Friday, July 29, 2005

the things I come across...

I was looking for a Viking joke... a really old one that's about as funny today as it was when it was first told 1000 years ago, if you tell it to the right people... You know - ironic, black humor... that shouldn't be funny, but if told right, it is. I found something else though... A quiz to determine what one's Viking name is. Here's mine:

"Herdis Goatflattener (Well, actually, that wouldn't really be your name -- since you're female, your name would be something like "Herdis Bjornsdottir," But this is the twenty-first century, and you want to be known for who you are, not for who your father was, right? Right.) Your Viking Personality: You're a fearsome Viking, but you aren't completely uncivilized. The other Vikings make fun of you for that. You are strong and tireless, frequently shouldering burdens that would tire lesser women. You probably know which end of a sword to hold, but you're not a fearsome fighter by any stretch of the imagination. A long sea voyage aboard a Viking longboat would be difficult for you, but you might be able to manage it. Other Vikings tolerate your presence, though they're not quite sure if they can trust you to fight dirty. You have a fairly pragmatic attitude towards life, and tend not to expend effort in areas where it would be wasted. Other people tend to think of you as manipulative and conniving."

:D Well, I wouldn't go so far as to say "manipulative and conniving." Who do they think I am, a disciple of Loki? I think not... Would love to know the story behind "Goatflattener" though... Also, the "Goatflattener" thing is possible, even if I am female. There was Unn The Deep-Minded afterall... Here's where to go if you want take it too:

I eventually found the "joke." It's from Njal's Saga, and is typical of the humor to be found in most of the Sagas.

A band of men who were enemies of a man named Gunnar came to his homestead to slay him. Gunnar saw them coming and, because it was night, used the darkness to conceal himself in a corner of his hall with his ax. The band of men surrounded his home and the leader, Gizur, sent one man, Thorgrim, into the house to find Gunnar. Thorgrim crept around and as he passed by Gunnar, Gunnar hit him in the head with his ax. Thorgrim walked back outside, with the ax still stuck in his head, to where the other men were waiting and Gizur asked, "Well, is Gunnar at home?" And Thorgrim said, "I don't know, but his ax is," then fell over dead.

Don't know if everyone would appreciate that as much as my Viking History class did, but there you go... I think it's how over-the-top it is that does it...

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

distant priority #5...

I need to find a good unabridged translation of The Iliad and other Trojan Cycle stories... There is always the MIT Classics Index, but... Well, just click it at right and see - it goes down all the time! There's no reliability.

I'm working on adapting the Trojan Cycle for the screen and I need to be able to makes notes in the margins and whatnot. I actually should probably get several translations done by different people since I can't read ancient Greek and have no time to learn at the moment. See, I'd like to eventually see an historically accurate, unbiased or colored by modern eyes, and complete dramatization of the great Greek epics done. And since no one else seems capable or willing, I think it will have to be me who writes the script. I'm suspicious of everything "historical" that Hollywood does after this last year of stunning disasters ("Troy," "Alexander," "Kingdom of Heaven" ::shudders::), not to mention the year before - "King Arthur" (gag me!). I'm thinking that they shouldn't be allowed to do period films anymore without adult supervision. Although, they could turn things around if "The New World" and "Beowulf & Grendel" live up to expectations... but I'm not really holding my breath.

I started making notes the other day. The Fates will be the Chorus. I think that's appropriate, since they are a neutral force in the Trojan War and Fate is a major theme in all of the Greek epics I'll be dealing with... I want to go at least from the marriage of Achilles' parents through the epilogue of the Iliad, if not the back-story to it all (Zeus' affair with Leda and Hecuba's dream) through the epilogue of the Odyssey... I'm not fond of Odysseus, despite the fact that the reader is supposed to like him. Unlike Athena, I do not find his manipulations and machinations "cute." I think he's jerkier than most ancient Greek men, and I'd just as soon not rehash his story of personal discovery ::rolls eyes::. I realize that everything he did was culturally acceptable and even expected because nearly all ancient Greek men were chauvinist pigs, but I've got to draw a line somewhere. And well, even if I can grit my teeth and bear his wife remaining completely faithful to his memory while he's gallivanting across the Aegean like a 10th century BCE Lothario because he *does* love her so much that not even goddesses dangling immortality in front of his face and terrible monsters can keep him from her in the end, he crosses it one too many times with getting Iphigenia "sacrificed" by trying to incite a riot. In any case, this would obviously have to be a mini-series.

