Friday, November 30, 2007

Some Gaskell

Here are a couple quotes that come from a section of Mary Barton (one of the novels I am currently writing about). They have nothing to do with what I am writing (on class structure and the power of the written word) but I liked the truth in them:
Opportunities are not often wanting where inclination goes before.

I do not know what points of resemblance (or dissimilitude, for the one joins people as often as the other) attracted the two girls to each other. Margaret had the great charm of possessing good strong common sense, and do you not percieve how involuntarily this is valued? It is so pleasant to have a friend who possesses the power of setting a difficult question in a clear light; whose judgment can tell what is best to be done; and who is so convinced of what is "wisest, best," that in consideration of the end, all difficulties in the way diminish. People admire talent, and talk about their admiration. But they value common sense without talking about it, and often without knowing it.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

a pretty pickle indeed

But there certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world, as there are pretty women to deserve them.
-from Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

O Bellicosity of mine, why hast thou no tangible object?

I was having a great day, many things were going my way or at least were not going against me. I had breakfast with Ness, I finished my Beowulf paper (quite pleased with how it turned out too, I might add), watched Mansfield Park while eating chocolate cake and other assorted treats in our last day of class party, ran into a few friends I haven't seen in a while and actually had some time to spare to catch up. I was on a roll for sure, depositing my cheque and looking around the mall in one of my pre-Christmas shopping browse times.

It all came to a sudden halt as I was wiping off the car for the drive back. Another parking ticket. Yes, my second this week from the same bloody french woman piss-midget. I hate her with a passion. I wonder how people like that sleep at night. And this occurs after I found a 1863 penny lying on the floor and handed it in to the bank security in the chance that someone comes back to look for it. Yes, I did an act of kindness. Who knows, perhaps it isn't really worth that much but really, it would have been awesome to have had a coin minted before our country existed. The security guard didn't seem too much on the bright side but did say he'd have the bank hold onto it in case someone asks about it. If I had known that the stupid institution that decided to penalize its customers would descend on me once again I would probably have kept that coin just to show them. I know, childish but hey, I'm mad and really have no method of retaliation at this point (Oh, and I don't mean 'show them' as in 'hey guys, look at this' but in the belligerent manner).

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I was part of a discussion this evening concerning dealing with the blessing of wealth in relation to living out the Christian life. It touched on many aspects of the issue but the one I have been thinking of in the aftermath is the false sense of security attached to seeming financial stability. It was agreed that we tend to trust and rely on wealth rather than the Lord for our security. But however much this may apply to my life I have concluded that I view my family (close and extended) as a greater blessing and source of security than money. I would be much more destitute losing or being alienated from them than losing all my money. However much this may seem a better prop than money, I belive relying on it in this way rather than on God brings out similar pitfalls. I find a the idea in the movie the Net where Sandra Bullock has her identity stolen and has no relatives who are able to confirm who she is much more terrifying than that of going broke. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I know as long as I have relative I will never be homeless. So perhaps it still is indirectly linked to the money issue (only in a more communal way).

The issue of making enough money to afford a good old-age home was surprising for me and thinking of it now, I don't directly know of any relatives who have gone to a home. I think in part it is because my family tends to be healty and then die rather suddenly (another blessing, I guess) and those who need care are usually taken care of at the home of a relative. It sounds like our family is a little anomalous in this way. There are so many facets to the issue that it is hard to come to any definitive answer but I suppose at least one thought I can take from it is that my family is a huge blessing.

life's impressionistic moments

The Very Model of a modern Major-General

The classic aria from Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance
I am the very model of a modern Major-General;
I've information vegetable, animal and mineral:
I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical,
From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical;
I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical,
I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical,
About binomial theorem I'm teeming with a lit o' news,
With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse...
I'm very good at integral and differential calculus;
I know the scientific names of beings animalculous:
In short in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

