Sunday, January 28, 2007

Du mußt dein Leben ändern.

Archaic Torso of Apollo
by R. M. Rilke
translated by H. Landman

We never knew his fantastic head,
where eyes like apples ripened. Yet
his torso, like a lamp, still glows
with his gaze which, although turned down low,

lingers and shines. Else the prow of his breast
couldn't dazzle you, nor in the slight twist
of his loins could a smile run free
through that center which held fertility.

Else this stone would stand defaced and squat
under the shoulders' diaphanous dive
and not glisten like a predator's coat;

and not from every edge explode
like starlight: for there's not one spot
that doesn't see you. You must change your life.

Archaischer Torso Apollos

Wir kannten nicht sein unerhörtes Haupt,
darin die Augenäpfel reiften. Aber
sein Torso glüht noch wie ein Kandelaber,
in dem sein Schauen, nur zurückgeschraubt,

sich hält und glänzt. Sonst könnte nicht der Bug
der Brust dich blenden, und im leisen Drehen
der Lenden könnte nicht ein Lächeln gehen
zu jener Mitte, die die Zeugung trug.

Sonst stünde dieser Stein enstellt und kurz
unter der Shultern durchsichtigem Sturz
und flimmerte nicht so wie Raubtierfelle;

und brächte nicht aus allen seinen Rändern
aus wie ein Stern: denn da ist keine Stelle,
die dich nicht sieht. Du mußt dein Leben ändern.

Ursula K. Leguin, speaking of this poem, observed:
True myth may serve for thousands of years as an inexhaustible source of intellectual speculation, religious joy, ethical inquiry and artistic renewal. The real myth is not destroyed by reason. The fake one is. You look at it and it vanishes. You look at the Blond Hero - really look - and he turns into a gerbil. But you look at Apollo, and he looks back at you.

The poet Rilke looked at a statue of Apollo about fifty years ago, and Apollo spoke to him. 'You must change your life,' he said.

When the genuine myth rises into consciousness, that is always its message. You must change your life.
(from "Myth and Archetype in Science Fiction", 1976; reprinted in The Language of the Night, 1989)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

L'Anglais, tu t'en vas.

The debate continues.

Being an anglophone, I'm supposed to take offense at this sort of thing. I'm supposed to find the language laws (signs are to be in French. If other languages are to be included on signage, the French must be prominent.) fascistic and racist. I suppose they are to a point. But I also get a twisted feeling of excitement being an American who struggles with the fact that I live in a city where the majority of people don't or won't speak my native language. I somewhat enjoy seeing us anglophones struggle with the language barrier, getting embarrassed and pissed off when we don't get our way.

I think I feel this way because in the U.S. I always lived in areas with large immigrant populations, mainly Hispanic and Haitian, where there was little or no effort made to accomodate the fact that they did not speak English. Where, because they did not speak English, the only jobs to be had were dishwashing jobs. Where, because one does not speak English, it is assumed that one is of below-average intelligence.

So, while the language situation in Montreal is the same as in those cities in which I have lived, only the other way around, I see it as a bit of poetic justice. I'm happy to see anglophones squirm a bit.

I have a feeling, though, that as my speaking of French gets better, and I become more at ease when people ask for directions, when the coffee bean shop guy doesn't speak English, or when my teacher unloads a five minute speech on me in French concerning la mode or politics and expects me to respond likewise, I have a feeling that I will be bored with Montreal and will be sick of their stupid language laws.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Pee-Wee loves me

Check out what I got from Pee-Wee Herman. (I don't check that email account very often or I would have seen it earlier!)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Changing tastes

Here is a list of foods I like now but I didn't like or hadn't tried before I started living with Matt. Is it all his fault? Who is to say?

  • butter

  • beer

  • wine

  • party pizza

  • mushrooms

  • olives — green and black

  • capers

  • asparagus

  • pizza crust dipped in ranch dressing

  • goat cheese

  • onion rings

  • pickled eggs

  • eggplant

  • Indian food

  • seven layer burritos

Friday, January 12, 2007


(He's S.W.E.D.I.S.H.)

Are you from the 50s or something?

Tonight I discovered that IKEA has stopped carrying the bedframe I planned to buy next month. Bastards. We found a nice looking dining table and chairs and cabinet/server thing on Craigslist (go Craigslist!) that we are going to go see tomorrow. I really like the (currently out of stock) table from IKEA that we picked out. It's very solid. But maybe this table and chairs will fit the bill even better. And hopefully the dude who is selling me two bookcases will get his helldamn act together and actually bring them by this weekend.

Mustafa just cleaned out Danger Kitty's ear with his tongue. Gross. Yet intriguing.

TJ is now on Myspace. Woop! He says his favorite TV show is That 70s Show. I'll pretend I didn't read that.

Matt has turned me into a wino.

Today I remembered that we have the first eight episodes of season three of Battlestar Galactica downloaded from iTunes, and that kind of got my inner geek excited. But I pushed her back down. She's not allowed to come out.

Matt is in love with this one song by TV On The Radio that is straight out of the 80s and makes me want to listen to the Pointer Sisters. Jump for my love!

I am crocheting red, white, and blue leg warmers. Hell yes!

I think I'm going to be entering into the world of tight deadlines this upcoming week. Wish me luck.

Sick days

I finally got around to picking up a copy of Husserl's Cartesian Meditations the other day and, since I've been home sick with a fever for the past few days and didn't have a whole lot of studying to do for classes, I decided to give the text a good poring over. The copy I checked out was published in 1982, translated by Dorion Cairns. It is a very tattered and marked-up copy. Which has made reading it so much fun. There are nine "date due" sheets stuck one on top of the other in the back of the book, each with an average of twenty-five checkout stampings. It seems like every one of those people who have checked this book out have "made the book their own," as Mortimer J. Adler would put it. Nearly every line is underlined. Stars in the margins. Question marks. Exclamation marks. Comments galore. There is a heated debate going on top of and beside Husserl's two lectures. "Ontological claim," states a pencil. "Epistemological claim! Not ontological!" says a drying up ball-point. One pen stakes its claim every other page or so with the simple statement, "Please," which is a favorite of mine. I feel good about myself when I have a decent grasp of a section of the text next to which it is written, "What does this mean?!" I read through the book once and am in the process of going back over it much more closely, but I feel extremely nervous about joining in on the debate in the margins.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Done, done and done!

This morning, I finished the baby blanket for Lauren's baby. I could have finished it last night, but as the midnight hour approached, my level of sobriety decreased, and I thought it wiser to finish up in the morning. I guess it works out better this way since I finished the blanket in 2007, and the baby will be born in 2007 too! All in all, this took about four months to finish with a few Christmas presents taking up some of that time too. I started it in the car on the way to a canoe trip on the Niagua River in Missouri this June and finished it this morning on the couch here in Montreal. I also worked on it on a few different Greyhound buses on trips to Vermont and Boston. I'd say it's a well traveled blanket. I'll be sad to see it go, but we had a good time together, and now I know that I can easily make another with fewer mistakes in it. (Don't tell Lauren about that last part.)