Yesterday I went and saw The Avengers alone, at last, in the World Exchange theatre. The screen is fairly small as screens go, and there were maybe twenty people in the theatre (half of whom either did not know or did not care about the post-credits scenes, as they walked out before them).


- As IMDB observes, the Cyrillic sign seen just before Black Widow's interrogation scene with the Russian mobsters has random Cyrillic characters on it.
- Black Widow herself being Russian, well --- they credit Rosetta Stone in the end credits, and that movie should be an indicator that no, Rosetta Stone will not make you a native speaker. The Russian was grammatical, for the most part --- except for the line that is something like "just another pretty face", which is word-for-word correct, but infelicitous: you don't use that expression in Russian, you skip the "another" word. Black Widow's reply, "You think that I'm pretty" uses "krasiva", the short form of the predicative adjective, which sounds unnatural. And the repeated phrase "to move tanks" - "tolkat' tanki" actually means "to push tanks" and I automatically parsed it as meaning "sell on the black market" as in "push drugs" but I never quite figured whether they meant it as tank sales or tank transportation.
- The syntax may be mostly okay, but the phonology was atrocious. Somebody should have sat them down with the IPA, rather than using Rosetta Stone. In Soviet Russia, consonants palatalize you, and it was the consonant palatalization that Black Widow and the "mobster" kept missing on. Both their accents were horrible. My brother agreed with me, saying that he was snickering in the theatre when he saw it with a friend, and people were staring at him, because that moment in the scene is not at all funny.
- What bothered me was the actor playing the mobster. Sure, you want Scarlett Johansson for the female lead. But what was wrong with getting a Russian-speaking actor to play the mobster, instead of someone who spoke in some mix of a Polish and American accent? (Jerzy Skolimowski, apparently, who is a Pole and speaks like it.) The Tom Clancy movies hire Russian actors for the minor roles: the only reason I saw "Sum of All Fears" is for the thirty seconds in which a family friend of ours plays the Russian Minister of Defense (the Russian President's wife in that movie spoke way better Russian than the President, Ciaran Hinds, did). Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy had two well-known Russian actors in the Russian roles. Why pick a Pole for a Russian job?

It made me be deeply suspicious of whether the little girl speaking Hindi actually spoke it well, but M'laah Kaur Singh does apparently speak Hindi and Punjabi, although she was born in Illinois.

After the foreign-language scenes were over, I thoroughly enjoyed the film. I liked the pacing of the dialogue, that they give each other no chance to breathe before the next line. This is the kind of movie you sit back and soak in, rather than racing ahead of the plot. I want to own it on DVD, so I could watch it several times over.

It occurred to me as I watched the battle scene that the plot of Avengers 2 could be the wives and husbands and parents and children of the slain Chitauri coming back to, ironically, avenge their slain. Although apparently they're biorobots. Still. They may be ugly, but they had lives and feelings, and being slaughtered in another universe, with no chance for the ones who loved you to even see your body again, is a very lonely death.

I used to write a draft of the write-up on a phonetics paper that I'm supposed to submit for Phonology class. Apparently, it believes I feel very affectionate about it.
syncategorematic: (sophia - curlty and in a good mood)
( Jul. 18th, 2010 01:17 pm)
 So today is the last full day in Madrid; we are flying out at 1 pm-ish, and it's a 8-hour flight. I dread it. I saved most of Catherynne M. Valente's "The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making" to read on the plane. I admit that this is because I forgot the logon instructions to re-download the computational linguistics textbook. There is a point there of some sort.

(Over this vacation, I read most of the Viscount of Adrilankha twice, and also read my brother's biology textbook In Praise of Plants by Francis Halle, which is actually a really really good textbook, beautifully written and accessible even to 'I'm not a biologist, I just occasionally play one on a quiz team' me.) 

We went to the Museo del America and then to the Museo del Lazaro Galdiano, both of which are free on Sundays. Read more... )
Via Juniperus: The formula for the perfect voice.

Well, this makes me amused both because of linguistics, and because it ties in to certain conversations I've had very recently.
Because my term paper is boring me to tears, despite my cunning opportunity to use "letting the dark side win the unmarked label is still a dubious decision on merely these grounds" --- during a coffee-date with [ profile] ms_danson of extraordinary length without even a scrap of boredom, the topic of this blog entry by Leonid Kaganov came up, so I will translate it.

