quinara: Tara walking in the Slayer's desert. (Restless desert)
The headline link to the BBC website's magazine feature on procrastination is doing my head in... Please oh please will someone tell someone that non carpe diem is gobbledegook? I know noli carpere diem isn't a very sexy title, but they'll just have to come up with something else. I can't take it.

In other news, I've been working on the Greek Magical Papyri (which is a collection of random papyrus fragments purporting to be spells and rites etc.), and yesterday it took me about three hours to realise I should probably have been more bemused than I was to read through a list of the different Homeric verses you can use either spoken or written down as part of an amulet to beat menstrual pain or else work as a contraceptive. I've become far too jaded. (And I have such an urge to write a novel about these characters you got wandering around Egypt in the third century AD collecting magical lore and selling trinkets to people... But it would be a nightmare trying to source evidence. Must suppress.)
quinara: Tara walking in the Slayer's desert. (Restless desert)
A snappy slideshow about the history of writing and the development of the English alphabet, as plugged by the faculty website (I knew there was a reason I went on there from time to time...):


Including reference to dear old Ugarit just for you, [livejournal.com profile] wildecate!

(I'm not that fussed about the music in the background, but don't let that put you off...)

(PS. Also, aha, it looks as though the poem I was ranting about a while ago wasn't completely wrong about its Sumerian tablets for counting stuff, and probably wasn't thinking of Linear B. It was just me being wrong, so that's nice to know (although IIRC the poem still needed pulling up on the idea that there wasn't all this other stuff going on in Sumerian, which did indeed continue on afterwards for millennia; I still think the tone was off).
quinara: Sheep on a hillside with a smiley face. (Default)
Oh yeah, and what's the etiquette on commenting on poems people have shared just to share them? I keep having to scroll over this poem on my list where I'm sure the sentiment is very nice (other languages have words for sentiments we don't have, what does that mean, blah blah), but it chats about all these Sumerian tablets that were apparently business records, and what if they were poetry or psalms, and I keep getting this bitter taste in my mouth, because I'm almost certain the poet is talking about the Linear B tablets and apparently can't be bothered to work out the difference, and because frankly there is plenty of poetry and religious writing in Sumerian, thank you very much. I don't want to shoot the messenger, but I don't know what to say. I don't think the poem was posted with the intention of presenting it as blinkered anglophone wank, so it seems like it might be worth pointing out that that's how it comes across. And, and, and gumpity grump, the Sumerians and the Mycenaeans are not the same bloody people and it takes damned cheek to sideline all the thousands and thousands of people who used Sumerian for a massive rich multitude of purposes for some patronising bloody lament about what it would have been like if they'd done more with their language than count up sheep. Because they bloody did. Grump. Whinge.
quinara: Illyria looking serious in bright light. (Illyria shine)
I'm moving house tomorrow! Mostly packed up now, but since I'm moving across town via the goodwill of a car-borrowing (but nevertheless still insured) friend, I'm starting to worry whether I have an impolitely large amount of stuff. Not much I can do about it now, of course, but I have a feeling the best way to do the move will be to park my housemate and me at either end of the journey (housemate is current nextdoor neighbour, also moving via my friend) and pingpong the car between us to make full use of the available seats. But then that doesn't sound very fun for anyone. But then that's why they call them favours? (*tries to convince self that her stuff is a single carload if only the driver is taken into consideration, thus making rudeness+boredom reasonable*)

I also should be going away to France in a couple of weeks time, though, to learn French for a month, and my house won't actually have internet before then, so I'll be tethering my laptop to (through?) my phone and may be somewhat absent (at least until I've done some hesitant forays and worked out what my MB allowance actually means in terms of surfing time - must look up the LJ and DW suffixes to open links in that super-blank style so as not to waste stuff). Once in France, of course, I'll either make loads of new friends and never be here or find everyone on my course strange and off-putting and want to spend as much time away from them as possible. So presence cannot be predicted - though I wouldn't mind using the month away to finish some writing projects, because I fear my target of drafting through the end of the Spikeid by WCUK is unlikely to be met (I have all of X, maybe half of XI, though I think I need to rework that, and none of XII, though everything is now very clear in my head).

