Thursday, September 29, 2005

Opening one business and closing another has eaten into my writing schedule of late, as I use the intermediate time mainly for eating and napping...but I'm not really spending money, and, as a paycheck is tomorrow...yeah, that's probably going to be a good thing. I've been trying to keep up on my internetting and my reading ('s recently-linked paper on Muskogean historical linguistics, "The Devil in the White City" for 1890s Chicago-y goodness), and now, "Steppenwolf." Why? Not sure. "It was close to the end of the shelf" is as good a response as any, but it's good enoug so far.

Mainly it makes me want to be able to read German, or to just have a copy in German, but it's a good sitting in the hallway outside the office or the breakroom at the store read, and I've recently come upon a passage which has summed up my approach to Brno since May:

"And while I ate and drank there came over me that feeling of change and decay and of farewell celebrations, that sweet and inwardly painful feeling of being a living part of all the scenes and all the things of an earlier life that has never yet been parted from, and from which the time to part has come."

Brno was good; Brno was bad. I've had several conversations with Jef about reacting to the simple, cheerful question, "Oh, you were in Europe, how was that?" (Long stares play a part in the standard response). It was eight months of my life, and it's been gone for some time. A wish for uncluttered feelings about I like Hesse's (translated) collocation of sweet and inwardly painful. It's a good combination.

Or, rather, would have been, had I known it in May. I'm not really nostalgic in the painful sense for Brno. It was there, necessary for where I am now, and now it exists as that part of me which is in the past. Perhaps it's because I'm reasonably contented now; one's happiness at this point in time certainly would seem to affect how much one romanticizes the past.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

So one of my fellow cashiers' parents were from Zlín (and he speaks Czech nicely, and was ego-strokingly pleased at my Czech) and the guy finishing up my training tomorrow has a linguistics degree as well.

It looks like I'm in the right place to be a guy my age still working in a grocery store.

Great people, though. It's going to be nothing short of tolerable, and probably more.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Since I've been muttering about it in multiple locations for some months now, I thought it necessary to publicly thank Jef for his musical present; nine CDs jam-packed with MP3s and a burned copy, lovely to behold, of the cocnept album "Colonel Jeffrey Pumpernickel," the best concept album ever about some sort of man, allergic to water, possibly a robot himself...giant caterpillars...underwater fire battles...actually, I have no real idea what it's about, but it is musical candy to me and has some pretty good smoking-on-the-balcony nostalgia accompanying it.

Re: Sigur Rós "conversation" in the comments below, I can only, again, reference Jef; namely, the end of the brief note he enclosed with said CDs. "Also, I make no apologies for the random musical jags I have gone on." Theoretically-informed or no, I likes what I likes.

Hey, while the season still's a summertime thing.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Struggling with productivity and not caring at the same time; I keep telling myself "to work" but it just isn't happening right now. Ah well, it's been quite the week, so far, it has, and I have a (shitty temporary co-op grocery store) job interview tomorrow, so I'm chilling with a beer and the iPod and a book, soon, I hope.

Von is jarring and beautiful by turns; it takes some faith to get into but tracks 3-7 and 9, I think, are quite heavenly and beautiful--and easy to see where the sound for Ágaetis byrjun and beyond came from. Yay for Nate for having bought this CD in Iceland when he was there.

Also quite lovely is "For Whom The Bell Tolls," which I got as a birthday present, and realized I hadn't read a lot of Hemingway (same with Nabokov and Pnin, though I had read Lolita) It's quite the book, dated euphemisms for cursing and the odd use of "thee/thy/thou" when dealing with translation from the Spanish language. But I would notice that, and I'm liking it so far.

That's the evening, in a nutshell. Happy weekend.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Back from slightly more than a week in DC, where I ushered in a new birthday with expensive gin and whisky, saw this Sigur Rós show [clickable link to listen/will be podcast soon, I'm told] with Nate, and bummed around figuring out how to walk around NW DC. Played with the birthday iPod, found out its photo capacity is nice but gimmicky (no way to edit, rename, or delete photos once they're on(!), edited apace, and received, among other things...

A subscription to Library Thing from Nick! Online personal library indexing? Mmmmmm...

One odd note: I spent the trip home reading through Nabokov's Pnin (Nate found he had a brace of them) and came upon the following passage:

"He never celebrated it nowadays, partly because, after his departure from Russia, it sidled by in a Gregorian disguise (thirteen--no, twelve days late) and partly because during the academic year he existed mainly on a motuweth frisas basis."

Now that last bit threw me quite for a loop, but I was eventually, after some scrutiny, fortunate enough to puzzle it out as the oddest day-of-the-week abbreviation I've yet seen. It's trying to find the significance of the word break--my best guess is that Pnin only taught four days a week, so motuweth on, frisas off? Still, hats off to Nabokov--he can't quite sustain the humor of the first chapter, but it's a nice little work, for what my opinion is worth.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Fires, rapes, dying infants, fetid piles of garbage, the Superdome? The police on their own for food and water? Gangs of looters roaming New Orleans? Where is the national reaction beyond "we can't get gas/oh man the prices just went up?" And how much of the Texas/Louisiana/Arkansas/Mississippi/Alabama national guard is not there because they're deployed halfway around the world?

Both in terms of loss of life (although this is merely a projection) and in terms of infrastructure damage, this is much more disastrous than September 11th. Not that you can compare these things...but you can compare national reaction, I would think. And it's scary to hear what's trickling out about what's going on amidst our attempts to deal with the aftermath.