Anyone who was born in the USSR has learned from babyhood that there is no insult worse than yabeda - tattletale. The tattletale is the undisputed enemy of society. Children hate tattletales and teachers do not respect them either. Even though you'd think they should like their informers. When the children grow up, this will be called by yet another word: rat, or report-writer. And that is practically a cannibal.

*unlike the majority of Russian words, yabeda is not multimorphemic and does not break down into simpler roots and affixes that clarify its semantics. 

syncategorematic: (sophia - curlty and in a good mood)
( Apr. 16th, 2008 12:31 pm)
Dear mathematical analysis, which I took twice,

Particularly dear set theory, interval definitions, discrete and continuous sets, countability and uncountability,

I never thought I would find extensive applications for you in Semantics class.

I do. I hereby defined the stereotypical properties of being small, and I didn't even blush. Ana spoiled me by giving me 96% on the last test for no particular reason; I am slacking off somewhat now.

With love, gratitude and forgiveness,

A happy little math-linguist

Oh you people who knew
I was quicker than you
I bow my head humbly
And say I am sorry.
To hell I now go
And pay to do so,
So let me joy one last time
In my crowning glory?
It was only vanity ---
Now it's a spar
I cling to in the seas
Where the wild things are:
Infinite work, finite time,
And supplyless demand...
If you have swum there
You will understand.

(c)2004 and still true as true can be.
- I was extra annoying in Semantics today by remembering the standard English adjective order, when neither the presenter nor the question-power knew it. The don't teach Syntax I like they used to; Opinion Condition Size Age Colour Origin Material for the win!

- I got 94% on my Semantics midterm, a mark I haven't seen on assignments in several geologic eras, it seems. Ana is more gullible than she looks is taken in by my scintillating LaTeX skillz and clever use of epsilon (the Analysis definition of it)..

- Note to self and one and all: if you are going to present a workshop on how to use a piece of software, and you have worked with it on a PC for three years, and you are going to present on a Mac --- um, make sure it works on a Mac. Otherwise, my brilliant wit and lack of expectations saved the day, and I don't think I did badly at all. But afterwards I was very tired. I suppose I am an introvert that fits the ENTP type, since I want to curl up in my bed now with a book and remain unbothered for the rest of the evening.

- The book is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (darn you, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, you and your fiendish gift for prosody (I wrote "prophecy" at first) making my mind automatically complete "The dog did nothing in the night-time. --- That was the curious incident.") I had a sudden, irresistible craving to read it --- who needs pickles and ice cream? --- and so I am now the proud owner of that and A Canticle For Leibowitz, which I am sure I'll appreciate a lot more now than I did in grade eight when I read it for Reading Society (I think it was worth 3 points for difficult. I still remember Athaira beating me by one bloody point for class championship!) The sales clerk complimented the work of Mark Haddon; she said she felt really happy after she read it.

- I go curl up and read.
syncategorematic: (sophia - curlty and in a good mood)
( Mar. 19th, 2008 11:27 am)
It's raining!

It's raining!

It's raining!

It hasn't rained in so so long! 

There may be mushy gray snow all over and over and over again, but it's raining! The snow will melt! Spring is coming, spring is coming, spring is coming!

I had to put on rubber-soled hiking boots today, as my allegedly waterproof Aras, despite their other sterling virtues, haven't been waterproof in a long time. But, looking around, I resolved to take a pair of indoor shoes with me. If my outdoor shoes are going to be clunky, then my indoor shoes are going to be funky. Fluevogs it is, and my splendid 'Vogs are what I am wearing now. Dance, everybody, kick up your heels! Dance, everybody, see how it feels!

Wearever, whenever...
Lucky I was born so far away so
We can both laugh at the distance,
Lucky I can love a foreign land for
The very fact of your existence...

There ain't that many undergraduates who teach workshops to undergraduates and graduates. Cross your fingers for me. I am good at what I do. You want to hear of how to transcribe in CHILDES? I can tell you!