continuing strange

I'm continuing to work on my knitting projects. I haven't finessed any of them yet. I need to photograph the baby hat, the cloth hobo bag and the off-the-shoulder sweater that I've made for the calender contest. Three photos are due by the end of the month, so I really don't have much time, but with 1-hour photo, I have enough... As long as I get film tomorrow and get the pictures back by the next day, I'll be fine. They want real photos of knitted items from patterns on their site... and by "real," I mean "fine art." I really like that idea. And thanks to Adobe PhotoShop 6.0, I'll be able to get them to look exactly like I want them to look without processing and printing them myself. Yay!! So that's my # 1 priority for today.

Priority #2 is getting some of the peanuts harvested. There are several plants that are ready. The rest of them need to be fertilized. Thankfully, they have been doing well this season. ::fake spit, fake spit:: (Don't want to jinx it.) Apparently, we have ideal soil for them... Strange when it's not ideal for almost anything else. Usually have to amend it like crazy! It drains just fine, but doesn't have enough organic material... little too sandy. But peanuts like sandy, so I like growing peanuts.

The roses are also doing much better. The rain still comes in the very late afternoon almost everyday, but the fungicide finally seems to be controlling it. The okra is another matter. We're pretty sure it's got some sort of blight. And the eggplants are right next to the okra... For some reason, they aren't putting on any fruit though. We can't figure out why. The leaves are all perfectly green and healthy looking. They'll get flowers every week or so, but the fruit just isn't taking. Strange, because they usually do better in hot weather according to Mom. If anyone has any idea as to what's going on, I'd surely appreciate any info you have.

I really feel for people living further north who are getting the disgustingly hot weather that we usually have to contend with here. Whether humidity is at 0%, 50% or 100% (which doesn't always mean it's raining, contrary to popular belief... The humidity has been at 100% for days before without any rain, just air as thick as pea soup), 95 degrees F is still hotter than hell. And 103, oh, forget about it and just stay inside! It's ridiculous, this weather. Some say it's because of global warming... I don't think I buy it. 1.) We're in a cold period for the earth's history... still crawling out of the last ice age, really. 2.) We really don't have enough data to prove that it's due to green-house gases that temperatures are rising, which fluctuate naturally over time. 3.) The 13th century had weird weather patterns similar to those we're experiencing now. On the other hand, 4.) There is more CO2 being deposited in glacial ice now than there has been in the last 2.5 million years... in fact, it's exactly double it's highest concentration in that period. We've been on an exponential upswing for the last 10,000 years (or was it 100,000?... something like that anyway), but around industrialization, CO2 reached the highest 2.5 million year level, and at present has surpassed it by 100%. Worrisome, but at the same time, I'm not particularly worried... We're likely worrying over something we can't do a thing about, and certainly nothing quick. Now, this is not to say that I don't fully support that cars and factories should be cleaner... Just because I don't buy that it's a long-term problem, doesn't mean that I don't think it's a short-term one. I certainly think we could improve world health if we cut down on fossil fuels or eliminated them entirely. I just don't think that it would significantly impact global warming.

My goodness, that was a tangent!

Anyway, here in Tampa, we have the rains almost every afternoon, but it doesn't cool anything down significantly, just keeps enough moisture in the air to prevent it from getting hotter than it already does... and of course, encourages the mosquitoes to breed like mad. I want to put a bat house out on the back part of our property to get them to stay around and eat the mosquitoes, but Mom seems to think that's a bad idea. She doesn't like bats, but I know we have them around here anyway. Every evening there will be at least 4 or 5 flying around directly above the house snapping up mosquitoes as fast are their radar can find them. I like bats. As far as I'm concerned, they can stay. And soon we'll have even more because I'm planting a banana tree... somewhere. We haven't picked out a spot yet, but it's sitting out on the front walk right now. According to what I've heard, if it weren't for fruit bats, banana trees wouldn't be able to pollinate. So yay for them!

