wildfillysama: Another favourite poem!

Another poetry post, this time on the winning side of a doctorate!

 

To celebrate passing my Ph.D. and hopefully entering the world of paid employment (hahaha…ha) here is one of the major poems that I looked at in my thesis!

 

I spent the last four years studying the ancient Greek poet Sappho, including translations of her poetry (which are often hilariously inaccurate, bad, and otherwise covered in grubby fingerprints belonging to centuries of weird and wonderful translators.) The following poem is excellent for several reasons:

1. It’s one of the first recorded poems to have used first person point of view.

2. It’s one of the major sources of inspiration for the entire Romantic movement across Europe (yes, it’s that good).

3. It’s full of sneaky subtly feminist references, despite being composed and transmitted during times when such things were absolutely not ok.

4. Sappho is magnificently manipulative, self-absorbed, and completely in control of her oeuvre, as well as every single figure in the poem, despite all signs to the contrary.

5. There had been nothing else quite like this written beforehand. Sappho presents a love-triangle between herself, the bride and the bridegroom in a wedding poem, bemoaning her loss of a beloved girl and also examining in detail her own experiences as a result, rather than just writing a normal epithalamion (wedding poem) to celebrate the couple and to pay respects to the gods and the groom.

 

Without further ado, here it is – Sappho’s Fragment 31, as it was translated by my favourite translator, Anne Carson!

 

Fragment 31

Translated by Anne Carson

 

He seems to me equal to the gods that man

whoever he is who opposite you
sits and listens close
to your sweet speaking

and lovely laughing – oh it
puts the heart in my chest on wings
for when I look at you, even a moment, no speaking
is left in me

no: tongue breaks and thin
fire is racing under skin
and in eyes no sight and drumming
fills ears

and cold sweat holds me and shaking
grips me all, greener than grass
I am and dead – or almost
I seem to me.

But all is to be dared, because even a person of poverty…

 

This poem may not seem to revolutionary in comparison to a lot of modern poetry, but this kind of immediate personal, sensual style was completely unique to Sappho at the time. No one in recorded history had previously written of passion, let alone a woman’s passion, in quite so frank terms. Not only is Sappho the first recorded female poet, but she is also one of the earliest and best masters of the lyric poem, writing in her own specific formulation (Sapphic stanzas) and inspiring hundreds of poets after her for centuries to come.

 

All in all, awesome stuff. I would recommend getting hold of a copy of Anne Carson’s If Not, Winter which contains great English translations of Sappho’s poetry alongside the ancient Greek text.

EbolaBooze’s Fortnightly Astro Corner: The Tarantula Nebula

So, I’ve missed a couple of these recently! Clouds and rain are not conducive to astrophotography.

Getting this completed is a bit of a personal goal reached for me, as I’ve been trying to get a good picture of the Tarantula Nebula (also known as 30 Doradus, or NGC 2070), for the better part of my astrophotography career.

 

The Tarantula Nebula is a massive star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, one of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies. It contains some of the heaviest stars known to astronomers, and was the site of the closest supernova to Earth (SN1987A). It’s also bright enough that if it were as close to us as the Orion Nebula, it would cast shadows at night.

Image04_ABE_ABE

This picture is a narrowband bi-colour composition of 4 hours of hydrogen-alpha data plus 2 hours of oxygen-III exposures. It’s a pretty difficult target for my at this time of year, as it’s pretty low on the horizon already when I can start imaging, and the shopping centre to my south doesn’t help with the light pollution levels. Still, good processing can work miracles. Ideally I’d get another hour worth of hydrogen-alpha data, and another three of oxygen-III, but beggars can’t be choosers.

 

Clear skies!

Sick Mildly Irritated Alpha Nerds

Three of the Alpha Nerds are sick unto death, two of them are drunk unto death, and the other is away unto death. Amen. In memorium.

We have decided to roll D20 for fetishes most of the night. The results varied in their tragedy. marsy had the best results, and by best I mean worst. It still hurts a little. More than a little. Here they are:

marsy: Fedora tipping, bad porno music, dominance play, Tales of Symphonia battle music, and anything. Imagine all that put together. I feel sick and violated. By the internet.

EbolaBooze: Fluffy tails, panties on heads, and something else that was really weird and we all laughed but don’t remember what it was. 10 minutes later lorekai remembered that it was robot Vin Diesel. Much laughter was had by all.

lorekai: Lab coats, tail coats, spontaneous gender switching, and outdoor sex. I’ve got nothing to say here. A very dapper lab accident, I guess.

anit the flea: Allow me to set the scene here – Christmas in Utah, consensual sex in the missionary position under the public Christmas tree. Windfyre wears the buttcape. No more needs to be said.

fetish

lorekai: Upcoming Anime

With the newest season of anime fast approaching, and looking very promising, I thought I’d use this chance to talk about the series I’m considering watching and why. For anyone interested in seeing what is coming up you can find a comprehensive list here.

Akame ga Kill:

I was considering picking up the manga before I heard this was getting an anime, as there was a recent outbreak of very positive word of mouth surrounding it, but upon hearing that an anime was in development I thought I’d hold off. I don’t know a great deal about the series so far, from what little I’ve seen though the art looks good, the premise seems interesting, and while it does look like something that could easily become generic, I’ll definitely be giving it a chance.

