Sunday, 31 May 2009

Acqua dell'Elba

Elba is one of those small islands in the Mediterranean, known for Napoleon Bonaparte, who was sort of internated there - he was made ruler of Elba and I couldn't help wondering whether there may be a nice insular duchy (or kingdom or independent sultanate) under the rule of Napoleon XVI. Buonaparte today weren't it for Napoleon the Original's megalomania.

I saw the Acqua dell'Elba fragrances some time ago in one of the numerous profumerias of Florence and initially I thought that they might be by some interesting niche brand - simple packaging in eau de nil boxes, simple bottles, although the pale turquoise juice was mildly suspicious. I made a mental note to check it sometimes.
Upon my arrival to Elba, I saw the whole cupboard of Acqua dell'Elba products in the cupboard in the reception. And in the tourist informations centre. Adverts all over. It was somewhat... suspicious.
I finally tried both versions, for men and women, and they are not bad. Neither interesting, I must say, a well-blended citrusy cologne for gentlemen and a well-blended floral for ladies. But... oh so boring. I can imagine both as a nice and 'typical' gift for anyone - grandnephew, mother in law, hated neighbour. Along with a pretty eau de nil towel.

When, damn, there are so many scents in the air. We went up the Mt. Capanne and the air smelled bitter of Genista desolea and stones and sun. There's maccia, junipers, chesnuts - do chesnut trees smell somehow, I wonder? and definitely some more than I could smell in the Acqua dell'Elba fragrances although for both, the notes give Mediterranean shrub.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009


Not a sequel to previous Tuesday sufferings, though.

My mom arrived on Thursday. We had some serious fun but I'm totally grateful to I Tatti that it simply is. After all that sightseeing, mom decided to stay at home, cook, do laundry and, well, whatever she decides and I ran away uphill to have some peace and to possibly do some research. (1)
Not that mom would be annoying as such but first, she needs undivided attention. I cannot be talking to her and poking something around at the same time and less so can I actually talk to her and write. Although she urged me to do whatever I need, whenever I retreated to my room, it wouldn't take long before she'd call asking whether I want some coffee or what do I want to eat for dinner. The answers would be Yes and Anything but she would want to discuss it.
Yesterday she spent the whole morning and evening hanging around the city and now she's knocked down. Not by stendhalitis, I'm afraid that her perception of art and architecture is such that she's immune to this one, but crampylegs and blisters... she couldn't just go home or sit somewhere, she had to wait for the end of my dance class (2) and she had to wait walking. I was thus free to go and do my own things.
Which meant that I dealt with the communication backlog... in a place which is quiet.

I'm going to Elba for the weekend and I have some interesting ideas which are being worked on so there will be some interesting content someday soon.
(1) Nothing done, I needed to deal with a backlog of agenda on which I need to concentrate.
(2) and ruin my meditative walk home

Heat wave

It's 35, the weather site says, the real street temperature, as it goes, might be nearing 45.
It's been hot like this since last week and it's sickening. I gradually got used to it so although I'm not fine, I can survive. I took the thinnest bedsheet I could find, I bought the mosquito repelling thingy so that I could sleep with my window open (well, if the idiots across the yard could turn their A/C unit or at least if they got it fixed to run quietly, life would be much better), I sleep with my hair tied in a bun because there's not many a nightmare worse than one's own hair sticking to one's own sweaty face at 3 in the morning.
There are other survival strategies. In Florence, there are fountains with potable water and at the one in the public park, someone placed a plastic bowl for the dogs and cats... so these fountains are reference points in planning the routes. I walk using 'continuation', the police walk described by Terry Pratchett (and someday soon I'll write in detail why I think that the image of Ankh-Morpork is based on Florence). The point is to minimize efforts put in walking and it's easy - just use the necessary muscles. When lifting the leg, use your thigh and relax the calf, for example. Fans make cool fashion accessories, if only pretty ones could be found easily (the wonderful black silk one is back North, the other black one I left at O.'s and she immediatelly misappropriated it....)

