Friday, 16 April 2010

7 Quick Takes (XXXVII)

1. The weather the day of my flight wasn't as bad as the day before, but I was still worried. The snow was plentiful, as wet and sloppy as an unwanted kiss. When we got to the airport, the power was off. Air Canada of course cancelled all of their flights, but WestJet did everything manually, digging old boarding passes out of the back, filling everything by hand. My luggage was opened and searched, too. Fortunately, the power came back on before I got to the security gate. And I was thrilled to land in much warmer weather.

2. I spent Saturday night, Sunday, and most of Monday in London, visiting with friends at the University of Western Ontario. These are friends from high school, so most of my regular readership will never have heard of or met them. It was a good trip, and I was happy to see them again before leaving on my two-year "hiatus" from eastern Canada. One of those who I saw--coincidentally, as I only saw her because she also lived in my friend's apartment building--I hadn't seen since high school. I forgot how astoundingly nice she is.

We had dinner at Jack Astor's with a lot of old high school friends, and afterwards played glow-in-the-dark mini-golf.

I did meet up with someone from Queen's, specifically my small group, who later drove me to the train station.

For most of my time at London, in the back of my mind haunted the thought that I could be coming back to these people for a year, had I only accepted at Western. I knew this would happen, but it was harder than I had expected. It didn't help that Western has a very pretty campus.

3. On Monday night, I VIA'd it to Oakville, where I met up with my brother. He and his group were working on their third-year film, so I spent a lot of time in the studio, nosing around or doing menial labour for them. When I was nosing, I took photographs of them; when I was working, I was scanning their pictures into the computer and running automated programs to clean up the images and save them properly. It was fun-ish, if tiring and stiffening.

4. While at Oakville, I may also have spent copious hours playing video games. Or, which those who know me may find more probable, I played less than used the game editors to make my own maps and missions. This is where my perfectionism kicks in. I haven't played a game more complex than Minesweeper in months, so I'm not surprised that I binged a bit.

5. My brother's girlfriend, also in his group, lent me Castle Waiting while I scanned (I had been reading Paradise Lost, but at that precise moment I wasn't in the mood for Miltonic verse). I highly recommend Castle Waiting, especially but not exclusively to those interested in fairy tales, graphic novels, carnivals, or storytelling. It's the first in a series, though. While I suppose it could be read as stand-alone, it would have a bizarre sort of structure if it was a one-off thing. What at first appears to be the main plot is soon eclipsed by one character's marathon storytelling, in which she not only tells her tale, but also others', including a hagiography. It's generically quite interesting, but also just really fun.

6. After helping my brother for a few days and kicking around his place while he worked, I caught a train to Windsor to visit another friend (t)here. It is in Windsor that I write this. You may recall that I've visited Windsor before. Anyway, I am biding my time while he is at kennel duty and class. Windsor, too, is nice in the weather department, joining all of Ontario, it seems. Last night we watched Zombieland, which at least was funny.

7. You may have noticed that I am reading Paradise Lost. I forsook The Odyssey for the time being in favour of intending to finally finish Milton's epic. I think I am at last ready to do so: my grasp of the language is now much stronger, having completed Middle English and more obscure Renaissance texts, and I have no deadlines to make me fret. Did you know that Blake borrowed "human face divine" from PL? I hadn't until I came across it in the speaker's lamentation of his own blindness: "Thus with the year/ Seasons return, but not to me returns/ Day, or the sweet approach of ev'n or morn,/ Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,/ Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;/ But cloud instead, and ever-during dark/ Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men/ Cut off... (Book III, 40-47). Blake had read PL, or at least he references it in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, and he attributed to it a more Satanic allegiance than Milton would have liked. Then again, these days it seems any anti-Christian type, even of a moderate cast, will attribute to Milton such an affiliation.

In time you can expect further discussions of both Castle Waiting and Paradise Lost.

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