I know our mystic history, King Arthur's and Sir Caradoc's;
I answer hard acrostics; I've a pretty taste for paradox;
I quote, in elegiacs, all the crimes of Heliogabalus,
In conics I can floor peculiarities parabolous;
I can tell undoubted Raphaels from Gerard Dows and Zoffanies
I know the croaking chorus from the Frogs of Aristophanes!
Then I can hum a fugue of which I've heard the music's dinafore,
And whistle all the airs from that infernal nonsense, Pinafore!...
Then I can write a washing bill in Babylonic cuneiform,
And tell you ev'ry detail of Caractacus's uniform:
In short in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

In fact when I know what is meant my "mamelon" and "ravelin",
When I can tell at sight a Mauser rifle from a javelin,
When such affairs of sorties and surprises I'm more wary at,
And when I know precisely what is meant by "commissariat",
When I have learnt what progress has been made in modern gunnery,
When I know more of tactics than a novice in a nunnery--
In short when I've a smattering of elemental strategy--
You'll say a better major-General has never sat a gee.
For my military knowledge, tho' I'm plucky and adventury,
Has only been brought down to the beginning of the century;
But still in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

Friday, November 23, 2007

leafen caves

I often like to imagine the world in miniature. When I was little I loved sandboxes and making GIJoes places to play out of Mom's houseplants and various other objects. I guess I haven't grown up much since then. Unfortunately I just don't have as much time now to indulge myself. That's one good thing about hanging out with little people, they make good excuses to dabble in the delights of imagination without feeling foolish. A couple days ago I was waiting for the bus and saw these leaf-caves under the hedge and had to capture a few of my favourites. The owners seemed to be out so I didn't get to have them pose by their houses (they seem to be quite the early risers) but I've labelled the pictures with whose home is who's for those who are not blessed with their acquaintance.
This is the home of Pip and Elvira. It's their first home so a mite on the small side but they're quite glad to have found a proper leaf before the snow fell and now they're happy and snug in the fitting up of this small paradise.
This more imposing entrance leads to Mr Fizzlewort's impressive home. He is quite proud of it and was out for quite some time finding the perfect leaf for the entrance to his abode. It is perhaps on the dark side but that helps him when he takes his afternoon nap.
This one is not actually a proper home but is the new summerhouse in the Pomfotters' backyard. I thought the line of the eaves was quite pretty against the snow. They are quite looking forward to getting quite a bit of use out of it next summer since it was only finished about a month before the snow flew.
This golden leaf is the entrance to the home of the mayor, Mr Goldstem. I do fear that he has put too much thought into the outer appearance of his house and it might be a tad uncomfortable inside. But perhaps he wishes to warm it with his wit.
Finally here is an aerial picture of one section of Leafton. The caves are placed close both for shared warmth and for the greater ease of visiting through the long winter months. Eventually the residents will have to dig tunnels through the snow from entrance to entrance. But thankfully when they have accomplished this they generally do not have to do much more the rest of the season (excluding the cleanup of cave-ins).


one more thing about flickr for now: it appears as though the slideshow function only uses about the first page of my pictures on flickr and then loops. Although it is unlikely that one would remain looking at my blog for a longer amount of time than it takes to get through those twenty (or so) pictures, if you would happen to like to see more I believe you can click on the slideshow and arrive at my whole archive. There are about 6,400 pics up now and I've finally reached the point where I'm not uploading any older pictures, just those that I have taken within a day or two! It's very exciting. Well, to me at least :)
Now I just have to sort them out a bit...

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I couldn't resist the opportunity to add the flickr slideshow element here.
I hope my vast readership will enjoy it just as much as I do.
I love slideshows (distracting as they are).
That is all I wanted to say.
Oh, and enjoy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Yesterday we had rain.But I woke up this morning to the reflected light of snow!

Although it usually melts away within the day there is nothing quite like the first snowfall of the year.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Let me preface this with the assertion that I am not in a generally pessimistic mood. It just happens that two rather curmudgeonly thoughts have occurred to me within the space of a week and I have decided to record them for all the world to have the potential to see if they were so inclined to google appropriate terms and inexplicably stumble upon this backwater blog.