It took me a few days to find a fragrance that would stand the heat. Oddly enough, all those summer fragrances just failed. Liberté acidulée - that silly green bottle on the left. It should have a pink cap, someone messed it up somewhere in eBay but I like it this way too. Well, the tomato leaves and tomato flowers make it very, well, sour and citrusy and I could bathe in this... in lower temperatures. In this damn heat, the drydown is unbearably sweet. Another summer fragrance I madly like is Ysatis Iris that changes into jasmine gas chamber these days. Le Jardin sur le Nil gets annoying and Cristalle Eau Verte is too bland. I do love orientals but while packing, I sprayed a bit of Opium - I adore Opium and I have it in around seven variants and many different bottles - into a heap of yarn and the whole apartment instantly reeked of predatory washing powder that may want to bite my feet off. Theorema (in the middle of the first pic, a thin wedge full of golden juice, also on the bottom picture, on the left) changes into orange hard candy plus too much pepper....

I was rummaging in my bag and found a miniature of Asja. A heavy spicy oriental with fruity top notes that should be theoretically totally impossible and killing. Nope. It is spicy dry sweet oriental that stays close to the skin and makes me smell nice. Life is full of surprises.

top photograph, vintages, from left to right: Liberté acidulée by Nina Ricci, KL by Karl Lagerfeld, another oriental that may be passable in summer but it's at home II., Theorema by Fendi, Le De by Givenchy, the vintage version and Une Fleur by Chanel
bottom photograph, kitschy bottles: Theorema again, the black one is Orient Extreme, limited version of Opium and the red one is Secret de Parfum, another limited version of Opium (I said I had many), the black and gold striped bottle is Asja and the odd-shaped red and black thingy is the eponymous fragrance by Hiroko Koshino that would make a wonderful summer drencher but it's at home II. again.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

I can haz more compliments?

I somehow attracted attention of Helg of Perfume Shrine herself and my blog was awarded for being fabulous. Feels good.

The rules are thus:
1. You have to pass it (the award) on to 5 other fabulous blogs in a post.
2. You have to list 5 of your fabulous addictions in the post.
3. You must copy and paste the rules and the instructions below in the post.
Instructions: Include the person that gave you the award and link it back to them. When you post your five winners, make sure you link them as well. And don't forget to let your winners know they won an award from you by emailing them or leaving a comment on their blog.

I'm not sure whether my addictions are fabulous. Neither am I sure whether yours truly is actually fabulous, especially after this long pause in blogging, I caught a nasty cold in this July weather and ended up on antibiotics and still, I'm coughing like an old smoker but, well, Helg says so.
I'm passing the trophy onto five others. Etsians and Ravelers.

Maisy Brown is a fabulous couturiere who recreates the sixties in a way that rocks. Her partner, Buster McGee rocks, too, but he has no blog on his own.

Keith of Mindless Pursuits does fabulous silkscreen prints, as far as I reckon, just now he's working on a t-shirt for the official fan club of the abovementioned Buster who got a role in some TV series, alas, unknown in my part of Europe.

Angela just is. While knitting and eating cake, I suppose.

is a Ravelry friend and there's something enchanting about her which I cannot define. That cat with a green hat? Or is she fabulous because she agreed with trying to teach me some French, which needs particular audacity?

Feral Jane is feral. She collects vintage knitting patterns, too.

Now, my addictions, which may not be so fabulous:

1. I knit. Everything said.
I also collect yarn. Just sayin', in case you haven't seen me knitting yet. I also live on Ravelry, those who are in the know... erm, know.
2. Books. There are things written in them and the things are interesting. Since childhood, I was obsessed with knowledge. I wanted to learn things. Just things, often I didn't mind what sort of things (apparently, sports were not in that category, nor being a nice girl). I was fascinated by the idea that somehow, knowledge floats in the air and all I need to do is to get the ability to filter it out. I haven't managed yet entirely but it's not that bad.
3. Perfumes, how banal.
4. Art. Not the kitschified idea of art that is sold on mugs and aprons but art with background. Momentarily demonstrated by the enthusiasm not typical at all in yours truly, I'm working on my thesis and somehow happily enjoy the rather obscure subject.
5. Siamese cats, coffee and chocolate: there's never enough.

One special addendum for Helg:

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Tuesday suffering V

After having skipped my Japanese class last week, I decided to go. I had the same mixed feelings of wanting to actually learn something and not wanting to spend three hours of my life in a room with nine arseholes. I went from home around one, when they should've already started, knowing that being late is vital for preserving my sanity. Arriving around 1340, I realized that BoI was discussing numerals, probably since the beginning of the class. Not that I'd know what is there to discuss and argue about.