To be fair, I was in the writing habit last week, so it's possible I'll get back; it's just that the conference we had this week, the cause of my drunkenness in my previous post, rather sucked up all of my time. It was very good though, and I finally recognised myself in seminars again - ie. I was awake and engaged and approved/feared as the Annoying Young Person with No Name who Insists on Asking Questions. I'd lost my nerve, mostly, over the year and it was nice to find out that the belligerence hadn't been completely beaten out of me. Must try and retain it as the future goes on...

Anyway, seven days to WCUK!! Looking forward to it. (Must write talk.) There is nattering to be done! :D

I think that's a post? My brain's been churning with remembering the various disparate things I've been needing to keep on top of (have a wedding to go to as well, natch, including hen do on Sunday, meaning I likely won't be sleeping in my new house till Monday), so all I have to offer is this random brain-butter stuff. Soz.
quinara: Anya drinking whiskey. (Anya whiskey)
So when I volunteered to help at a conference, I thought it might be a pain. And it's true that I'll have to be in at 9.30 tomorrow morning - but I forgot that when the Classics Fac throws a party, what it actually throws is fuckloads of free wine. And cake in this instance (cake to take home!!). And lets me meet and make friends with a load of drunk randomers. It's times like this I remember why I don't want to leave.

Oh, and I wrote fic - here and here. I need to reply to LJ comments when it's not playing silly buggers. Spuffy phone convos: gloomy argument and phone sex. Free of content AO3 reckons needs a warning. I'm quite happy with them really, but then I spend most of my fic time pleasing myself. Though my email says that you, Bogalog, have been obtuse about something somewhere where I need to be sober to respond to the sarcasm properly.

Why didn't I bring home more free cake?
quinara: Approaching Black Mage from FFIX. (FFIX black mage)
I forgot to have lunch, so am quickly stuffing my face before my French class, but yays!! I'm officially staying for my PhD!! Our marks don't come out until the 14th, so I still don't know exactly how I did on my thesis, but I've just got an email confirming that (in general/'for the purposes of graduation') I have achieved a High Pass (the equivalent of a first, pretty much) on the course overall, and that the committee has decided I can definitely come back (and have they funding they offered me) in October.

My mum has deemed their delivery of the news a slight anticlimax, but it is quite nice. Though I'm still curious for the 14th...

Must put socks on now.
quinara: Wesley looking angsty. (Wes swirly)
My other Three Weeks for Dreamwidth thing was to post some poetry to [community profile] forkedtongues, which really meant sorting out a project that I'd vaguely started and subsequently abandoned. It involved trying to translate Aristophanes' Lysistrata in way that actually got across a bit more of the cultural implications, using another cultural context - which was basically the sort of Monty Python/Carry On/Ealing Studios school of British comedy, which is actually a better match for Aristophanes than you'd think. The problem I generally have with Lysistrata is that people seem to take it as vaguely proto-feminist (the women go on a sex-strike, thereby taking their sexual agency into their own hands and asserting their political opinions for the benefit of Athens and Greece), and, yeah, maybe that works in a modern performance, but it's not what I think follows naturally from the Greek and the Athenian context. (The play is basically full of stereotypes, and Lysistrata only really gets where she does by eschewing her femaleness; on top of that the whole play was written and performed by men for men (at least primarily), so I don't think you can really escape the ha-ha, we're-all-lads vibe.)

Of course, there's also the general problem that I don't know many translations that are actually funny, which, by the bye, Aristophanes is...

So, anyway, this is something like the first 'scene', translated in a way that hopefully is possible to follow without footnotes, gets across some of the frown-making aspects and attempts to actually be amusing. Under the first cut is the Greek (edition N.G. Wilson, Aristophanis Fabulae, Tomus II. [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007]) and a slightly more literal translation (A.H. Sommerstein, Aristophanes Lysistrata. [Warminster: Aris & Phillips, 1990]), which takes a couple of liberties for sense, but keeps everything culturally located in ancient Athens and gives a good impression of what the Greek says. Under the second is my playscript prose translation.