That being shorter than most prefaces I have to read I will lengthen this post with an introduction and perhaps a note on the text. Well perhaps not the latter. That would be a little pretentious, I believe. However, I shall introduce this topic by stating that people are inept. Well perhaps I should have left that for the body of the entry but it serves well as an introduction too. Now on to the body of this entry.

It should come as no surprise to the thinking mind that with the burgeoning numbers of electronic means of communication involving the written word (or perhaps I should say the typed word), shortcuts, slang and means of expressing one's true emotions would pop up. And so they have. Emoticons and new 'words' like lol are now entrenched in the vocabulary of the modern delinquent. MSNisms are seeping into the rest of the language. Despite the push for the descriptive rather than prescriptive approach to linguistics I cannot help feeling that this degrades the language.

Be that as it may I have little to complain about concerning what I have mentioned above when compared with the inanity shown by those people who, in order to express the lengthening of a word for emphasis, multiply the wrong letters in the word. For example, if one were to take the word 'sweet' and attempt to express how the word is lengthened (as when used as a sign of approbation), the logical result would be something like: 'sweeeeet' (with more or fewer 'e's depending on the length desired). Even to the non-linguist it is quickly evident that vowels are the sounds formed by our vocal chords and are thus easier to maintain. Likewise it is phonetically impossible to lengthen the amount of time in which the 't' is pronounced since most consonants are a one-shot deal. So were I to write my lengthened 'sweet' out thus: 'sweetttttt' even the simplest child would quickly see that the sound represented is the word 'sweet' with a bunch of stuttered 't's following. Yet why to do I see similar consonantal lengthening in numerous wall postings and other texts of this, our venerable computer age? Do the writers actually take the time to sound out what word they have just spelled?

Almost worst are those who lengthen silent letters as in 'pokeeeeee'. Are they really trying to express something along the lines of 'pokie'? Utterly ridiculous. The only way in which I can account for this phenomenon while maintaining the sense of this new generation is to posit that their keyboards are sticking and the letters appear like that out of no conscious thought from the typist.
Let us hope (for the sake of this perverse generation) that this latter is the case.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Spiceless girls

The more I see of the world the more I am dissatisfied with it
These words of Elizabeth Bennet to me represent the way that I associate a certain type of cynicism with levels of sophistication and maturity.

I do have friends who are certainly mature in other ways but who lack this characteristic. I feel they should be called Janeites to continue with the P&P theme. Even though they may (and often are) my elders, I feel quite superior in many ways as Elizabeth clearly is to Jane. To use a trite analogy, it is as though they are lacking in the spice department.

Don't get me wrong, I do like these people (I did call them friends) and they often inspire me to be a better person but I have a sneaky feeling that they would be tedious as long-term companions. It is lovely indeed that they always have something positive to say of everyone and it follows that they would never say a thing bad about you, either, but I do believe that I am actually quite comfortable to let my friends gossip about me behind my back if, in return, I get to hear all the juicy bits from them.

And so the spirit of The Council of Introverts lives on.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I couldn't stop laughing!

Crab Apples

This tree is in the park near Gma's. It seems like any other tree until its fruit is revealed and then it stands out like a flaming beacon against the barren landscape around it.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


I've been uploading most of my photos onto flikr and have noticed a big improvement in the quality of my pictures from the time when I first got my camera to now. I think it is in part due to becoming familiar with my camera--with what I can and cannot do with it. Also I think that over time with trial and error I am developing a definite style concerning both what I take pictures of and how I take those pictures. It's really neat to look back to see the development and new techniques I have been able to pick up along the way. It is also interesting to see how my love for photography has only grown with the more practice I get.

To illustrate much of what I hvae been saying, here are two pictures: one taken in February (not long after I got my camera) and one taken two days ago. Both are of a similar subject but I think it will be easy to see which one was taken first.

Friday, November 02, 2007


different uses of language

From David Crystal's The Stories of English
...slang primarily exists to foster rapport among individuals who wish to express their sense of belonging to a social group.

[when comparing the informality/formality of our language to our choice of clothes] ...language is the cheapest way of expressing identity...