März 14, 2012

R.I.P. EB

Posted in Erleben, Lernen, Lesen um 9:19 pm von deadra

I was always that kid.

The one that had just one more question after everybody else was ready to move on.
The one who wanted to know all about how and why and where and anyway, does it bounce when you drop it? (still, I find, one of the most important pieces of information to have about anything ^^)

It didn’t matter what the topic was, if I didn’t know it, then I had to find out right away, and adults who couldn’t answer my questions were an annoying obstacle in my quest. (They were adults…knowing stuff was what they were there for, after all.)

But everything changed once I had figured out how to read. Because that was when something momentuous happened – my parents took their encyclopedia (12 volumes, blue, with golden font – just beautiful) and moved it to a shelf that was low enough for me to reach.

That was probably the single most empowering thing anyone has ever done for me. To actually put everything there was to know right there, at my fingertips, whenever I wanted it.
There was so much of it, there wasn’t the slightest chance I’d ever get bored. But at the same time there wasn’t so much I’d be intimidated – I could hold the whole lot in my arms, after all. (Well…for a couple of seconds. Almost.)

Now, intellectually, I know that I have even more knowledge at my fingertips right now, and with my smartphone I can not only hold it in my hand, but even carry it with me.
But at the same time, the internet is vast and endless and what gatekeepers there are are highly specialised or unreliable.  Gaining knowledge there requires a kind of advanced rational literacy that I wouldn’t even have dreamed of when I was five.
The encyclopedia was dependable, reliable, and safe in the sense that I didn’t necessarily need an adult to read it with me to make sure I couldn’t stray into the weird world of porn. (Anyone who claims that using the internet effectively isn’t a skill that has to be learned is a liar who forgot their first embarassing misadventures on purpose.)

I owe that encyclopedia a lot, and I still miss it, sometimes, both for what it is and what it embodies.

And that’s why I think it’s so very sad that the Encyclopaedia Britannica is stopping the presses. Because the internet won’t fit on any bottom shelf, and the internet won’t ever belong to a little girl all to herself. And because I recently looked into my great-grandparents‘ encyclopedia, which is a little over 100 years old. What’s in there is just as informative as what isn’t. (Seriously… Mind. Blown.)

Losing that is a sad thing indeed.

Januar 25, 2011

The One Where I Rant About The Oscar Nominations*

Posted in Lesen, Sehen um 6:39 pm von deadra

(*despite knowing fuck-all about this stuff, or even having seen most of the nominated films)

Enjoy ^_^

First off – here’s the complete list of nominations. Go on, I’ll wait ^^

And here’s what I have to say, in short:

 

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Januar 16, 2011

Lost in the Clone Wars*

Posted in Lesen um 11:43 pm von deadra

*or „More Random Shit Found on the Internet When I Should Have Been Sleeping“

Best mix-up ever?

Amanda, an ardent Jane Austen fan, lives in present day London with her boyfriend Michael, until she finds she’s swapped places with Austen’s fictional creation Elizabeth Bennett. Dwindling numbers of Jedi fight to maintain freedom and restore peace to the galaxy, using their army of genetically engineered clones against the seemingly never-ending droid army. The terrible conflict grows wider as our heroes are swept into the turmoil of war, while the evil Count Dooku, his assassin Asajj Ventress, their master Darth Sidious, the mechanical General Grievous and a rogue’s gallery of never-before-seen villains scheme to defeat them.

(I’m leaving this one unsourced because I found it as uploader comment on a torrent-site, so…um…yeah…that would probably be incitement to…um…something…*mumble*)

November 18, 2010

Book Meme :)

Posted in Lesen um 11:22 pm von deadra

(hat tip to liberrydwarf, next to whom I’ll look really bad ^^)

So…the ones I’ve read in their entirety are bold, the ones I haven’t finished or have read only parts of are in italics. Unavoidable commentary will be (in parentheses).

Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

September 2, 2010

another list

Posted in Lesen, Sehen um 12:32 pm von deadra

I found Roger Ebert’s list of „100 Great Moments in the Movies“ today. I read it, then I read the comments…and it’s now clear what I’m going to be thinking about for the rest of the day. There may even be a list of my very own in this blog’s future. Maybe. Possibly. We’ll see.

Juni 28, 2010

Books that everyone has read…except me

Posted in Erleben, Lesen um 9:53 pm von deadra

from kalafudra.

So…I’m supposed to look at books that everyone but me seems to have read. Easy. Ending the list before it becomes epic? Not so easy, so I’ll just impose a completely arbitrary limit of ten. Just promise you’ll still respect me in the morning (when, incidentially, I’ll be old, and frail, and so on and so forth).

1. „To Kill a Mockingbird“ – Harper Lee (I haven’t seen the movie either. Shame on me.)

2. Truman Capote (No, really. Not a thing.)

3. Asimov/Lem/Heinlein/… (Everytime I try to get into hard sci-fi, something happens that turns me off. Sometimes it’s time, or random other stuff, and sometimes it’s something like the writing of „The Difference Engine“ by Gibson and Sterling, which annoys the hell out of me.)