Priority #3 for the day is continuing to organize my room because Josh is coming home from Los Angeles next week and I can't continue using his room as my personal storage space. And priority #4 is planting the roses that are potted, the banana tree and a hydrangea that I got at Home Depot 2 months ago (It's doing quite well evenso.) I probably won't get around to that until later in the week though.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

let's see if I got it right...

If this has worked, two photos of the baby blanket I did for my cousin's new baby should be at the left here (with our messy dinning room in the wide shot). This is the best I can do at the moment. They were taken with my new camera phone. The pattern is a moss stitch border with a ground of a repeated hourglass-cable/eyelet pattern, it measures about 45"x36", and the yarn is 100% worsted weight cotton. It was not my pattern; I'm not that good... yet! (Give me time... hehe.) I found it here. It took one 1 pound cone and one ball of Peaches & Cream 100% cotton yarn in white.

Oh, and I just remembered a few other projects that I've tackled this summer. I knitted a "hobo" bag out of stripes of ripped cotton shirt fabric... It's not completely done because part of it needs to be reworked, but technically it's off my needles. Also, I'm trying to learn how to spin with a drop spindle. If I were truly ambitious, I would get a bit of soapstone and make a Medieval Viking-style spindle whorl and grab a sapling out of the yard to widdle for the shaft, but I'm not really that ambitious, and I bought a modern one from an online supplier along with some ready-to-spin black merino wool. At least, I'm not that ambitious at the moment. I'm sure I'll eventually make a replica and learn to card wool straight from the sheep. I fully believe that an historian should recreate things that the people they study made/did, if at all possible, in order to better understand them and their time. But more on my academic philosophy later... Now, I really need to go to bed.

what I've been up to

I'm currently on summer break from school... a very much needed break too, let me tell you. I've been taking my time to relax and do fun things.

I've been gardening, although the weather has been odd this entire growing season and most everything has gone impossibly awry. The corn was decent but could have been better if the spring hadn't had schizophrenic weather (hot, cold, hot, cold), which stunted its growth. And we had good tomatoes for only about three weeks when it should have been almost two months. The peppers have been *tiny* (bells 2"x3"), even with fertilizer. The okra, which we were overwhelmed with last year with half as many plants, has only been trickling in. The eggplant did well early on, but are having problems now with insects and spiders just not buggering off. And worst of all, the roses are all plagued with black spot, even with weekly spraying, because of the late afternoon rains and lingering humidity (usually this is not a problem until late August). I lost one of my rugosas to it... Lucky for me, I got 5 seedlings off of it before it had to be axed. With more luck, by next year at least one will have survived and I can replace the lost one without having to buy a new one. Pray the rain comes when it should be coming this time of year, the early afternoon, so things won't continue to get worse.

I've also been knitting like a mad fool. I've done a baby blanket, three pairs of booties and three hats for my cousin who is expecting her third in October. I've also already finished several Christmas presents. I'm currently working on a lace shrug for myself, a pair of socks for my mom (my first socks!) and an afghan. And of course, my yarn stash grows by the week no matter how many times I've resolved not to buy more. (I can't help it! Yarn keeps going on sale...)

My friends and I see a movie every weekend. This last weekend we saw "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." I liked it although it was darker than the first movie version. I could definitely see Tim Burton's hand in it. And his other movie, "The Corpse Bride," will be out in September. I'm not sure I'll see that one or not. "Nightmare Before Christmas" scared the bejezzus out of me and still does if I watch the whole thing, and to be frank, "The Corpse Bride" looks like it would freak me out even more. Very, very macabre. I would definitely leave the kids at home... If I had kids anyway...

Now I need to figure out how to publish photos on here...

First post

Wow! I have a blog now. I've been thinking about starting one for a while, but never had a pressing reason to do it. But I wanted to post comments on the blogs of friends and relatives so I had to do one quickly. I hope I remember to post regularly. At the very least, I'll probably be using it for picture sharing.

Bye for now!