Monday, July 24, 2017
Summer of music: have discovered a lot of bands/musicians I like – Father John Misty, Whitney, Grizzly Bear, Marco Benvento, The Maccabees, Julia Byrne, Avec pas d'casque, James Elkington/Nathan Salsburg “chillhop” artists on soundcloud: Simon Eng, Julian G. Avila – I found out about these folks often because I’m addicted to this youtube channel:rainbowholic Also oldies but greaties like Steely Dan, Talking Heads (Remain in Light, Fear of Music), Tangerine Dream.
Saturday, December 17, 2016
Saturday, October 29, 2016
Well now we've watched the whole season and I either got used to the slightly different tone or the tone changed a bit from the first two episodes. I got used to the way the characters weaved in and out of each other's story lines. My favorite episodes were the one focused on a dog: Grandpa, and the one about the recluse with a penchant for "LaCroix" sparkling water in cans.
Sunday, September 25, 2016
So we watched the first two full length episodes of "High Maintenance" last night and while it's still good, the tone of the show has changed. People seem more duplicitous and out to get each other. The pot guy gets picked on more. And it has definitely been "HBO-ified", i.e. it's quite a bit more sexually explicit than it was as a web series, which I found jarring.
There was a laid-back sweetness (sometimes sadness) to the interactions in the web series that is missing in the first of these two full-length episodes. People bicker more and are just more annoying - and - to be honest less interesting (to me at least).
We'll see in what directions the new episodes go.
Saturday, August 27, 2016
Late August always tends to be a wistful time around here—the students moving back conjures up feelings of panic (because the pace of life is inevitably about to quicken) AND excitement—there’s definitely a buzz in the air.
I like to make the last few days before the semester starts as slow and contemplative as possible.
Long breakfasts with reading and pleasant music and lots of backyard bird watching. Also I’m trying to get some house-cleaning done and figuring out a schedule for it during the semester.
Actually figuring out when to do things takes up a lot of my time.
As does figuring out a way to rein in my internet time—I’m as susceptible to the time-suck as many people more than half my age….(yes I even “tumblr” on occasion…) I find dipping in to various of the internet subcultures quite interesting: the bullet journal subculture, the studytumblr subculture, “booktube”—people who post videos book reviews on youtube, etc
Over the summer I also had fun with duolingo--the language learning app.
Here’s a list of books I’ve been reading this summer:
Gretchen Rubin’s Better than Before: The reliance on anecdotes often from her own life slightly irritates me, even though though she has some good life-hacks in there.
Lynda Barry: What It Is: I find her work oddly moving—it swirls something up inside me—probably to do with fear/lack of self-confidence—but also oddly inspiring and uplifting—have been sketching (badly) because of her! Really want to get her “Syllabus” book.
A fantastic article about Annie Dillard by William Dersiewicz (after reading up on Dillard I found out she is married to Robert D. Richardson, whose wonderful book on Ralph Waldo Emerson: Mind on Fire I really want to go back to.)
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
The weakest part of the show Endeavour are often the crime cases themselves—silly, contrived etc.
What keeps me coming back, beside the lovely images of Oxford or the many shots of a pensive and brooding Endeavour chewing on his pencil while listening to what are often my own fave pieces of classical music, are the little quotidian interactions between Endeavor and Thursday, or the glimpses we get into Thursday’s family-life: the sandwich toppings, or when he looks disappointingly into the chocolate box and proclaims who ate the Savoy truffle? (A quick google brings to light a new-to-me Beatles song of the same name AND the fact that it’s one of the chocs inside of a specific assortment of Mackintosh chocolates.
The references to bloater paste in this last episode had both Bill and I running to our Kindles. I knew it was probably some sort of weird fishy thing.
One last cultural reference—his name always reminds me of growing up in Australia, where we were told again and again about Captain Cook and how he commanded the HMS Endeavour on his first voyage of discovery to Terra Australis.
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
A confounding moment for me as a German speaker is the Norwegian word for "dinner" as in evening meal: it's middag. Now "Mittag" means midday in German and "Mittagessen" is lunch....so basically the Norwegian word for dinner is midday/lunch. And the Norwegian word for lunch? LUNSJ.....Don't the Norwegians find it confusing that their word for evening meal is basically midday? Do they all eat dinner early? Does it have something to do with the long days of Norwegian summer? Is there another word for supper/dinner that duolingo is not telling me about?
Friday, July 1, 2016
Thoughts on Norwegian (Bokmål)
So I casually decided to start learning Norwegian via duolingo--mainly because I'm reading the first volume of Knausgaard's Min Kamp.
I still find it a bit mind-blowing that there are two different written versions of Norwegian, and then there are the many dialects,which people use for speech. Apparently Norwegians do not speak the way they write. Of course this is true of other languages, but it seems that Norwegians have taken this idea and made it official. To an outsider it seems confusing, but Norwegians probably navigate the issue fairly smoothly,except when they deliberately want to make it political. (From what I gather "Nynorsk" is a somewhat artificial attempt to lessen the influence of Danish on the language, since Bokmål is apparently close to Danish). I have yet to find a definitive answer to the question "what language did Knausgaard write his books in?", although I think it was probably Bokmål.
(Bokmål) Norwegian seems to be a very economical language – even minimalist, which conforms to my admittedly probably superficial notions of Scandinavian sparseness in terms of design or aesthetics. It of seems to get by with fewer words than English: Example:
Jentene leser avisene.
The girls are reading the newspapers.
One reason for this is that it adds the definite article to the noun-sort of like an adjective ending in German,which is kind of cool.
My favorite Norwegian words so far are: Gaffel (fork), and Edderkopp (spider).
I’m learning it with duolingo—which seems to be a fun and game-like way to get started on a language. It in no way replaces classroom language learning but could be a nice supplement to what a student is learning in class.
Monday, March 21, 2016
I posted the following as a comment on a youtube video a while ago and am re-posting it here.
Quick initial thoughts on Swann in Love: I’m still at the very beginning of it and it is taking me a while to get used to it – to get into it. In week one you spoke of the “phenomenological swim” when reading Proust and I feel like in these first pages I’m too much above water—and I don’t care for it. I do think this is a “just me” moment. I tend to like books if I like/love the narrator: this is why I like/love the Great Gatsby, Jane Eyre, The Red and the Black. I identify very strongly with the narrator. And that’s what I found myself doing in “Combray”. And now in this section, because it is not so much about him, I feel like we’ve lost him. And at this early stage I’m not as invested in any of the people he is describing. Swann was more interesting to me when he was visiting the family, than he is right now as he is falling in love with Odette. But I’m still enjoying it—just not as much as I enjoyed the earlier sections. (Even if some of the descriptions did go on a bit). I have to wonder to what extent the gender/age/outlook on life? play a role in how people respond to this passage. At this stage the “element of caddishness” in Swann – his predatory nature with regards to women—the fact that he –at this point-sees them as things to conquest rather than equals makes him less, not more interesting to me. I wonder how this will all develop. Have you seen the Jeremy Irons/Ornella Mutimovie directed by Volker Schlöndorff ? (I’m not sure if it’s any good).