Lysistrata (1-54) )

My Translation. )
quinara: Sherlock Holmes thinks porn is boring. (Sherlock porn is boring)
1. Why does Sainsbury's use milk in their flapjacks? It's sickly and completely unnecessary.
2. Why am I so sensitive to the taste of milk in sweet things? This is like when college ruined baklava by lacing the whole lot with cream.
3. Why are ablative absolutes so inelegant in English? I don't think I should be penalised in a classics essay for clearly having read too much stuff that uses them.
4. Why doesn't anyone like gerunds? They only want to be free...
quinara: Why Bird from Playdays with tea in front of the Whytech. (Why Bird tea and tech)
First of all, for the records, I posted a fic at [livejournal.com profile] sb_fag_ends: Breathing at Your Side, set in AtS S5, about 700 words with no AO3 warnings. In which Spike and Buffy are in secret communication...

Otherwise, I'm slightly worried that I have another plot bunny for [livejournal.com profile] seasonal_spuffy, which came about after wondering what I could find to write about Spike in S7 - I feel like most of my major things recently have been about Buffy, so wanted to get back in Spike's head. It is, dare I say it, not based on tropes I've seen before and I'm reasonably excited about it. I have no idea whether I'll have it finished by April, nor whether I should post it on the same day as the other anyway, since it'll probably be at least over 10K in terms of words and the other fic I have has settled at around 24K...

The main problem with this, anyway, is that I think that the words/ideas are coming because I'm feeling slightly burned out/tired of my course at the moment, but my brain is in good enough shape that it's still ticking over - it's just retreated to something less stressful, with less at stake. I'm a bit worried about this, because I still have a 4-5K word essay and my 10-12K thesis to write this year; I'm excited by the ideas, especially after a very productive supervision I had today, but the actual execution is feeling a tad mountainous.

Still, I did read Gilgamesh last week (in translation) - I recommend it highly! It is japes. And not very long at all.

PS. LJ is still buggering around with my comments; if I'm ignoring you or you just want something to appear in my inbox, do feel free to email me or hassle me via DW. I'm not sure it's worth risking LJ messenger, even, because I never check my inbox without a notification.

PPS. I'm thinking of changing my default icon to this one of Why Bird, at least on LJ. I know this shouldn't be an issue, but it would be an end of a proper era for the sheep... What do people think???? (She has a computer with the proto-internet on it! And tea cups with teddy bears!)
quinara: Why Bird from Playdays with tea in front of the Whytech. (Why Bird tea and tech)
I was going to make a post about various bits of my day, including the invention of sausage au vin à la frying pan (in brief: you can taste it hasn't been in the oven and cohered properly - [livejournal.com profile] bogwitch, you were right); next attempt will involve a stock cube to hopefully offset this) and my trip to the newly opened, souped-up to 11 Post Office (the highlight of which was a free-roaming assistant(?!?) accosting me on my way in, asking if she could help with anything, and getting my response of 'Well, I was just looking for a post office, really - where I could buy an envelope and send a letter?') - but, alas, I iz tired and uncertain my powers of description are up to it, so suffice to say I have now applied for my PhD (if the post office wasn't in fact through a portal to Bizzaro World) and don't have to worry until the funding interview in March. Also, I cooked something purple.