I've written a paper proposal for Semantics too. I have no idea what requirements she wants, so I used pretty much the same tone as I did for the SSHRC research proposal so long ago, and included a list of references. It all fits on one page. I had to forcibly change all of my "we" to "I", I was so much in the research-paper mode. I hope it intimidates her. Lazy me used my presentation as a kickstart, and took most of the references I intend to use from the references in the paper I presented on. I will form my own ideas, though. And unlike B&S, I will use the CHILDES database because, dears, I am good at it. 

After the darkest winter, after going through Hell for so long --- It's spring! As I said, it's spring! Go be in love! Go have orgasms! Go eat chocolate and dance! It's awesome!

I wish you joy!!
I don't wanna do Semantics
TeXing syntax trees is a mistake
Can't say I'm one of the romantics
Unless you mean Wordsworth, Keats or Blake
(If poetry such as theirs I claim
England quakes; they're spinning in their graves!)
All the same, I tell you, all the same,
As I said, I need some handy slaves.

(Cue musical interlude:
All I need is a handy slave
Very clever and very brave
Who'd do my work and save me time ---
It would be lover-ly!
Write my essays and do my tests,
Do my job and do all the rest,
While I have fun and rest ---
Oh wouldn't it be lover-ly!)

I don't wanna read McNally
or Kennedy, talking about scales
I don't wanna ponder sadly
Comparison classes, females and males.
My reason for doing this I name
It's prestige, potential cash, and nothing more
All the same, I tell you, all the same,
I still spend once I go out the door.

To spend money on The Economist
Can't really be called economizing
But the cover of it did look fascinating
I fall to its econ-advertising.
From my own small woes I pull away
--- Think on a macroeconomic scale! ---
I promise I'll kick the next one who will say
That last dread word, in a semantic tale.
Sorry, not tale,
Pragmatically salient context!

I don't wanna do Semantics
I don't wanna do Semantics
I just wanna read about any other thing
I just wanna, I just wanna, I just wanna
That's it, I wanna sing!

(To commenters: When Ka_crow came
She and I began a merry game
And so now it almost seems a crime
To comment here other than in rhyme.)
syncategorematic: (bookbird)
( Feb. 29th, 2008 09:00 pm)
- My Semantics presentation is at last done and went very well, particularly because, going first, I set the standard (of comparison in the given context) that the rest of them have to come up to.

- Inigo, Aneagle, Irene, Athaira and I went to see No Country for Old Men. Review: (a) Without spoiling the ending, there is no ending to spoil. (b) [SPOILER] If those you love die in violence, with a psychopathic killer after them, and you open the door of a room of your house and see someone there who isn't supposed to be there --- why isn't your first reaction to shut the door again and hightail the hell out? (c) I can see why Javier Bardem was a lock for Best Supporting Actor, though; he is amazing. (d) My father has an argon canister; it is going to take a while before I look at it normally.

- Over coffee and cake, we spoke of, among other things, the breaking of romantic bonds, as I am still in that learning phase and freely admitted my naïveté about it. Inigo explained some things to me, somewhat, but I really can't see things from the perspective of his temperament. The previous day, after a friend told of a date that was stopped after 15 minutes, I confessed to doing the same thing, several times (and wanting to, several times more). In true ENTP fashion, I judge whether things have any potential pretty fast, and I can't sympathize with people who linger in relationships long, long after I would have heated up the blade and cut a single stroke downward. I really can't.

- Next week Athaira will have a note full of very hilarious things that we said.

- I come back and I am falling asleep. ENTP though I am, I suppose the excitement tired the introvert component of complex I (yes, I am going to mine that joke for at least a while). Too sleepy to use Leap Day productively.

- Tomorrow will be March. There are lots of things I should have done in February and didn't, but thankfully it went pretty fast, and March is another month.
I think I need to borrow from the astrologers the phrase 'Mercury retrograde" to mean that communications are screwed up, people talk past each other, each convinced that the other has the same picture in her head with the pictures actually being completely different, typos occur in the worst possible places, and computerized communications devices refuse to push their messages on time into the pneumatic tube --- phoosh-snickt! (I don't remember when I last made an offering to the Misunderstanding Quota, by the way; I'm overdue, unless the event of the subsequent paragraphs counts.)

