Friday, 21 May 2010

7 Quick Takes (XLIII)

1. Birthday stuff did occur, primarily involving eating at a local diner, visiting a museum in town (the one I don't work for), and eating vanilla cake. That is my favourite kind of cake, incidentally; one with a really nice vanilla cake part and plain-old vanilla icing. No fruit, no frills, and certainly no chocolate.
And I got a few presents, but, oddly, most of them are inaccessible at the moment; one is a gift card, one is a DVD set that is ordered but not yet released, and one is a computer game that depends upon my buying that new computer I keep meaning to get. Well. I did get the final season of Battlestar Galactica, which was superb.

2. I should also mention that my mother and I walked in the hills behind Abasand Heights. I've never explored that part of the Fort McMurray woodscape (I made up this word, by the way, which means that it is, alas, not yet real), and was happy to do so, as it's absolutely beautiful. First, it means that I got to see how Abasand, as a neighbourhood, is put together, which I've never really looked at before. Second, it means that I got to kick around the Horse River which, again, I've never done before.
Abasand Heights sits on top of a ridge, the eastern length of it defined by the Clearwater River floodplain in which Fort McMurray's Downtown (or Lower Townsite, or Old Town, whichever you prefer to call it) rests, and the western length of it defined by the Horse River's valley. Abasand approaches but does not quite reach the edge of this ridge, so that there's bush on the top, on the sides, and at the bottom; that's an OK amount of exploring with an open afternoon, a water bottle, and a camera. And bear bells, because Mom insists that the bears won't settle for hugs and perhaps a belly rub. I beg to differ, but I do what I'm told.

3. Work, with the influx of new summer students, has become all of a sudden busier. This is not true just of being rush-rush-rush, though what with my now being part of training staff I do have more responsibilities than before. No, the physical space is also busier, with more bodies moving around and more stuff in the staff room and more people to account for (ie. in seating around the lunch table, in ensuring I don't lock anyone in any of the buildings). It's exciting and exhausting.

4. I am reading The English Opium-Eater, a biography of De Quincey by a professor I formerly had, and The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco, a murder mystery involving monks in mediaeval Italy. Opium-Eater is not in my opinion a 'work book,' as I don't want patrons seeing staff reading about drug culture. Not that it's about drug culture as much as about the life of a poet (One River or lullabies for little criminals are more about drug culture that Opium-Eater, but you'd never know by the titles.) So I read Eco's mystery at work. I've read that The Name of the Rose is actually a parody of a murder mystery and one of the earliest self-consciously postmodern novels, and in this light I'm finding it far easier to read. I'd attempted it before but couldn't crack the first few chapters. Now that I have a better framework for it, I'm making good time, really enjoying it, and getting into the historical, metaphysical, literary analytical, theological, and sociological discussions in it. The Name of the Rose has been adapted into a film starring Sean Connery. I have not seen the movie, but I have no trouble at all picturing Connery as the lead.

5. It seems my takes are hardly quick this week. Apologies; what I've been reading lately must be ornate and complex, as my sentences reflect. To too much of an extent do I chameleon other writers' language. I must control that impulse, or at the very least direct it.

6. A death in the family has my folks out, attending the funeral. So I have been on the buses and have been having the house to myself. I have taken advantage of this by watching Battlestar and Corner Gas and by writing letters. Such secrets I hide.

7. These past few days have been gloomy and rainy. I have usually said that those in British Columbia should not complain about their rainy winters; those winters are nothing compared to the Fort McMurray cold. However, I realize that I might prefer the cold to miserable wet cold sloppy rain, which is said to be the standard weather in British Columbia. Well, for the sake of not being a hypocrit, I must not complain, but I may also ease up on my judgements now, too.

And that was my week. Please visit Jen, the host of this fine meme.


Brad Phillis said...

The Name of the Rose is one of my favorite books. I finished writing a novel about a medieval monk a few months ago, and throughout the writing process found myself slipping into the crime of parroting Eco's work.

The film is not as good as the book is simply because the medium makes it impossible to get into the subtleties of the historical background of the narrative. Connery is, as you might expect, excellent, and so is F. Murray Abraham.

Christian H said...

Ah, metaphrasis, such a limited process. I can see how it would be impossible to include the Adso's metaphysical musing in a film, which would in turn remove a lot of the philosophical thrust underlying the plot... not that I've finished the book yet, mind you.

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