Friday, October 31, 2008

politics

Generally, I decline to discuss politics with my friends. This is because I want to stay friends with them. Since I joined Facebook, however, I've been getting some insight into where some of them fall on the political spectrum, and it's been interesting. Especially as election day approaches, a lot of them have expressed their political views by posting videos, giving virtual campaign paraphernalia to other friends, updating their status with political messages, etc.

I have one friend who is "amazed" at Sarah Palin's intelligence and strength, while another wonders, "How can anyone take Sarah Palin seriously?" Two of my friends (who are not acquainted with each other) have joined a group called "Excuse me, but has anyone else noticed that Sarah Palin is insane?" I have at least one friend who has joined a group in favor of California's Proposition 8, and at least one friend who has joined a group opposing it. Some have sent each other virtual campaign buttons for McCain, others for Obama. A few have said they are afraid of what will happen if one candidate or the other gets elected president. One posted a video attacking Palin's feminist credentials; another posted a video questioning Obama's legal eligibility for the office of President of the United States. One writes that she voted for Obama, while another says simply, "I voted." My AP US History teacher from high school weighs in, giving a prediction on how the electoral college numbers will work out.

I'm glad my friends are passionate about politics, and I'd like to think that they'd be able to discuss the issues with their opponents in a reasonable way. But when it comes down to it, I'm not willing to put that assumption to the test. I'm not sure if that says more about me, or them.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

sidetracked

I am, in fact, working steadily at my thesis; I just don't feel like I'm making any progress. I've written and re-written the introduction five or six times, producing a total of probably fifteen pages of material, of which I've been able to keep five pages. It's a nice, tight, well-written five pages, but still - five pages. At this rate I should be finished just in time to attend Link's high school graduation.

And then last time I talked to Blackwood, I mentioned that some of the things Edgeworth has to say about sensationism reminded me of Wordsworth, and then Blackwood brought up Joanna Baillie, because she also says things that sound like Wordsworth, except Baillie says them earlier than Wordsworth ... and the next thing I knew, I was agreeing to read Baillie's fifty-page manifesto on drama and passions and morals. So I've spent the past couple of days reading up on current criticism of Joanna Baillie, and I'm now writing this post as a means of avoiding her actual essay. Baillie is interesting enough, I suppose, but I have a feeling that she will end up being, at most, one part of one paragraph in my thesis, and likely no more than a footnote. At this point in my career, three days worth of research feels like a lot for footnote.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

who knew?

Apparently the Shortpacked! character Faz majored in English. No, it doesn't say that on his character page. So how can I tell? Glad you asked.
Come on, who else talks like that?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

insomnia

I've had some insomnia lately. I always do when I'm pregnant. Antihistamines usually take care of it, and Dramamine has the added advantage of helping with the nausea. All of which is a roundabout way of explaining why I love Shakespeare. (Really.) I had occasion to look up the phrase "heavy is the head that wears the crown," and came upon this passage from Henry IV Part II:

How many thousand of my poorest subjects
Are at this hour asleep! O sleep, O gentle sleep,
Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down
And steep my senses in forgetfulness?
Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs,
Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee
And hush'd with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber,
Than in the perfumed chambers of the great,
Under the canopies of costly state,
And lull'd with sound of sweetest melody?
O thou dull god, why liest thou with the vile
In loathsome beds, and leavest the kingly couch
A watch-case or a common 'larum-bell?
Wilt thou upon the high and giddy mast
Seal up the ship-boy's eyes, and rock his brains
In cradle of the rude imperious surge
And in the visitation of the winds,
Who take the ruffian billows by the top,
Curling their monstrous heads and hanging them
With deafening clamour in the slippery clouds,
That, with the hurly, death itself awakes?
Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude,
And in the calmest and most stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a king? Then happy low, lie down!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

I love the imagery, especially the personification of sleep. When you're lying awake at 3:00 in the morning, it really does start to feel like sleep is a thing that you've somehow offended or frightened away. You try all kinds of tricks to lure it back, but nothing works. And of course, in my case, the part of the ship-boy is played by Glen, who takes about 0.68 seconds to fall asleep every night, and can easily sleep through the deafening clamour of a thunderstorm that would wake death itself.