Oddly content

If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Came up, perhaps unsurprisingly, in the context of Game of Thrones.  Martin’s ability to make characters that do frankly reprehensible things into people you actually start to like is unlike pretty much anything I’ve ever seen (although, you know, suggestions for similar writers to check out is welcome).

It actually got to the point where I was deeply uncomfortable with someone’s pointing out exactly how objectionable the behaviour of one of my favourite characters was.  That’s fairly unusual for me, although probably it has to do with the fact that people who commit murders aren’t usually portrayed as sympathetic characters.  It’s not as if I am in a position to stand back and say “well, usually I have no problem with the criticism of characters I like which do bad things, but something about the way GRRM writes them makes it different.”

(Note that I said “people who commit murders” instead of “murderers”.  On the one hand, this illustrates how much focus gets put on other aspects of the character.  On the other, I picked those words, and they are words that minimize the murders in question.)


I’m putting off being annoyed at something.  I mean, possibly I won’t have reason to be annoyed, but I might, and the possibility is sort of trying to squinch up my spine.  It’s annoying, and between watching The Newsroom and pausing it to discuss Game of Thrones and getting the occasional news squib from the real world (mostly cheerful) I think I am mostly overcoming it.  Which is nice.

Sidetracked by palimpsests.

If that is in fact the plural.

We’re watching In the Name of the Rose, and the text is in German, and the credit is something like “a palimpsest from Umberto Eco’s In the Name of the Rose“.  I don’t assume that it means exactly the same thing as in English, but I can see where a similar meaning could be useful.

A palimpsest, for the record, is a document or part of it–a manuscript page–that has been scraped clean and reused.  Wax that was melted or pressed smooth again, vellum that had the top layer (and the ink) scraped off.  The idea that there’s a specific word for this always sort of intrigued me.  A bit difficult to articulate, but it’s a word for something that once had a characteristic which no longer exists; which is defined by being itself made over again.

There are very few terms for things like that.  “Recycled” or “upcycled” focuses on what it is now; “reused” is close, but it’s about what happened to it, not what it was/is.

I don’t think I’m being particularly persuasive; I’m seriously distracted by the movie.  It’s a deeply lovely film. Not pretty, it is very good at not being pretty, but it has a lovely depth to the faces and architecture and light and framing.

(I was going to write something about how I’d lost touch with people and how I was okay with that, but I can save that for later.  Now I am going to focus properly on the movie.)


Yesterday, the cat had beef and beef-liver stew, in bouillon, with “a medley” of vegetables, parsley, and oregano.  Seriously, looking at the ingredient list on that can, I would have sworn it was human food.

Yesterday I had hot dogs.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I think I had the better deal (if nothing else, dinner was made, which was a really nice feeling right about last night).  I’m just amused by the fact that I think my pets eat more healthily than I do.  It comes from not having thumbs or wallets, I think.

In possibly thematically related news, I have figured out why I hate going to the gym when the gym employees are around.  It’s like clothes shopping.  Except the clerks really are looking at you and thinking about what needs to get fixed about your body, and you knew that going in, and you (quite likely) paid money to go there and… agh.  Body image issues, how unsurprising to see you.

(Going when staff is not around is much easier.  I do not think it is ultimately as productive, though.)

Not much more to say, really.  I’m making a concerted effort to work through my reading list.  (That goodreads widget down there?  That is not a complete list of what I have on the go.)

Pleasant moments.

So, the night before last, I couldn’t sleep, and was going through my Hallowe’en anthology. (It’s a couple of screens back, in that nifty little WordPress gadget on the bottom right of the page.  Because I keep a few books on the go at once.)  I picked an F. Paul Wilson story as likely to suit my mood, and then, because it was a response to Bradbury’s “The October Game” and because I was feeling awake and unfocussed and faintly worried I might miss a reference, I reread “The October Game” before going to “The November Game”.

I’m so very glad I did.

(Incidentally, if you haven’t read “The October Game,” I highly recommend it.  I suspect a Google could turn something up, if you don’t have it in hardcopy. And it’s quite short, which is good, because I am about to get into things that, while they might not be spoilers, certainly run the risk of minimizing the impact. Continue reading “Pleasant moments.”

Lost weekend.

Well, not entirely lost.  But definitely feeling that a lot of it went to things that I’m not sure were worth the time.

I find I’ve been doing that a lot, lately, and I’m not actually sure what to do about it.  It makes me unhappy, but the problem isn’t just “I’m not focussing on anything”, it’s “I don’t want to focus on anything”.  Almost the antithesis of time management; usually I think of that as making sure you have time to do things, and this is wanting to make sure I had things to do during time.

I don’t like this feeling, in case it wasn’t clear.  It’s been on my mind rather since Thursday, when the light of my life and I went by the gym, and their printer/fax wasn’t working, and him being him I proceeded to sit there and talk to one of the trainers while he poked the wireless network and the phone jacks and similar.  And I remember her asking either “what inspires you?” or “what motivates you?” and I didn’t have an answer.  She was asking specifically in the context of working out, mind, but I can’t find an answer at all.

At work, sometimes, I remind myself that I am being a responsible person who is helping to support her household.  That’s about it.  I can’t think of anything else.

I’m going to sleep on this (again; as I said, been on my mind since Thursday), and hopefully I will realize there is a reason to be feeling a little less disquiet than I am.

Getting there, day at a time.

I was saying to myself “tomorrow is Wednesday – nearly halfway through the week” and realized that no, in fact, there are five days left and I am not even a third of the way through.

It’s interesting, how much I divorce the weekend from the week.

It’s been a rather stressful couple of days at work; I’m replacing two people instead of one. Hopefully things will slow down tomorrow, when one of them comes back. Meanwhile, I am trying very hard to leave the stress at the office.