I have no idea (and am too lazy to check) whether there was a true Mercury retrograde during Valentine's Day, but from conversation with Ana today, there definitely  was that kind of situation. I am darned glad I did not have a lover and high expectations for V-Day; if I was communicating that way with a professor, with a lover I would probably have fought to the death over a trifle (or truffle), "'cause things are running crossways, and Maggie and I are out," as the poem I recalled yesterday goes (are the last two days, "Listen class, today's lesson is about possible theoretical reasons romantic bonds break up, since Tourmaline has been slacking off and needs to learn the theory of that"? I am also reading two consecutive books that both deal with symmetry groups, so I propose the essay question, "Symmetry groups and broken romantic bonds are closely related to what Tourmaline needs to learn from life right now. Discuss.")

Conclusion: yet another delay to my stupid Semantics presentation, and indeed the opening of the Winter 2008 Semantics Presentations Season. I am playing the song about delays as I type. (Ironically enough, we were talking about the gradability of openness today, which ties in to the lyrics quite elegantly.)

And I shall have to reformat my handout file tonight/tomorrow. And Ana wants us to have trees on our take-home exam. As in, on computer. I am the only person in the class who knows LaTeX, which I am going to do it in, but even I need an intensive review of the qtrees package.

Everything was so quiet for so long and I had whined so much...and now it's going a hop skip jump and whirlaway.
syncategorematic: (bookbird)
( Feb. 25th, 2008 08:35 am)
No nightmares, exactly, but I am very familiar with academic anxiety dreams and this time I got the mother of all of them. I had to wake up and remember that the presentation in Semantics class I have scheduled for Wednesday is on semantics, is purely in English, is on just one paper, and I've already written the script for it. Because according to my dream, it involved the history of the German language and of Berlin, had to have at least 10% of it entirely in German, and the day before my presentation Ana told me that I should include something on the history of Vienna as well. But I have no time to research the history of Vienna, as in my research, I keep riding up and down escalators, reading about an army captain who, on rescuing people from solitary isolation in caves or beneath the sea, opens with one Livingstone-I-presume joke: "Could you tell me the way to Frederick / Friedlander Street?" Now I know that the real F-street (in my dream) is in London, near Fleet Street that I've walked down once, but I do not find that joke funny, and I give up on integrating the Vienna component, as I have no time. I see a friend walking along the street, and catch up with him, but realize he is not who I thought he was but only one of the Reach for the Top kids I coach, so I go back, down escalators and through Metro and subway and Tube stations, trying to remember my German for that 10%. I can spell "Entschuldigung," that's about it.

I am seriously discombobulated. What I don't like is the constant motif of descent into the underworld (the Tube stations!) and then ascent again. Descent into the long dark tunnel of the soul is the last thing I want, even if I come out of it still knowing nothing about Vienna.
I cannot help but flatter [profile] athaira9 in the most sincere way available to me --- I too will post passages out of books I am reading that make me think.