4. „The Glass Bead Game“ – Hermann Hesse (I devoured „Siddharta“ when I was about 15 and figured that this would be the logical next step. It wasn’t. It wasn’t to such an extent that I haven’t touched Hesse since. But I should, because his writing is sublime.)

5. „The Brothers Karamazov“ – Fyodor Dostoyevsky (I wish I’d read it just so I could finally answer L.’s eternal question of „Which one’s your favourite brother?“…but I’m pretty sure it’s not my kind of book. I’m not much one for the Russians.)

6. „Madame Bovary“ – Gustave Flaubert (Yeah, I know…she’s practically the literary patron saint of escapism, and I haven’t read it…that can’t be right. It’s just that I’m not much one for the French, either ^^)

7. „Mother Courage and Her Children“ – Berthold Brecht (I won’t tell if you won’t.)

8. „The Tin Drum“ – Günther Grass (see 7)

9. „The Prince“ – Niccolo Macchiavelli (I tried. Honestly, I tried. But it was the only book I’ve ever come across that could reliably put me to sleep in a page or less.)

10. „The Man Without Qualities“ – Robert Musil (Oh come on…it’s MASSIVE, and the cover tells me the guy has no qualities whatsoever, so he can’t possibly be interesting, and nothing interesting can possibly happen to him, because otherwise he’d automatically be forced to exhibit qualities of some kind. How can it possibly still be this MASSIVE?!?)

Februar 1, 2010

„Genre Films“

Posted in Lesen, Sehen um 1:19 pm von deadra

This post showed up in my feed today, and it got me thinking about the term „genre films“.

The author seems to be referring to horror films and thrillers in particular, but I’ve also seen the term used to refer to sci-fi, fantasy, action films, buddy movies, rom-coms, musicals and (encompassing the last two) chick-flicks (and many, many more).

It seems to me that there are many, many genres, but being associated with a certain genre automatically means a loss in prestige and credibility. „Genre films“ get associated with terms like „specific target audience“, or worse, the ever dreaded „formulaic“.
And then there are films that never seem to get labelled as genre films, because they are oh so good and oh so relevant and oh so successful at award ceremonies. But, the thing is, they *are* genre films, and they are at least as formulaic as any other film. And the fact that their target audience is best summed up as „critics“ doesn’t make said audience any less specific.

Therefore, I hereby propose some new genres. First and formost, the Terrible Twosome, „Oscar-Baiting Political Sermon“ and its sibling „Oscar-Baiting Social Sermon“. Both of these genres make you feel like a good person, because you watched them, and you understood them, and you cared, just like everybody else should care. Both of them rarely go beyond the exact degree of depth required to win a GoldenGlobe. Then there’s the perennial favourite „Underdog Makes Good“. We get it – their lives suck, they overcome their circumstances or their own issues and ultimately find success or at least redemption. (And the actor who plays the part finds themselves nominated for an Academy Award.) No formula there at all.
And, last but not least, we have „Problems Of An Able-Bodied Heterosexual White Middle-Class Person“ (yes, I’m looking at you, „Up In The Air“).

Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t excellent films in any of those genres, because there are. Just as there are excellent films in any other genre (I think…if you like the genre, at least). My point is that these *are* genres (even if I’ve named them just a tad cynically), and they have conventions, just like any other genre. Denying that and claiming universal appeal and general high-brow artsiness doesn’t change that fact.

Thus endeth my rant (for now).

Januar 27, 2010

Posted in Lesen um 11:23 pm von deadra

The most beautiful people I have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.

Dr Elisabeth Kübler-Ross


Januar 7, 2010

phew

Posted in Lesen um 10:29 pm von deadra

Wenn man in meinem Kopf wohnt, dann ist der logische nächste Schritt nach meinem Buch von gestern ein Auffrischungskurs in altgriechischer Mythologie.

Halbwegs vernünftige Menschen greifen in solchen Situationen zu Schwab. Oder notfalls zu Hunger.

