in Las Vegas every year. I liked to watch (and sometimes join in with) my dad and uncles playing Rise of the Triad, and there were movies I liked and an awesome hot tub and usually at least one visit to something cool at a casino. Sadly, eventually family tensions that I had no idea about at such a young age manifested and we started having dinner with my mom's family at our boring old house instead. But I still certainly enjoyed it, especially the food part. I was very proud of myself the first year I cooked Thanksgiving dinner and my sister's girlfriend said it was the best turkey she'd ever had. (That was one of the few good parts in a whole ocean of suck, as that year Thanksgiving fell on the day after my mom died. Which in turn was three days after my birthday. There are worse ways to spend a consecutive pair of holidays, but I've never experienced any of them.)

So yeah, everywhere I go I see recipe sites and MSN articles and stuff talking about Thanksgiving and I start feeling kind of homesick and sad. And hungry. Really, really hungry. padparadscha and any other of my lurking American friends are free to mail me as much spare turkey as they want. For my part, maybe I'll make a pumpkin pie or something. I keep wanting to bake stuff for people on my floor and that seems like a good way to go about it.

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Today in my 5th-Century Athens seminar we got to look up close at some of the pots in the school's very small museum. To protect them from various harmful skin oils and such the prof passed around a bunch of these truly hilarious white gloves that made everyone look like they had Mickey Mouse hands. Wearing these, we got to handle a late black-figure drinking bowl and a couple of small red-figure pot shards, one with a picture of a satyr and one with a boy playing a tortoiseshell lyre. Probably my favorite one we saw was one we didn't get to hold, a Corinthian plate with absolutely gorgeous drawings of fish and squid picked out in red on the surface. Here's are a couple pictures from the museum website:

Overhead view. My favorite is the squid. It looks so inoffensive.

With cool side design.

Black-figure amphora with confusing horses.

Guy with Crazy Beard Potshard

Am now about to brave the elements to go to the campus nightclub. Wish me luck.
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A land in turmoil cried out for a hero...

Just now while revising my essay on Persians by Aeschylus, I was trying to think of a way to describe the time before Athens was established in which the Greeks considered a lot of their myths and stuff to have taken place. I tried a whole bunch of things, but the only one I ended up liking very much went something like this:

"Persians was written only eight years after the events it depicts, as opposed to the vaguely defined TIME OF ANCIENT GODS! WARLORDS! AND KINGS! in which most tragedies of the day took place."

Sadly, I'm pretty sure if you reference Xena: Warrior Princess in an essay for a Classics course they automatically fail you, so I suppose I'll have to come up with something else.

2009: A Book Review

I recently finished reading 2001: A Space Odyssey and will never again question why Clarke has a sci-fi award named after him. I've never looked much into the wide world of hard(ish) sci-fi, but as presented in 2001, the prose was so engaging and the explanations were so straightforward and clear, even for a non-science person like me, that I stayed fascinated the whole way through. The story made so much more sense when actually explained by a narrative (although it didn't help that the first time I saw the movie was a) several years ago and b) with my dad keeping up a semi-constant drunken commentary about how deep it was all the way through, so I may have been slightly distracted from understanding it all.) The suspenseful parts were suspenseful, the beautiful parts were beautiful, and the long cat was lo--er, sorry.

Ironically, reading the book has just made me hate the movie even more. I can see what Kubrick was trying to do now, but the story deserved so much more than what he gave it, or even could give it. In the book, for instance, Dave's journey through the star toward the room/rebirth at the end was absolutely beautiful, both in description and sentiment. In the movie... well, it was the 70s. The asthetics of the 70s will ruin anything you plug into them. I suppose the sentiment was the same in both cases, but again, without the narrative it lost a lot of the impact in addition to looking like a Windows screensaver having a bad trip. This has happened to other books I liked (yes, Girl with a Pearl Earring, I'm looking right at you and your boring, piscine star. I don't get why so many people find Scarlett Johannsen so gorgeous. IMHO she looks like her parents were straight out of Innsmouth. I'm off topic again.)

Next up: Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler, and see if I can track down the 2001 sequels. I was also sucked into re-reading China Mieville's The Scar, but I left off at a slow enough part that I've abandoned it for the time being.

Some Really Cool Things

  • Flying into a place with a lot of small cities late at night. Looking out of the plane as we landed at Heathrow it looked like I'd turned off the clipping in a video game and had stepped outside of the level where I could see all of the individual layers of the background and things. The big, dark spaces between each of the individual towns made it look like we were flying down through the layers into some kind of huge, black abyss.
  • Wild blackberries. OMGBLACKBERRIESOMG. Huge tangles of vines 8 feet high growing over everything in contact with it and covered in delicious, delicious blackberries that none of the locals really seem to notice. More for me, I say. I may try making a blackberry pie with the wok I just bought.
  • Rain! OK, so this part  may get old pretty fast, but coming from what's effectively a really well-irrigated desert I reserve the right to enjoy the rain till the novelty wears off. Right now there's a really fine, misty one going on outside. It looks like someone's lowered a scrim in front of the window, or maybe just a long, gauzy veil.
  • Irn Bru. This bright orange Scottish energy drink is my new favorite thing. How bad it must be for me doesn't bear thinking about, but it tastes so good that I find myself not caring.
Orientation's been okay, although the Arts and Humanities building is under construction so all us liberal arts types are getting shuffled around a bit. (On Monday I tried to find the faculty office there with two staircases and all the elevators closed. That was not an experience I would like to repeat.) Classes start next Monday which is theoretically when the workers will be out, but I may have to commit the alternate routes to memory just in case. You never know with these construction projects.


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Well, my first flight was a resounding success, but the second flight came to a screeching halt when the flight attendants informed us that there was a mechanical problem and they had to go look for another plane. After waffling for a while they finally told us the flight had been officially cancelled and we would have to rebook, so after only the most minor of panicking I managed to get on the phone with American Airlines and reschedule for a flight into Heathrow. The good part was that it was direct to London and I wouldn't have to take a detour through Ireland as previously anticipated, but the less good part was that it was the next day at 9 AM local time, leaving me about 12 hours to kill. They gave me a hotel voucher but I chose instead to stay up at the airport all night watching MSTs and talking to Chris. (What can I say, I *really* hate airport security.) It was actually nice in that my subsequent nap on the plane was the most restful plane sleep I've ever had.

Anyhoo, seven hours after that I landed and took my two ridiculously heavy trunks and one ridiculously heavy bag to Chris's place where I am now. We're planning on goofing off all day and then getting me moved into student housing tomorrow.

Regressive? Me? Me?!?

Today's activities:
  • Said goodbye to the Aged (Grand)Parents with an ornamenal pepper plant and a nice card. I think the sertraline has kicked in being that I didn't cry at any point during the proceedings.
  • Went over to padparadscha's house with the doll she made me a while ago to do a photostory for her doll blog. (See post title.) The doll, Tris, will be living at her house while I'm away because she's too big to feasibly take with me and my cats might get ideas if I left her in my room. padparadscha and I then watched Fire Maidens from Outer Space and talked about cool braid-y hairstyles we wished we could pull off.
  • Hung out with Sparky and Katrina from my DnD group which involved very good hamburgers and discussing Vampire: The Masquerade more than any reasonable person possibly should. Much hugging ensued.
  • Came home and discovered my family wanted soda and ice cream so did a late night run to the store to get all of those things, plus donuts and Bawlz.
  • Went back to packing, fueled by all the major food groups.

All in all it's been a pretty great last day in SLC. I will miss all of you I am leaving behind dreadfully.

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