Darn you, Splintered Light, you're one of those books when I am going, "Noo! This can't be it! This can't be the last chapter! Don't stop now! Waaant mooore!"
Two ideas crucial to Tolkien's philosophy emerge with increasing clarity as his mythology is studied. One is the inevitability and absolute necessity of change. The other is the centrality of language and its importance as both cause and result....One of the chief agents of change is language, altering and governing perception. Out of change comes new perception and hence new language. Language separates, divides, distinguishes, breaking down and refining aspects of original, undifferentiated reality.
...While Tolkien's psychological and emotional yearning was nostalgia for aspects of his world that had vanished or were vanishing in his lifetime, still, his philosophical and religious position was that change is necessary...."Mere change as such," he wrote of his invented world, "is not represented as 'evil'; it is the unfolding of the story and to refuse this is of course against the design of God. But the Elvish weakness is in these terms naturally to regret the past, and to become unwilling to face change...They desired some power over things as they arrest change, and keep things always fresh and fair" (Letters 236)....However good the present may be or seem, however bad the future may look, the present is always passing, must become that which has passed, the past.
...Moreover, to try to arrest change is to stop as well that increase in perception that change must bring....If humankind, like Tolkien himself, like Frodo in "The Sea-bell", feels wounded, lost, bereft of paradise, and not yet in sight of heaven, then it follows that humankind is aware --- painfully aware, perhaps, but out of that awareness able to create.
(pp. 167-172)
And in a previous chapter there was more: 
If Fëanor cannot change the Music, if he is bound by it, how could a different answer have made his subsequent deeds "other than they were"?
...Subsequent events or deeds would not be externally different, but the motives behind them could be different, as could his attitudes toward himself, the Silmarils, and the peoples whose lives are intertwined with his....Tolkien has deliberately constructed a situation in which Fëanor's decision can alter nothing and no one but himself....Tolkien's purpose here is to show that free will is more important as a factor in external governance than as a determiner of external events. The Music will always have the same form, but how it is played (to extend the metaphor) whether fast or slow, presto or andante, is up to the performers. (pp.113-115)
Moreover, Fëanor is lacking in that very understanding which the loss of the Silmarils should have given him; understanding of how it feels to be deprived of one's most precious work. The contrast here is with Aulë, who, because he could give up his own creation, knew firsthand Fëanor's anguish and understood his hesitation. Because Fëanor could not relinquish his creation, his refusal has deadened his capacity to understand or care about the Teleri. (p.116)
I think that Tolkien, or Verlyn Flieger's interpretation of Tolkien, touches on my own ideas of how fate and free will intersect and work out in our lives, in the music that we play. Although I am not sure how to put that coherently at this time, so I am just going to put quotations up for now.
The above title comes from reading my high school students a bonus on firearms manufacturers, where the answers were Colt, Winchester, and Smith & Wesson. After hearing the three questions, Kilhuch asked, "What, no Remington?"

"Remington makes typewriters!" I shot back. "Everyone knows that the typewriter is mightier than the gun!" I grinned at my own unexpected wit.

By the next practice, separated from that one by a week (due to the next of our biweekly practices coinciding with Family Day) we misremembered it somehow as the typewriter being mightier than the Howitzer. Or, I suppose, the Internet cable connection is mightier than the ICBM.

And to glory in the fact that I can type way better than I can shoot (but with a properly aligned air rifle, I was a decent shot) I contribute to the bits adrift on the Interwebs.

Then I went and bought some toothpaste, and was inordinately pleased at this, and then went home to joy in my reading some more.

The human mind, endowed with the powers of generalization and abstraction, sees not only green-grass, discriminating it from other things (and finding it fair to look upon) but sees that it is green as well as being grass. But how powerful, how stimulating to the very faculty that produced it, was the invention of the adjective: no spell or incantation in Faërie is more potent. And that is not surprising: such incantations might indeed be said to be only another view of adjectives, a part of speech in a mythical grammar.
--- J. R. R. Tolkien, "On Fairy-Stories." 1934.
The other day I swapped two bottles of perfume oil for a "book on Tolkien's linguistics." The girl who sent it to me had received it by mistake from an independent seller on Amazon, and was glad to get it off her hands. I received it, Verlyn Flieger's Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien's World (Revised Edition) today (along with some other interesting mail) and began reading it after a work shift that got me quietly returning to my humourous, effervescent, performing self, although still joying in solitude. I began reading it, and found myself reading it with the Russian term zapoem which has no English equivalent I know of --- to drink in drafts, to drink oneself into a drunken stupor, unable to stop, because the draft quenches without fully sating a thirst within you --- and to read like that, drinking in knowledge in the same way. I got to this passage, quoted above, and froze.

All we've been doing in my only class this semester is discussing adjectives, day in, day out, with sets and lambda functions and Barbara Partee's vision of compositional semantics. Barbara Partee, you need an older and in some ways wiser linguist to balance your logic, to remind us --- to remind me, an aspirant to sub-creation like Tolkien was --- that beneath the sets and functions and types and categories of language, parallel to them, lies a magic of the human mind. To remind me once again that logic is magical, that the ability to define it abstractly is an act of magic in its own right, and perhaps the two are indistinguishable.

For indeed, what is logic, what is all of math and all of linguistics, but the abstracting out of patterns? And does not magic do the same thing? I speak of shamanic rituals, of astrology's "As above, so below", of any spell that says, "As this tree grows and bears forth green leaves, so shall my love blossom and grow, etc." --- all of these are the abstracting of patterns, of similarities, and the manipulation thereof. As does mathematics. Whether either has any power to act upon the real world as we know it is a different question entirely, one requiring extra steps into physics or metaphysics, and not one I will answer here. I deal with abstractions. I write fantasy. I study linguistics. I study math. And I need something like an apt quote by Tolkien to remind me again of how beautiful what I love is, and that it is all the same thing, at its heart.