Now, the old classroom saying goes that there are no stupid questions. I highly doubt that, in fact, I'm absolutely sure that there are stupid questions when there is enough stupid in the room. Example: teacher explains. Joe doesn't get it and asks a legit question, in a smart or stupid way. Teacher explains again. Jane and Mary were discussing newest trends in hairdressing and missed both explanations and Mary asks the same question. Teacher explains - and now Jane asks the very same question because when Mary was being explained, Jane needed to tell something to Alice or picked her nose or something. Those are questions caused by ignorance and studip so they are stupid questions. Add a ranty teacher to the mix and half of the class is wasted.

In fact, I don't know what was discussed before the smoking break. I recall railways and property prices in Florence being mentioned but the whole discourse didn't give much sense. I wanted to watch clouds drift, it's a reasonable passtime, but the sky was like a polished copper bowl, shiny and hot, so I had to be happy with staring on the map of Italy which hangs there on the wall for some reason. I'm now pretty well educated on geography, including the smaller islands. I also discovered that there's actually railway on Corsica. Doesn't it rock? Especially in comparison with the sad fact that after 15 hours of classes, I may be able to say in Japanese something like My name is so-and-so and I'm 30, without being sure that it's what the syllabus calls for or whether it's my extrapolation. I've however survived the professor perusing the Mac in the classroom while explaining how to type in Japanese in windows. Oddly enough, nobody brought up the issue of typewriters. The course nerd kept telling everyone that he knows it all, he can show everyone how it works and I openly read my detective story, doing my best not to be calling a slow death by ugly skin disease on the course nerd. Then the professor played some particularly idiotic videos from youtube. Apparently designed for students of Japanese who haven't exceeded 5 years of age, whose IQ count is smaller than their tooth count and/or whose good taste and sense of humor were surgically removed. Well, I have to say that we were told something about personal pronouns (that they exist, basically) and about affirmative and negative verbs, without actually knowing any darn verbs.
So, as always, the contents, like, real contents of the lesson, could be summed up on a post-it.
I'm frustrated. Royally pissed, too. I want to learn that damn language. Well, socializing and booze worked with the Finns.... do I see a solution? Mom is coming Thursday, bringing various pesticides for my illnesses, I could ask her for calvados.

Friday, 15 May 2009

I'm ill

It's probably Nature's way of telling me You damn lazy moron, you want to get your M. A. and your Ph.D. and you're around 1650 pages behind so you'll sit at home and write your ass off.
In fact, I thought that it was allergy. I ate an impossible amount of almonds, I'm allergic to almonds and I concluded that the sore throat is Nature's way of telling me Get some real food. I checked in the morning and the tonsils were, like, reddish. I still thought something of a damn cold in July (1) or damn allergy but after having drunk a jug of tea - it helps with the soreness - I decided that it is too much. I checked my throat again (using that Dior makeup palette mirror, no special gadgets needed) and the lumps on my tonsils were not there in the morning for sure. I diagnosed it a tonsilitis, strep throat or something like that.
Since I'm abroad, I don't really feel like going to the doc. Especially on Friday afternoon, it basically means going to ER. And arguing with someone, possibly, because I have allergies to most commonly used antibiotics and I'm not sure whether anyone would be willing to give me a script for those not usual and obviously expensive. No clue what would the insurance company say about it. So, since mom is coming on Thursday, I mailed Doc who knows that I'm sane and allergic and he'll send the script to mom who will bring me the meds. Meantime, I'll see whether it's serious and needs antibiotics or not.
Funnily enough, I feel totally fine but for the sore throat. And I cough when I talk. I decided that since I'm not dying and since trash needs to be thrown out or it'll start rottingsoon, mail needs to be mailed and there's no decent food at home, I could go to Ikea to get me some medicines. Almond cake, meat balls and booze. Plus bed rest and a few more:

Knitting, chocolate, reading matter and pink friends aka ibuprofene(2). Not that bad, if I think it from another perspective.

(1) I'm a Northerner and this is July to me.
(2) Joanna says that in the U. S., it's reddish brown and that she's using pink friend, too, because reddish brown friend sounds silly. Reddish brown ibuprofene wouldn't match my knitting either.

I can haz influence?