However, since it only involves typing, I will share with you the particular quote that won today's research:

I haven't set out to offer a comprehensive survey, merely an open-ended investigation into what is out there, how it works, how one author's approach differs from another, and where the form seems to be headed. The foundation of this endeavour is rough and ready: I grabbed a bunch of poems. I offer a translation of each poem and give a broad idea of what its sense might be, along with minimal notes on any textual difficulties; and I develop a criticism which aims to mirror the shifting complexities of the reading experience. One thing I do not set out to do is close down signification within texts that (in my view) intentionally resist it. I'm not much of a deconstructionist, but I do take it as fairly evident that language is slippery in use, and anyone who reacts badly to the milder deconstructionist/postmodern ideas will probably not enjoy what follows. Also, some of the moves I make with material culture - in particular, the way I read the cheapness and nastiness of the Nikarkhos book fragments as something significant that we can work with, figuring out a model readership so to speak via the back door and maybe even politicising them - may not strike everybody as the proper way to do classics. Sorry. But I think classicists should spend more time with zinesters and webmonkeys before they write this sort of thing off.

-- Gideon Nisbet (2003), Greek Epigram in the Roman Empire: Martial's Forgotten Rivals, Oxford. xv-xvi.

quinara: No Kicking Penguins (Penguins)
[personal profile] verity me cum hac fabula coniunxit, quae optima est! scripta est per Yuletide de The Cambridge Latin Course et in lingua Latina quidem - si haec legere potes, necesse est tibi hanc fabulam quoque legere. *nutat*


est Metella/Melissa, quod omnes sciemus ancillam alteram uero delectauisse...

(ita uero; squeo primo quod in lingua Latina est scripta. sed placet!)
quinara: Anya drinking whiskey. (Anya whiskey)
Ah, posting...

I've been meaning to say thank you to whoever nominated A Wild Night Out for best comedy and best quickie at the Sunnydale Memorial Awards (I get a bit embarrassed about nominations, so I was sort of mincing past it), so thank you. BUT ALSO, as what actually reminded me this morning, thank you to the person who nominated the Spikeid for best plot, best post-series and best unfinished. Whoever you (both?) are, you made my respective days. I feel rather well-represented now in the lists...

None of my fics felt Halloweeny enough to do the Halloween-fic-link thing, though maybe Trial by Mini-Quiches fits, in which Spike goes to a demonic wedding reception after Dead Things. I would, er, copy out the challenge and the headers and stuff, but I'm quite lazy... It's short, from way back in 2005, AO3-warning-free and has Clem in it! I'm not sure that needs half a page of info.

And lastly, I have a question! For better or worse I am starting work on an essay about Odyssey V (the bit with Calypso) in terms of gender reversal and dodgy sexual relationships as a route to psychological recovery, hopefully incorporating Spuffy in S6 as part of the analysis. Since my memory for interviews is rubbish, I was wondering, before I start searching myself, whether anyone can remember interviews/articles/meta posts where gender reversal (or indeed lack of it) in S6 gets discussed, specifically in relation to Dead Things or As You Were (possibly Gone as well; any time while teh sex is happening, really)? I won't reference/quote any fans without asking and the stress will probably be on Homeric scholarship, but it's always good to have an overview of who thinks what. Thanks, gang!
quinara: Spke standing over the Chinese Slayer, with the caption 'Slayer' at his feet. (Spike Slayer)
Ugh, my week seems to have ended with the rather inevitable Fresher's Flu. It is very irritating - though slightly a relief since it possibly explains why I was feeling wretched for the sake of feeling wretched yesterday. It's far to early in term for the straight-up blues. And it has given me plenty of procrastination-via-flashfic time.

Anyway, I did some Greek tragedy prompts in the Bechdel Test Ficathon! It was fun.

First, for [personal profile] laeria's Antigone (Sophocles) - Antigone, Ismene - I don't care about their different thoughts / Different thoughts are good for me / Up in arms and chaste and whole / All God's children took their toll

Warning for suicide (I really need some cheerier characters).

Ανους μεν ερχηι, τοις φιλοις δ'ορθως φιλη. (You Go in Folly, but to Your Dear Ones Truly Dear. [thanks, Andrew Brown for the decent translation!])

What more could be expected of her, cursed daughter of incest? )

Then, secondly, for [livejournal.com profile] eleusis_walks's Greek mythology - Helene, Clytemnestra or Helene/Clytemnestra - many men have tried to split us up, / but no one can / lord help the mister who comes between me and my sister / and lord help the sister / who comes between me and my man.