Ich bin halt kein halbwegs vernünftiger Mensch…ich greife zu Apollodor (bzw Apollodorus – kommt drauf an wen man fragt ^^).
Es ist schlimm…wie diese Teile in der Bibel (Seth zeugte Enos, Enos zeugte Kenan, Kenan zeugte Mahalaleel, Mahalaleel zeugte Jared, und BLA BLA BLA BLA viele viele Generationen BLA BLA BLA Eleasar zeugte Matthan, Matthan zeugte Jakob, Jakob zeugte Joseph, den Mann Marias, von welcher geboren ist Jesus, der da heisst Christus.*)
Mein Kopf schwirrt…alles dreht sich. Und wenn sich in der 3. Generation der Schöpfungsgeschichte (also bei den Enkelkindern von Himmel und Erde) schon die Namen wiederholen, dann ist das extra-böse. Thalia die Grazie und Thalia die Muse. Als wär‘ das notwendig gewesen, damals am Olymp…
Hermes: (gestresst) Opfergabe für Thalia! Thalia? Ich hab‘ hier eine Opfergabe für Thalia!!!
Thalia: (die Grazie) Oooooooh, was ist es denn? Wein? Obst? Eine Ziege?
Hermes: (schroff) Nicht für dich, für die *andere* Thalia.
Thalia: Woher willst du das so genau wissen? Du hast nur gesagt „für Thalia“.
Hermes: (verdreht die Augen) Es ist eine Grußkarte dabei…mit einem Musenanruf. Du weisst schon…“Singe den Zorn, oh Muse, …etc blabla“. So, wo ist jetzt die *andere* Thalia? Ich hab’s eilig! (geht rasch ab, ruft) Opfergabe für Thalia!!
Thalia: (geknickt, mit Tränen in den Augen) Oh.

Möglicherweise sollte ich ins Bett. Ja. Bett. Schöne Idee. Und morgen dann vielleicht Schwab.

* Nein, ich kann den Schmarrn nicht auswendig. Ich illustriere nur mein Argument :P

Because it’s Thor’s Day, and thunder and lightning kind of go together, and … oh screw it

Posted in Erleben, Lesen um 11:19 am von deadra

Soooo…I saw this trailer:

And my first thought was along the lines of „SeanBeanisZeusOMGthisisgoingtobeabsolutelyawesome!!!!1!!!“.
My second thought was „Another book franchise in the hands of Chris Columbus…ah well.“
My third thought was „Hang on a minute…book franchise?“

So what did I do last night? (and I literally mean last night…from ten to about two in the morning, because that’s the smart course of action to take when you have three Franch tutees at your mercy the next day)
You guessed it – I read Book One of the franchise: „Percy Jackson and the Olympians – The Lightning Thief“.

The writing is…not exactly brilliant, to put it mildly. First off, I dislike first person narratives intensely. They always and up in that nebular half-world between inner monologue and description…that’s not a pretty place for a story to be in unless it’s written by someone extremely capable, which Rick Riordan isn’t. On the one hand, you’d think that any writer choosing to write from the POV of a 12 year-old boy would make an effort to make his words sound like those of a 12 year-old boy. (They don’t…I’d say 14…there’s just a mature kind of sarcastic smartassery about him that I don’t buy from a boy who hasn’t even hit puberty.) But on the other hand this oversight (why not just make him 14? it wouldn’t make any difference to the narrative) gives us some of the more brilliant quips in the book. They were what kept me reading even when the plot had tied itself up in knots and fast-forwarded for no reason at all when things got interesting. (Shit – I’ve only got 56 pages left and they haven’t even reached L.A. yet!!! – that sort of fast-forwarding. It’s weird.)

But really, in between the classic AU tropes, the summer camp coming of age stuff, the somewhat predictable questing and the bits of exposition that made absolutely no sense whatsoever („You’re dyslexic because your brain is hardwired to Ancient Greek“ ?!?), this book was absolutely hilarious.
The chapters have titles like „Three Old Ladies Knit The Socks Of Death“, Dionysos („Mr D“) has been punished by his father Zeus to serve as training camp director for the demigods and drink only Diet Coke (I love that guy), Cerberus is adorable, and the elevator musik to Mount Olympus is a muzak version of „Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head“.

Some highlights?

„You do know how to play pinochle?“ Mr. D eyed me suspiciously.
„I’m afraid not,“ I said.“I’m afraid not, sir,“ he said.
„Sir,“ I repeated. I was liking the camp director less and less.
„Well,“ he told me, „it is, along with gladiator fighting and Pac-Man, one of the greatest games ever invented by humans. I would expect all civilized young men to know the rules.“

„But a quest to …“ Grover swallowed. „I mean, couldn’t the master bolt be in some place like Maine? Maine’s very nice this time of year.“

The Chihuahua bared his teeth at me, foam dripping from his black lips.
„Well, son,“ the fat lady sighed. „If you insist.“Ice started forming in my stomach. „Urn, did you just call that Chihuahua your son?“
„Chimera,
dear,“ the fat lady corrected. „Not a Chihuahua. It’s an easy mistake to make.“

„Have you any idea how much my kingdom has swollen in this past century alone, how many subdivisions I’ve had to open?“
I opened my mouth to respond, but Hades was on a roll now.
„More security ghouls,“ he moaned. „Traffic problems at the judgment pavilion. Double overtime for the staff. I used to be a rich god, Percy Jackson. I control all the pre­cious metals under the earth. But my expenses!“
„Charon wants a pay raise,“ I blurted, just remembering the fact. As soon as I said it, I wished I could sew up my mouth.
„Don’t get me started on Charon!“ Hades yelled. „He’s been impossible ever since he discovered Italian suits! Problems everywhere, and I’ve got to handle all of them personally. The commute time alone from the palace to the gates is enough to drive me insane!“

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