As possibly the most apt poem I ever wrote goes,

I wandered near, I wandered far
Under lazulite skies,
Seeking the luck of the morning star,
Following the sunrise,
Seeking a plume from a Phoenix's wing,
The lands of light in a diamond ring,
Trying to hear the nightingale sing
And knowing truth from lies.

But the morning star I had sought so long
Remains where it always hung.
And the nightingale's silver song
Had already been sung.
The Phoenix is but fancy's flight.
So are the lands of diamond light.
The sunrise cannot be followed till night;
And down my hopes were flung.

They told me Phoenixes never flew:
'Twas only a myth of yore.
They told me all I thought was true
Had been proven a lie before.
Nightingales? They've all flown away.
Diamonds? Are you sure you could pay?
The only thing to believe, they say,
Is that two and two made four.

They told what wasn't possible and what was,
Putting me in a mental cage,
For that is the way a person has
To be in this day and age.
Trust the computer, not your foolish heart;
Believe what is analysed, taken apart,
Stripped to its core and reduced to its start,
Laid in code on a printed page.

I looked at the code that had been done
To my dreams of long ago.
I searched for the rising of the sun
In the cold one and the cold zero -
And out from the formulas a Phoenix flew,
And I built the diamond lands, with the facts for glue;
Come, there are still silver songs in the proven and true -
Do not tell me I dream. I know.

~1998-March 17, 2002

I need to capture my joy and remind myself of it. As Tolkien said about his idea for The Silmarillion (which I may be the only person on the planet to love more than The Lord of the Rings), "Do not laugh!"
syncategorematic: (sophia - curlty and in a good mood)
( Feb. 15th, 2008 08:26 pm)
So from now until the 22nd, for the first time in my life I am a single woman. Actually living on my own. Actually having to remember which date is garbage day, to mentally adjust all of my recipes to feed only myself instead of three voracious men and one woman as well, to do all the dishes and laundry that need doing, to fix the Internet router and to change the lightbulbs if that is necessary, and to buy any groceries I may need (I doubt it; as is usual in the Variety household, we are prepared for war; siege, battle, or clandestine, take your pick). Crazy rabbit lady living alone. My parents left for MIami on the weekend, my younger brother left to join them yesterday, and my older brother left for Nebraska a few minutes ago. It is a firm tradition in our family to watch anyone significant to us depart until you cannot see them any more; my brother and his friend sat in the car for a while, until I thought I should just run upstairs and watch them from the upstairs window instead. And in the time it took me to move to the second floor, they left and went out of sight.

Today Irene and I hung out, as she had fallen in love with Bloodline jewelry, and so conscripted me for one of those absolutely-stereotypical extrovert-girl shopping-together trips --- the kind that involve one of the girls posturing with candidate purchases in front of a mirror, constantly asking the other, "What do you think?" Myself, I am not as much an extrovert as Athaira thinks I am; when I buy something, I go for it because I am certain I like it, and neither need nor want anyone else's opinion. So I am Irene's Voice of Wisdom in this.

The irony is that I am now indeed the owner of a black heart-shaped box with rhinestones (that still holds a few dark-chocolate Lindor) that I had decided against buying in Tuesday's post; I suppose the gods are determined that I should take at least a drop of romance into my pragmatic heart in order to find out how well my black heart holds BPAL bottles. I may report on the results of this geometry-topology-packing-science experiment, but not now: I ate two or three Lindor, Irene ate a couple, and I gave six to my brother for the journey, but there are still a bunch left and I am not in the mood to eat them. (I am strikingly reminded of going out for dinner in Toronto a little after Christmas, when one of my friends was startled that I am one of those people who just eat until they are no longer hungry, then stop, instead of eating until you have cleared your plate, or until you can eat no more, or until --- my slender frame shudders in horror --- you cannot move. The pain of overeating is stronger than the pleasure of eating more of even the finest of foods, to me. So the Lindor will linger.)