I ended up going down a route with Aeschylus' Agamemnon, involving Cassandra. Warning here for graphic violence and character death (is that a bit farcical in Greek tragedy? Actual death on stage, though, which wouldn't usually happen...).

Ονειρων προσφερεις μορφωμασιν. (Appearing Like Images of Dreams.)

Cassandra enters the palace with her eyes closed shut. )

quinara: Anya drinking whiskey. (Anya whiskey)

Usually I lump all my ficathon stuff together (ah, laziness), but I have a feeling the two fics I've done so far don't really work as a group, so here I am separating them.

This first was in response to [livejournal.com profile] eleusis_walks's prompt The Odyssey - Kalypso, Kirke - sing, goddess.

I was cheeky and stuck with the anglicised names. There is quite a bit of swearing in this, but otherwise nothing that would get a warning on AO3. Thank you to my dear [livejournal.com profile] writerconuk friends for a certain level of inspiration. :P

Goddesses like to gossip. Drunkenly.

Stories the Mortals Never Hear. )
quinara: Heads Will Roll: Whiskey from Dollhouse in blue light (Whiskey blue)

Alas, I haven't been struck by many of the prompts on this meme, but I did answer [livejournal.com profile] vassilissa's: Greek Mythology, Medea, survival. (Though this is resolutely Seneca's Medea, because I love her and my rant about Euripides' being too often (IMO) held up anachronistically as a 'strong female character', when she's actually chockablock with skeevy stereotypes, is a rant for another day. It's not that Seneca fares much better than Euripides on that front, but he isn't quite so valorised for doing it. Not that this is Medea's fault, of course.)

Blood of My Blood. [T for gore; not for those squeamish about childbirth.] )
quinara: Spke standing over the Chinese Slayer, with the caption 'Slayer' at his feet. (Spike Slayer)
(Sorry H, and anyone else who sees this and still has things to do.)

Nine hours, nigh on sixty pages of scrawl later, and I'm done!! Whooop! I had a feeling at about 10.20 this morning that the exam was never going to end, but luckily (as I thought it might do) time started going quite quickly by the time I got to starting my third essay at 11. And then I went to the pub for lunch, and had a Desperados (tequila-flavoured beer), which I didn't think they even did over here (it was brewed in France, so I wonder if it was imported) and a burger. Then I went to shops, which were a bit rubbish, but I was saved from the potential travesty of not buying anything from Fopp the record shop by an advert on the way out that said Crystal Castles had a new album! I'm listening to it now, and it's great - still very CC-like, but with a touch more clubbiness and even(!) listenability. I also bought some jelly beans, on which I'm gorging.

For posterity's sake, before I forget (though it's almost certainly of no interest to anyone else), I'm putting below the cut the diss title + nine questions that will decide my degree. Dubious amusement may be found, though, alas, I didn't do the question where we were asked to discuss a quote from Billie Piper... ('We've only been exposed to the drug-fuelled, sex traffic side - but the fact is, there are middle-class, cultured, well-read women who take part in this job.' (Billie Piper on Belle de Jour). Is this remark helpful for understanding prostitution in antiquity?)

So this is Classics (and what have you done?) )

Beer festival this evening! :D

(Oh, wow, I am suddenly so tired...)
quinara: Tara walking in the Slayer's desert. (Restless desert)
Though various flips and wriggles across cyberspace (/my DW netork), I came across this post, where someone I don't know quoted somebody else I don't know saying the line:

"[A]ll literature, highbrow or low, from the Aeneid onward, is fan fiction."

On the one hand, this is a very nice sentiment and, you know, in the context of the qualifying definition Michael Chabon provides, true. On the other, however, I find myself yet again amused/annoyed that apparently the Greeks were actually divinely inspired in the verve and originality of their literature. Or maybe this guy is just a really big fan of Catullus or something, but, if we play the averages, I suspect he might probably hang with the crowd that thinks Terence's Menander 'translations' were completely unchanged in their move to Latin and Ennius' tragedies just copied the oldies despite making drastic changes even in the fragments we have.