The other day I talked to L. She told me that she read about Farmacia SS. Annunziata and their perfume line and since she needed a lip balm or something, she chose to drop there, got her handful of samples and was enthusiastic about them and thanked me.
Even worse.
The other day, Olga mailed me along the lines of Hey, the woman that bought those The Different Company samples from your Away with them box asked me about something and I referred her to you. Olga thinks I'm an immense expert although I told her that I dabble into nothing and everything. Well, I love me some praise, compliments or sheer flattery but.... Anyway, Mrs. Whatshername mailed me that she would like to get hold of Janine B by Muelhens and whether I don't know, just by chance, where to get it. All I know about Muelhens is that they make the Kolnisches Wasser so I played with Google for ten seconds, found it on eBay, mailed the linkies to Mrs. Whatshername, she had lots of happy and thanked and thanked more. And since Janine B is discontinued, whether I may by chance know about something similar. I checked the notes and said Well, Amazone, theoretically, but would you pretty please send me a sample because similar composition might bring very different results.
Yes, Amazone is discontinued too. I adore it – leathery and salty and fruity. Janine B has the leathery and salty in the top notes but the drydown is more powdery. One way or another, I cannot think of anything similar. Reminds me to get some more Amazone when it's still available around the internetz.

Even worser worse.
I became a sort of perfume guru on 'our' fashion'n'stuff board. I however lack opinions on the mainstream stuff like Cool Water by Davidoff.

The worstest.
Some time ago, I got hold of Kypre. The vicissitudes were already described elsewhere.
Since I'm no damn perfume expert although apparently some think so, I trolled a few perfume blogs and when I read that the creator of Perfume Shrine is a historian, I decided that it be her whom I'll ask. Since then, we had interesting and enriching (for me certainly) mail exchange with Helg, she'll be publishing an article on Kypre someday soon including my slightly embarassing stories and she was so kind as to ask whether she can. Poor Helg, she's not aware of the generally high amount of cray-zee which is often far beyond slightly embarassing, away to something like Oh, nope, this is not by any chance my grandma because I was raised by wolves and adopted to that family. Helg also got interested in my own creation, Eau du Calvados, already gossiped about in certain circles (see above, friends who think me an expert) and my knees went somewhat weak.
I know that I have immense powers of persuasion that lead people to think that my achievements are bigger, thoughts deeper and that my beauty would make more than those forty ships sail out to sea. I don't even try that much but it still works. And now a damn real perfume expert wants my November scent of rotting apples and wet leaves. Well....

Times have been rather crazy lately.

I went to Arezzo to see the Della Robbia exhibition and to take some pics for my upcoming paper. I had some rather extensive plans but they were cut short by the fact that I left my mouse at I Tatti. I have this touchpad thingy on the lappy but I hate it. I've grown up with mice and I am used to them. Tablet is fine, too, although when I used one a few years ago (before it was appropriated by the Real Graphics Guy), I got weird looks for sticking the stylus in my hair, it's bigger than a normal pencil.
But, I'm digressing. I Tatti closes at six, it meant being back from Arezzo at five to manage to get up there, which meant taking the 1622-ish train the latest. I decided to skip the house of Vasari, then, and see only the exhibition, the Sta Maria a Gradi and whatever else the town puts in my way. And Sephora for some cheaper package of Strivectin, the Florentine Sephora sucks (1).
The Arezzo museum houses a wonderful collection of majolica ware and it's worth visiting only for this. The Della Robbia exhibition was nice, I discovered a lunette depicting Saint Birgitta with two flagellant monks, rather an interesting thing since I didn't know about the lunette nor about any connection of the Brigittines with flagellants. I'll check that.
The pieve is interesting. All crooked; it was being built in several phases
and the folks didn't have the same concept of symmetry as we have today. Or, anything. And the pillars are off. Not vertical at all. It was because the pillars and outer walls were usually built at the same time and then joined by the vault or trabeated ceiling as in this case and meantime the terrain might move.

The facade seems not to fit the church – only the central portal is placed symmetrically within the arch but not in the centre of facade. (The rosette window is placed centrally.)
The upper tiers with colonnades don't have any module related to anything. Or as far as I can see - the lower row has 13 arcades, the one above – 25. The visual discord is unsettling - it's small enough to be barely perceptible but it does exist, the superposition that is expected is 'off'. The uppermost storey is trabeated, the gallery contains 32 columns and 31 intercolumnary spaces. Again, the vertical continuity of the intercolumnar fields is broken.

