30 June 2007

Tidbits and Oddities II

"A work of art has to be judged by its interior vitality, not by its agreed prestige. Prestige alone was never enough to keep an acknowledged classic alive: if it had been, Petrarch's long poems in Latin, which he though were his real claim to fame, would still be read today." - Clive James, Cultural Amnesia, "G.K. Chesterton"

"...doubtless Clytie knew, counted upon, that; it would be a good three minutes before it [ambulance] could reach the house, the monstrous tinder-dry rotten shell seeping smoke through the warped cracks in the weather-boarding as if it were made of gauze wire and filled with roaring and beyond which somewhere somthing lurked which bellowed, something human since the bellowing was in human speend, even though the reason for it would not have seemed to be." - William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!

"Ist das ein Auto?" - "Drive-time German," Living Language (this one cracks me up everytime its used in conversation on the CD - who the heck drives down the road and asks "Is that a car?" besides a toddler)

Current book-in-progress: The Marquise of O-, Cultural Amnesia, Wuthering Heights (Kate says I should read some Proust - I agree), The Ivory Tower and Harry Potter
Current knitted item: I'm done with all my planned "Harry Potter surprises" - they're all blocked and ready to go, but I have enough yarn left...maybe one more... (I'm enjoying this way too much).

28 June 2007

One of us got reading glasses...

And I'm pretty sure it was me. Sigh. Not only am I blind as a bat because I'm so near-sighted but I now have reading glasses for when I study. I feel old. Maybe I won't feel like poking my eyeballs out any more after marathoning the research for a paper. Perhaps not.

Current book-in-progress: The Marquise of O-, Cultural Amnesia, still polishing off Abalsom, Absalom! (less than 40 pages left - that book is getting really hard to read) and conteplating what else I could start besides Wuthering Heights
Current knitted item: I finished the blue "Harry Potter surprise" and now I'm working on the last "Harry Potter surprise."

21 June 2007

Who is that masked man?

While playing Myst III (I finished by the way), I kept thinking "Gosh, that crazy guy Saavedro looks an awful lot like Brad Dourif." So the credits ran, and guess what? It IS Brad Dourif (the dude who played Grima Wormtongue in the Lord of the Rings movies). Totally bizarre since I just saw him in "Ragtime" the other night on cable.

In other news, I finished The Buccaneers today. Now I can watch the miniseries adaptation (Mira Sorvino plays Conchita, didn't quite picture the character that way).

Current book-in-progress: The Marquise of O-, Cultural Amnesia, still polishing off Abalsom, Absalom! (less than 100 pages left)
Current knitted item: It is still the blue "Harry Potter surprise"

17 June 2007

You know you're pretty nerdy when....

...your Friday evening consists of working at the bookstore, playing 4 hours of "Myst III: Exile" after you get home from work at 10:45 pm, then reading 30 pages of Faulkner before finally crashing.

I am actually doing pretty good with the Myst game. I remembered to write things down while playing "Riven" and a number of the symbols are showing up in this game, so I'm not totally lost.

Current book-in-progress: The Buccaneers, Cultural Amnesia, finished The Story of French, and I'm working on polishing off Abalsom, Absalom!
Current knitted item: The blue "Harry Potter surprise" (what, you thought I'd be done? Psh, I have books to read and I'm getting really tired of people on the bus asking me "Is that hard?" Of course not, six-year-olds in impoverished countries can do this and probably much faster than I can.)

12 June 2007


I accidentally washed my cats' ugly blue rat. Not my fault, they left it in the dirty laundry pile. This is a crinkly, catnip-y blue rat that's been a little over-loved by the two furballs. So I tossed the damp rat to Chaucer...

...who immediately started "loving" it, and licking it, and rubbing it, and making these really strange meows. I know my cats like catnip, but this was like kitty heroin. Thiry minutes later he was cross-eyed and smelling the soles of my shoes. This morning I caught him carrying it around like his baby. Right now he's "loving" the rat again - under my desk - and Dante keeps staring at him.

I love edamame. Mmmmm.

As previously stated in other posts, I'm reading Edith Wharton's The Buccaneers for BNBC June/July. The novel was unfinished at her death in 1937 (it was published as-is in 1938) and has since been "finished" by the editor Marion Mainwaring and published as a complete novel in 1993. According to the Afterword about 30% of the novel is new - 30% is a lot to me. I'm exactly half-way finished with the novel and there's definitely an unrefined quality to the Wharton text. You can tell that she didn't have a chance to finish, let alone go back and edit. I feel that some scenes are too obscure, that too much is hidden from the reader. The plot jumps around quite a bit. Even though the setting is the same as The Age of Innocence (1870s New York), the novel feels disconnected in some way. Hmmm. I'll see when I finish it.

