Archive for March, 2010

Always a best buddy…

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

…never an object of desire or affection.

I’m pretty sure I need to go see Repo Men, because watching romances while cleaning today has hammered home a little too acutely my singularity. I need to cleanse my palette with some sci fi and synthetic organs.

More Train Dreams

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

It is very grey outside

and dozens of white ticket stubs stand erect from the tops of seats like prairie flora,

all leaning left as though the wind were blowing.

The violin and windchimes through my earphones invoking a sense of feudal anime.

The intensity of the music grows, a severe whisper,

and I anticipate the man speeding silently through the white bent grasses in hakama, bearing a sword.

But really, it’s New Jersey.

I peer across the tops of the white grasses;

my eyes bear left thirty degrees and I spot the electrical wires and eight-unit cinderblock apartment complexes.

Breathy flute reminds me that I would rather be dreaming of the field, heavy with silence.

The stirring winds call me to dance.

Who am I? The grass? The silent man?

Or am I across the field, waiting for him to put down the sword and rush home?

History Conference & Medievalism Extravaganza

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

Friday was jam-packed but fun. I had to teach at Brooklyn all morning and then run back to midtown to give a paper at the history department conference. It’s much different giving a paper to historians rather than medievalists. First of all, historians don’t necessarily know where Languedoc is or that the troubadours were active from the late 11th C through the 13th C. Which is perfectly fine, because I know squat about the Citizen Genet Affair. Anyway, I receive positive feedback regarding my paper; many found it interesting because I don’t think most people know that medieval history is generally interesting and can be fun. I stuck around the conference for the session after mine and enjoyed a paper about American atomic age sci fi films, with a focus on gender issues. It reminded me of the movie “Matinee”. It also made me think that a comparison with Japanese atomic sci fi is in order. (Maybe it’s been done; I didn’t look.) I got into a short discussion regarding race in zombie films. Sometimes academia is awesome.

After the reception, the medievalists gathered to listen to Christopher Lee’s new rock opera about Charlemagne. It failed to impress but had one or good tracks. We preferred the Beowulf rock opera instead (there have been a few; I don’t recall the one we listen to).

Much to our chagrin, Season of the Witch was pulled from being released, and that was the primary reason for our party. So instead, a few of went to see Kells. I didn’t mind seeing it again, and it was fun to see it with other medievalists. It was also awesome to spend some time out with only ladies my own age. That *never* happens here.

Saturday, I subbed for a friend (who will be subbing for me later in the semester), followed by an extensive, much-needed nap. I wasn’t productive yesterday, but I did go to poker night at the home of some friends. I brought my grading, but you can imagine how much I accomplished 🙂

Taking Steps

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

…towards what?

Step 1) some Tums. My foray into St. Pat’s celebration has left me with some heartburn.

Step 2) be ok with nothing. Practice patience.

Step 3) focus. Thinking about what I am doing at that moment. Grade when grading. Read when reading. Write when writing. Stop thinking about boys.

Step 4) take time off. This applies if I actually accomplish Step #3. Get stuff done, then enjoy some free time.

Step 5) date. Working on this. Since signing up for an online service in December, I can count the number of fellas I’ve been out with on one hand. But seriously, that’s still a record for me.

Tune of the Day

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Denis Leary: Traditional Irish Song

I remember playing this song with Nate and Phil in the old days.
Happy St. Pat’s!

Kells: Revisited

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Ok, with the holiday tomorrow, I’ve been creating a Celtic music playlist. I also have been listening to the Kells soundtrack nearly nonstop, and so I just had a thought about watching the film. I feel that, next time I see it, it would be nice to have it projected on the ceiling, and then I could lie on the ground with my heads behind my head as if lying in an open field gazing up at the sky. That would be a pretty awesome way to watch a movie.

Anyway, back to work. I teach tomorrow, so I won’t make any of the big concerts in town, like Chieftains or Black 47. But at least I can get corned beef and cabbage at our local pub.

Tune of the Day

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Adriano Celetano – Prisencolinensinainciusol

This is way too catchy. Can’t get enough of it.

Medieval Conference

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Medieval Studies had our annual conference today. I helped plan it, though I was largely absentee this past week.

Since I had to teach at Brooklyn College this morning, I only made it for the second half. I gave a paper on troubadour debate poems (tensos), and it is pretty good.

I do wish I was out partying with the crew, but I need to submit a paper for a conference that is next Friday, but my draft was due quite some time ago. It is necessary that I submit something first thing tomorrow, and so I am in the library on a Friday night. It’s my own fault, but I still resent this paper.

The Secret of Kells

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

I saw Kells. I am still is a daze, a dream that was shared in an intimate cinema, listening to the sighs of the people with me.

It didn’t even spoil the dream that I knew the mysterious ink-producing berries were actually oak gall– which develop when a wasp lays its eggs in leaf buds– or that it’s called illumination because the gold leaf laid over bole reflects the candlelight, causing it to glow and appear three-dimensional. It made me want to play Celtic music again, to pull out the bodhrán, whistle, or psaltry. To Take my Celtic art books off of the shelf. To run to the medieval library at school where I know my prof left his Book of Kells.

I observed the spirit of the forest and reminisced about the volumes of fairy lore I used to devour when no one would come into the sandwich shop on the corner of Boylston and Tremont. I looked at the design and saw the Greek keys, recalling how the Irish were the greatest early theologians of Greek in western Europe. I saw the mound with the tower in the center and remembered grading all those quizzes discussing ringforts and motte-and-baileys. I listened to the stories of Iona and recollected the distinctive Irish monasticism, the penitentials, and how monks such as Columba and Columbanus came to the continent and inspired monastic reform. I watched the dark angular Vikings attack, and looked ahead to their future when they would settle in England and one of their own, Cnut, would be king.

And somehow, all of this knowledge did not break the film’s spell, but in fact, history was made more enchanting.

I am near another place, and it is sweet and warm and calming yet invigorating. I can feel it on the other side of my eyes, the warmth, and my eyes moisten from the desire to see it more clearly. And I strain to hear wind but am interupted by the chime and voice saying: “stand clear of the closing doors.” And so I unfocus my eyes in an attempt to unsee what  is around me. I speak my own words over and over in order to unhear the surrounding crowd. The chime. I push it from my ears. But in my struggle, the song is slipping, the song that draws me into the dream. Sharply pulled back by abrupt Spanish behind me. The warmth in my eyes and ears keeps me one step from the real. The point of heat on the back of my head is the dream into which I am trying to retreat. But I am facing forward, and the train lurches. And I notice…two more stops…and I feel my cheeks losing warmth and my vision losing its glow. The world is growing dark and sharp, and the amber edges fade into tile and cement, and one more stop. I just noticed that I haven;t been listenng to my iPod the entire time. The gal next to me has the most yellow skin I have ever seen. It’s glows unnaturally under her dark blonde hair, or is it the light? And my stop.

It’s times like this that I want to share the rapture, of a film, of a song, of a train ride that may never have existed.

Tune of the Day

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

Monty Python Meets Star Trek