The effect of movement is further enhanced by asymmetrical disposition of the facade opening. The Cistercian-inspired group of nine windows(two double windows flanking a central rosette. In the storeys above, one-bay windows are placed on vertical axes with the lower storey windows, those in the third story being taller.From inside, the pattern is much clearer than from outside where it is partly hidden by the array of columns which is not symmetrical with the window pattern. Or the windows are not symmetrical with columns?

(To be continued.)

(1) I don't look my age. I never said it's genetics. And Strivectin sometimes comes in some trial or travel packages that are cheaper than the standard ones.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Codecs, expiration dates of potential brides et al.

It's generally known that I'm very lame when it comes to computers. Usually I grab someone computer-savvy and keep saying Make lappy work until they say Alright and now get lost. Lather, rinse, repeat as needed.
In here, I don't have anyone to grab and threaten so I have to manage myself - threatening someone on the internetz doesn't have that effect as angry yours truly. Well, last week I managed to download the codecs to make winamp work also on movies. V. sent me a pretty collection of movies - I told her to please skip anything with social issues, get me irony and lakes of blood, preferably well blended. So, I got almost complete filmography of Yasujiro Ozu. Well, fine, but first, I was once an avid movie-goer and I've seen it all, or almost. Most of his movies are about marrying daughters off (Include the shebang with inriguing aunties, worries that dear Jeanie may get too old to be a desirable wife etc.). And, second, I didn't want social issues. I hate social issues, they just are, and way too many to actually enjoy. Moreover, I was reminded of....

.... how a few years ago some schoolmates or someone like that - real close friends wouldn't dare (1) set up a date for me. With some type that studied math. Sure I sensed trouble but hey, why not, after all. Things went fine until I mentioned that I lived on my own in my own place. Then the guy made a dreamy face and started talking that it would rock, he would move to my place, he wouldn't have to pay rent, do the cleaning, cooking, laundry and dishes. It was so wtf that I didn't pour my coffee on his head - it would be a waste of good coffee anyway - and let him go on. I never saw him again. Obviously. Maybe he invented time machine and transported himself back to Middle Ages. Or someone hit him with something hard.

... and of my gracious mother who insist so much that I have time enough to 'settle down' (code phrase for marry and breed), that even if I wanted to have kids at 40, modern medicine can perform miracles on daily basis etc. that I'm absolutely sure that she has worries. When I told her to drop it because I don't intend to settle down, marry or breed, she told me to go to a shrink and get fixed because I'm broken because everyone wants to have bebehs. At least nobody wants me to go and check the son of that guy whose field is next to our field - but that's maybe because my family is aware of how I can yell (3). Now, I don't need understanding and I even don't insist on tolerance - as long as them people please shut up because I don't want their opinions either.

... and how I was returing from Laura's. With my straight-backed dancer's strut. Around San Lorenzo, I passed by two elderly guys who looked at me and one said E quella che distrugge (4). One of the bestest compliments I ever heard - too bad that message reached too late to the brain bit that does the thinking (5) and I didn't pause to ask what they meant. Still, better be scary than scared. And resonates nicely with my noms-de-guerre like Disturbance or Valkyrie (6).

Well, I know why I want movies I cannot relate to - I want to relax, darn. I have some historical fresco from Ukrainian history from O. Maybe there's some nice bloodshed.

(1) I have reputation.
(2) And even less I would want the rest of the package that includes a neat and pretty mortgage, house in the suburbs, regular holidays and other positives and social securities.
(3)... and throw thing, I know, I know, but hitherto I've done it only twice. Admittedly, once it was a cup of coffee but to my defense I need to add that the cup remained unhurt, that coffee is relatively easy to clean from the carpets and I had a REASON.
(4) "That's the one who destructs."
(5) It has a smartass name. I hear perfectly well but I process it slowly, usually the message reaches me when I'm done with asking what did the speaker say - or ten metres away.
(6) I never claimed I am a nice person. Apparently, there are indeed people who rightly imagine me not a nice wifey but someone who drags dead warriors into eternal pub brawl in heaven - and I love such people because I don't have to explain that I'm no damn fucking sweet fragile blonde girl however much they want to think so.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Good timing

I started taking dance classes again. After several months of generalized lazy, sick and absent, I decided that I'd better organize me around dance classes and, well, went there. The folks started preparing a choreography for the end of the year show. Well, when Keith told me, I wasn't really impressed, that's done in dance classes and the one I participated in the last time was no big deal.
Well, after the barre, there we went... and I was informed by folks that it's called Malattia di Stendhal. Yeah, stendhalitis. (1) And, it is incredible fun. Moreover, we have extra classes to make up for the rehearsals - even better, I'm still fat and shapeless.