But none of those are major parts of the Western textual canon! you might say. The Aeneid is just making a big point, because everybody's heard of it! Apart from the fact that every fifth century tragedian was essentially writing fanfic too, and, oh yes, yet again we see Homer as The Original Source Text Of All Texts Ever. Because, you know, the Muse actually came down and told Homer what to say: 'he' was completely free of all outside influences - it was only when the Aeneid came along that the fanfic began. Uh huh.


I'm not even sure why I'm ranting about this. I love Homer and all his cleverdick ways (and he, whoever he was/were-in-the-plural-creators, really was a clever bastard), but, for heaven's sake, if everything from the Aeneid onwards is fanfic, then the Iliad and the Odyssey bloody were too.

IN OTHER NEWS: What do you think my fic says about my id?
quinara: Spike smoking on a crate. (Spike crate)
Oh, the Romans... Sometimes Always they amuse me so. As part of trying to work out whether or not we can say whether there was any sort of moral/sexual geographical zoning in Pompeii (say whether there was a 'red light district', to quote an exam paper - I say not in literal terms, but in ideology/perception/phenomenology yes, definitely) I've been reading the records of inscriptions around the town - ie. the dirty graffiti, basically.

Cut for NSFW Romans! (And more! Incl. street poetry!) )
quinara: Tara walking in the Slayer's desert. (Restless desert)
I think I've mentioned several times that I'm not a very good Museum Classicist, because I find pots and the like extremely dull. This sort of thing, however, I think is pretty much the coolest thing ever:

This particular cess-pit serves a three-storey apartment block in Herculaneum and it is now famous because underneath the settled volcanic deposit Andrew's team discovered loads and loads of the Roman shit remaining -- almost 800 large bags of it to be precise. And in this shit (which I can testify is well and truly composted, as I shoved my hand into one of the bags and found it the constituency of rather fine soil) was found precious traces of what had passed through the digestive tracts of the people living in the block. Not to mention all the other things that they chose to throw down their loos -- which seem to have functioned as waste disposal units/dustbins. A lot of the sieved organic remains are now being studied in Oxford, and they certainly show that the residents were consuming eggs, nuts, figs and sea-urchins.

I hadn't expected to be able to see the chutes coming down from the top storey of the apartment block, nor the smears of calcified Roman shit still clinging to the walls down which it had fallen. Nor had I expected the whole thing to be quite so well built.

Oh yes, we can say, the Romans in the Bay of Naples ate sea-urchins and built very good sewers. BEAT THAT.
quinara: Heads Will Roll: Whiskey from Dollhouse in blue light (Whiskey blue)
1. I'd only heard of Harold Bloom because of the Naomi Wolf accusation (which I've long been inclined to believe) and wasn't entirely sure what to make of him. Reading The Anxiety of Influence, however, I'm left with the impression that he's basically a wanker. For a start there's the random appropriation of classical concepts as ill-fitting metaphors with little or poorly explained understanding of what those terms imply outside of their usage in his book, and on top of that there's the idea that Shakespeare was a great flourishing of originality that burst out of nowhere, except maybe Marlowe and the Pre-Socratics - ??? I completely understand the need to study English lit. without constantly going 'ooh, Classics', but using Classics badly is just insulting.

2. For the purposes of fic-soundtracking (oh, not too time-consuming procrastination, how I love you) I've found myself trying to work out which song I own is the most representative of Euripides' Medea. I have settled on the Yeah Yeah Yeah's Man, and am rather well satisfied by the choice.

And, to make this a Spanish Inquisition 'two', 3. It's snowing again. Or possibly sleeting, but heavily in any case (though the whatever-precipitation-it-is is quite fine).


quinara: Sheep on a hillside with a smiley face. (Default)

December 2015

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