Current book-in-progress: The Buccaneers (half done), Cultural Amnesia (really good, nice short essays); I bought too many books again during Employee Appreciation Days
Current knitted item: A blue "Harry Potter surprise" made with left-over yarn from the shrug.

06 June 2007

Computer Update

It turns out that once you install Norton 360, you can't install Systemworks as well. Bugger. You can, however, run the CheckIt Diagnostics and Norton Utilities (like DiskDoctor, etc) from the CD. So at least I have updated Windows Registry checks, etc. But still - $70 bucks? I complained to Best Buy about the crappy Geek Squad advice but since I opened the package and did an install I can't return it. Oh well, live and learn.

Spysweeper is now installed. It found 55 pieces of spyware on the laptop (yikes! no wonder it took forever to do much of anything and was giving me the "blue screen of death") but none on the desktop. Hm. Both computers now run so much faster. So much.

In other topics, I ordered a bunch of DVDs from BN (buy-2-get-1 sales are dangerous, and I had a coupon). I ordered "Bleak House" (2005 miniseries with Gillian Anderson), "The Way We Live Now," "Middlemarch," and "The Holiday" (seriously, the best romantic comedy since "Love Actually"). I also ordered Hayley Westenra's third CD. Love. The packages came yesterday so I have lots of good TV to watch now. And "David Copperfield" is coming via Netflix (this is the version with Daniel Radcliffe as young David).

I also bought Clive James' new book Cultural Amnesia - 50% coupon for BN members, which is a better deal than the employee appreciation days (only 40%). He's a really good critic and I've heard great things about this book. All the essays are really short, so it will make for good bedtime reading.

Current book-in-progress: The Buccaneers, Cultural Amnesia, and who knows too many to count.
Current knitted item: The shrug is done! Back to Eeyores and Harry Potter surprises.

05 June 2007

Ahhh, computers....

Today while the Internet repairman was here, he commented on how slow my desktop was since it took about 5 minutes for all the start-up programs to desist. Yeah, I know, dude. The Norton package is so old that pretty much the only stuff that updates is the anti-virus. So I took myself off to Best Buy to get some new Norton toys that will clean my hard drives.

Problem #1: The Geek Squad guys are pretty helpful normally, but they all seem to hate Norton, primary reason being that it "slows down your computer." I've had my butt saved by Norton so many times that I'm not particularly concerned with 60 seconds vs. 2 minutes.

So they recommended getting Norton 360 (which is apparently so new, no one knows how to use it), Norton Systemworks Standard, and Spysweeper (because Norton still isn't quite so good at the anti-spyware. I also picked up an external hard drive so I can back everything up (good deal - 250GB for $100). Price tag for everything? ~$250. Ouch, but it's cheaper than a new computer if mine gets chomped by some Internet worm.

Problem #2: Since the Geek Squad dudes don't like Norton, I don't think they know what all the different parts of Norton do. For instance, Symantec has this lovely "compare products" page that will compare what each package does after installation. Notice that the Norton 360 does everything the Systemworks packages do, except Norton GoBack (I'm still looking for Disk Doctor and the Windows Registry Scan - I think they're on the Check-It Diagnostics software part of the CD-Rom). So I paid seventy bucks for Norton GoBack. ARRRRGGGGGHHHHH. And I just noticed that the Spysweeper said it's a "Service Desk Edition - Not for Display". Can I still use it?

So here I sit, at home, in my office, surrounded by two computers with two different security programs from Norton. Notice the time. The laptop is still uploading to the backup server at Symantec. But the laptop has the 360 on it, which is pretty slick (it is nice - this is why I love Norton - it removed 3,000 temporary files that were getting missed because the old package wasn't updating). The desktop has Systemworks, which will have to be removed (after 2 hours of installation to get it this far and find out I got hosed) so I can install 360, then re-install Systemworks to get the Norton GoBack and the Check-it Diagnostics.

I swear to you, I am not a computer science major, I am a self-taught computer person (with a little help from Dad and various computer books) and I could do a hell of a lot better job than a lot of the people who are supposed to "help" you.

Current book-in-progress: I picked up The Buccaneers today - I got three paragraphs read; this is very Wharton already.
Current knitted item: The shrug is almost done. I've started the last increase round, then it's just 6 rounds of ribbing and a bind-off!