Irene bought a giant plush velvet rose for a (female) friend of hers who works in a plants lab where they are not allowed to bring any real plants in. That rose later accompanied us to coffee, and Irene looked ridiculous enough gripping it with her knees as she zipped her jacket that I quipped an "or are you just happy to see me?" line, which nearly resulted in me being thwacked with said symbol of romance.

 Through visits to both Magpie stores (with avid chatter in slow Russian on the walk between) Irene narrowed down her candidates for Bloodline love to two pairs of earrings, and, surprisingly, confirmed love for a large Pyrrha pendant showing the seal of what I surmised to be a Russian post office. It looks great on her, and she has resolved that it shall be her "three-quarters done with Russian" gift to herself. Meanwhile, I confirmed my love for a favourite jewelry piece that I am not buying at this time. It will wait for me, possibly until October.

While we were in the coffee shop, Pink Martini's song Sympathique came onto the overhead music. Irene loves it, while I had never heard of it before, but did get "Je ne veux pas oublier" stuck in my head, and as we changed shops, I started singing,

Je ne veux pas publier,
Je ne veux pas écrire ma thèse,
Je ne suis pas une étudiante diplomée

"Carry on!" Irene, who speaks fluent French, egged me.

"I am improvising in fracking French, I can't believe myself!"
Oh the joy!

I worked my butt off on that Semantics presentation --- omitted social engagements and writing and other delightful things, like cleaning the kitchen and stuff --- and now class is cancelled the day I have to present it!

So here i am, with red* ribbons in my hair, doing...nothing. And Reading Week, then, since class is cancelled. So I'll be Reading. Cooking. Today I will clean the kitchen.

*It is a superstition of mine dating back from my high school days to always wear red for tests and presentations. I've been lax on it recently, and I have never noticed that it truly works, but red does give me a morale boost. As I wrote in a story draft at about this time, "she intended to wear red. Red for blood, and for battle, and for fire, and for war, and for anger and courage and a hundred other things."
syncategorematic: (mystical)
( Feb. 13th, 2008 03:02 pm)
I've discovered that I have been published!

My review of a psycholinguistics article on Spanish-English bilingualism did indeed appear in the November 2007 issue of the Spanish-language Boletín de la Asociación para la Enseñanza del Español Como Lengua Extranjera (aka ASELE).

In Spanish. That's me, my first publication credit isn't even in a language I consider I speak fluently.

And one could go down, one could go around,
But no, we choose the harder ground,
And like a warpath is the path we call...
Most horrifying statement uttered in an undergraduate Semantics class:

"Can I please use Fitch-style natural deduction?"

Honestly, we write out the bloody semantic derivations in ENGLISH and it takes forever and gets confusing. A few notes on notation and the proof tree takes four lines. We hates them, precious.

P.S. 360-190, 345-155. Why am I nervous?
Astra phoned, and we spoke for half an hour (from New York City, no less). Hearing of my graduate school woes and troubles with academia in general at this time, she said that the book she gave me for Christmas, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt's collection "La Secte des égoïstes", has the protagonist facing just such a burnout as mine at the beginning of the title novella.

"And what was his solution?" I asked.

"If I remember correctly, his solution was to send everything to hell and go travel."

"A fantastic solution!" I laughed. "I want to do that! The trouble is, of course, 'If you're so smart, where's your money?' "

"Follow your passion and the money will follow," Astra quoted at me.

"But not immediately," I sighed.

Well, I went to reading Schmitt, as I had procrastinated on him. I had previously read "Oscar et la dame rose," which is very Christian-focussed, which soured me on the possibility his entire oeuvre would be like that. (Astra is a wonderful person in most ways, but she is a born-again Orthodox Christian, and as the quote remarks, the trouble with those is that they're even worse the second time around, which on occasion showed while she was teaching me literature.)

Nope, "La Secte des égoïstes" isn't like that. I got a chill of familiarity reading the opening pages, though, a sense of a book coming at just the right time in my life.

Alas, though, Astra misremembered --- the protagonist doesn't send everything to hell and go travel, but gets involved in a very Borges-like academic pursuit of the history of the title organization.

However, its description of academic life is awesome. I'll post some quotations when I wake up. I dunno if Schmitt found an English market yet; I'll have to do an English translation of the Russian translation of the French.