Speaking of stendhalitis, I recalled my first weeks in Florence. I had my paleography classes at nine in the mornings, I'd hop off the buss at the archeologic museum and go to school along the Ospedale degli Innocenti. On the fourth step, it somehow worked for me. In the crisp autumn morning, seeing the porticoes and the cupola and... well, I didn't have stendhalitis but something I call, most probably wrongly, detachment. I couldn't believe that I'm the hell here. In that Florence featured in art history books as the place. That Florence, ranted about by my professors, without actually giving explanation why anyhting should be so rantworthy. And then I used to see the towering green and white marble mass of the Duomo over the roofs. And the Ospedale. And rotonda, a stub of the church Brunelleschi started building for the convent of Sta. Maria degli Angeli, rotonda serves as language centre and the convent is a part of the arts faculty. Like, my faculty.
The general sickly feeling caused by this left me after a few months, then it started to be cold and rainy and bad weather doesn't support appreciation of culture. Because of frozen feet or something.
Meantime I've become Florentine. I have the right accent and I feel that I'm a part of this place. I've come back to study here, I plan to graduate (2) here (3) and... well, this is my place.
Thus my plans for tomorrow are these.

(1) wikipedia offers hyperkulturemia as a synonym. Damn, LOL. That word rocks, I'm going to use it from now on
(2) mom called today. I was ranting about my work, my thesis, my papers, my work and how it goes and that one of the professors is planning an expedition to L'Aquila to do cataloguing as soon as there's some place to stay and that I'll come back here in, like September. Mom asked thusly: So you really plan to get your M. A. there?
(3) admittedly, being as superficial as I am, the laurel wreath people get here is a major motivation, along with bragging

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Vero Kern

Last week I felt crappy (I suspect it had something to do with my previous Tuesday suffering but I'm not sure) so I finally ordered perfume samples from Vero Kern.
Now, I have to start somewhere else. Long time ago, I read about Djedi in Elle or some other intelligent magazine. It was described as "the driest perfume ever" and whatever it meant, it attracted me. The article referred to the reissue in the late nineties - when I already had something like taste, or at least enough of that taste thing to know that the watery flowery lemony stuff I was being given for birthdays as something, you know, youthful and girly. (The first fragrance I got on my own was Le Male but that's another story.) I didn't know that it was a limited series nor did I know that it was to be had probably only in Paris. I can't really say that Djedi obsessed me - it was just somewhere on my mind. When I started living online and messing into perfumes, I found out more. Like, that Djedi is impossible to find and that it is legendary because... well, because it is. After having read the review at Helg's, and after finding in one of her other articles that it should be that smoky leathery thing, naming other leather fragrances, of which I owned some and I decided that it might be my cup of coffee.
Well, I had a bad week so I ordered those samples from Vero.
Two out of three.
Kiki is Eau de Washing powder for me,even now, after several hours and ashower, I I feel that after diluting ita lot, I may use it as a laundry freshener but I totally cannot wear it.
Rubj is strawberries and I'll give it another look sniff someday soon.

Onda.... well, yes. Onda.
The first few minutes are horrid, there's something awfully plasticky, synthetic and I smell beans. Like, the phaseolus vulgaris plant, not cooked beans - raw, slick smell I totally don't like. Luckily, it disappears after a while and then there's burning incense, that church type of which I thought for many years that it was mold. Smoke. Ash. Only much later the leather became prominent - that salty and yet fruity something.
It's a difficult fragrance and I'll need quite some time to decide whether I can or can't live without it (I guess the the latter); one way or anoyher, it is an enriching experience to smell it.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Tuesday suffering - waiting for Beckett.

My today's practice for hell training for staring-in-the-void contest Japanese class had a strong flavour of absurd drama.

Just before, I wanted to spend a nice morning in the Paleography room in the delightful company of Elias A. Lowe's Codices Latini Antiquiores, working on my thesis. There was no-one in the library so I spent my time sitting in the hallway doing my stuff and then the excellent idea that I'm at the university, which happens to be full of books in open shelves all around and where a library is, I may try and check whether some works of Noam Chomsky are available. I started writing an introduction to the teachers' book for an ESL textbook and I wanted to explain myself. Well, Chomsky was found to be present in the building, in the linguistics study so I went upstairs, found a few books and started digging into them. I'll maybe look up a proper quote but, basically, Chomsky says at one point that language is not actually learnt but acquired. Which is what I've been telling folks ever since, that I don't learn languages, that I just set my mind to 'acuqisitions' mode and should it be needed, I poke the bits carefully to fit in the right cognitive space. No need to actually learn, just leave the doors of perception open.

So, I had food for thought in case I ran out of clouds to watch.

I had a strong urge not to go to the damn course but then, Joey wanted a new funny rant and I was curious how much idiots dropped off since the last time. I arrived half an hour late and I seemed to have missed nothing. The professor was going through some stuff that could've been thrown at us along with instructions like Learn until the next class. I noticed that there were more chairs. I thought of Ionesco... when the thought that there are too many chairs arrived to the right part of the brain. BoI is smaller! I counted nine instead of last week's 12. So, six in the first week, three during the second one, next week, there's gonna be one and half idiot less.
So, it's a language course. Or at least it was advertised as one. I didn't say a word today. Sure, I could've thrown in some sophisticated comment and I could have spent half an hour talking like the Climacteric Maiden who had opinions on everything. But, I can rant with company I enjoy.
I somehow hoped that something may happen. That, maybe, there was a slow start or something. It dragged impossibly - I have reasons to believe that there is a way of squeezing three days into three hours after today. There were even no clouds to watch, just cirrus clouds that didn't drift, only slowly disappeared. Nothing happened although that Monsieur Godot should be here every minute feeling was there. For like five seconds. But, no real course started. Or anything with a sense I could guess. There were a few highlights, though:
Climacteric Maiden is short and very rotund. With a very geometrical haircut - to enhance that she's fat, maybe - and lots of makeup. For some reason, at a certain point, she started playing a mosquito. Like, waving her arms and buzzing. The result was rather more of a blue bottle fly.
During the smoking break, the Old Fart tried to talk me up. I was prepared for anything so I took a defense weapon of might, some Latin text to browse but still, Old Fart came, breathed on my neck asking not-really-sexily Is Finnish a difficult language to learn? on which I replied Nope and minded my letter by cardinal Torquemada. How long are you learning that?, Old Fart tried again. I said some random number. Old Fart noticed my papers and said But, this is not Finnish, this is Latin. Yes, obviously, I replied. Old Fart produced some compliment and waited for a response but I stared in the papers and played concentrated. Damn, what does he think, that he's sexy? Or is it normal that a casual conversation with someone basically unknown starts by breathing on basically unknown's neck?

The whole class was absurd. Absurd like Theatre of the Absurd - something is happening and formally it looks like something banal but it has no sense. The worst part is that it's not a play. And that I'm not a spectator but a partaker. Twice that absurd, then. When the show ended, I shot out so fast that people must've thought me crazy but I just needed to run away and laugh.

Next Tuesday, I might be rather knitting. Not sure I'm tough enough to stand it anymore.

Monday, 4 May 2009


I made two phonecalls today. Library and landlord. I'm happy and proud of myself - social phobia turns you pretty asinine in certain aspects.

I also managed to do something about the mess in my flickr account (no linky, it has different purposes than showing to the blog followers) - I deleted nearly everything. After having cleaned the Ultimate Shelf of Doom, alternatively called floor, my life seems to be heading towards ordinate. Speaking of cleaning, emergency laundry can be doing by spraying Chanel 22 over one's tired clothes, or any other aldehydic fragrance you may fancy.

I got some more grant money. Since I feel that my research matter is somewhat nebulous, it must be my extreme powers of persuasion that made someone assign me, for example, 600 euros in paperclip money. That's damn much office supplies, like, five lifetimes of office supplies regardless of the fact that I can steal as many paperclips as I can eat at work. Maybe I should declare that post-its for Christmas are the new black.

I found out what codecs are and downloaded them - I'm one step closer from getting my dvd-playing thingy working. Not sure that it's one step less from fifteen kilometres trip.

It seems to me that life is absurd.