Aldnoah.Zero:

I don’t generally like mecha anime, and my decision to give this one a chance is based purely on the fact the Gen Urobuchi is the creator, and I like almost everything of his that I’ve come across. Though if you were to take away the mechs and give it a different creator, the premise does seem like one I would be drawn to regardless.

Ao Haru Ride:

This one is part of my maybe list, I used to follow the manga a while back and I enjoyed it then, even if it was very typical shoujo. Depending on how the first episode is received I may give it a chance, but it’s just not what I look for in anime anymore.

Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Crystal:

I don’t think I know anyone who likes anime and isn’t going to be watching this, it makes me happy just thinking about it. I’ve loved Sailor Moon for almost as long as I can remember, since before I even knew properly what it was, back when everything I knew of it was it’s name and the pretty pictures on the capsule machines by the checkouts at the supermarket when we used to live in Hong Kong. So, to put it mildly, I am very excited that it’s getting a new anime and I absolutely cannot wait for it to start.

Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei!:

I like magical girls, I like the Fate series, and I liked the first season of the anime. While I don’t like the direction the manga has gone in, particularly with the overly blatant fanservice, I hoping that this season can adapt it in a way that does the storyline a bit more justice.

Free! Eternal Summer:

Not much to say except, that I absolutely adored the first season and cannot wait for this one to start, and I think that my fellow Angry Alpha Nerds feel the same way.

Glasslip:

This is another one for the maybe list, I’m not quite sure what interests me about it, everything I’ve read about it so far suggests that it’s a fairly standard slice of life type anime. It’ll probably be another one that I wait and see what people say about it, or maybe I’ll just marathon it at the end of the season.

Love Stage!!:

The manga for this is really bad, laughably bad, the sort that makes you cringe while reading it, and I’m a fan of shounen ai. I’m going to have to give it a chance, even if I am likely to give up after the first episode, if only because there are so few shounen ai series that have a plot that’s more than needless drama and dubious consent.

Persona 4 The Golden Animation:

I’ll be honest I’m a little confused as to why Persona 4 is getting another anime, don’t get me wrong, it’s an excellent game from an excellent series, but it’s previous anime wasn’t that long ago and I don’t really think that The Golden re-release added enough to merit the need for another anime. I’m still going to watch it and I’ll undoubtedly enjoy it, it’s just a bit confusing.

Sword Art Online II:

I really enjoyed the first season, so I’m very happy they’re adapting more. Fortunately I’ve somehow managed to avoid any spoilers for what is coming up, though it does limit what I have to say about it.

 

A lot of promising looking anime starting next season, even if I only watch half of them, it’ll still be more than I usually pick up in a season. Aside from all these new ones, now that the Chimera Ant arc is done I’ll also be picking up Hunter X Hunter again, since it’s reached an arc I’ve been anticipating for a fair amount of time now. Furthermore, I know it’s not anime, but new Legend of Korra episodes will be starting, technically tomorrow, though us here in Australia won’t get them until Saturday. So many things to watch! Thanks for reading.

marsy: Supanova, Sickness, and Skydiving

I am one of those people who always gets really excited about conventions, so Supanova was great fun for me. Bought some cute Animal Crossing things (that I then worked out were stamps! How freaking cool is that?) and a Deerling plush. I heard that the convention area went over capacity (~35000 people), so that’s something. Made it hard to move around, but I didn’t get to move around much anyway because I was working. Homura-chan guy was there again, but seemed content to just hang around creepily and not come up to me. I also saw one of John Barrowman’s panels – he seems like a cool guy. Didn’t get to take photos with him or anything though, because the timing was bad with my shifts unfortunately. Sold many books. Got con flu. Things I have taken away from this experience:

1. Setup and pack up are still boring. Also hard work. Lifting things is for losers. I guess I am a loser.

2. Creepers gonna creep.

3. Jamming ~35000 people in one giant room means that germs will spread wildly. I get sick after every Supanova, so I don’t know why I was surprised that it happened again this year.

4. I don’t know much about League of Legends, but I do know that I was seriously sick of hearing heaps of people shouting about it all weekend.

So, to sum it up – had fun, got lots of streetpasses, ended up sick.

 

Now for the other thing I did this week – skydiving! I was supposed to be going along as moral support for my friend, but I decided I may as well go myself. So much fun! Seriously recommended to everyone! I do have a great love of things like roller coasters and other thrill rides, so that may be why I loved it so much. Really not that great with heights though. It was an amazing experience, and something I would definitely do again. Also something I recommend everyone tries at least once. Have a picture!

Skydive 0109

Now you all know what the top of my head looks like. How nice for you.

wildfillysama: One of my favourite poems

Hello! It’s been a very long day today (first day at a month of seminars – began with a group photo and ended with a ten-course banquet, so I’m officially stuffed) so here is a short post featuring one of my favourite poems.

 

This isn’t a terribly original favourite poem. Lots of people love this poem for a variety of reasons. I first read it in Year 12 at school, because it mentioned a line from the main book I was studying for my final exams: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. This poem encouraged me to look up other American poets, so led me to many more entertaining things.

 

Things I still love about this poem: There are hundreds of thousands of words dedicated to analysing this poem alone. When it comes to close readings, this poem has been given the royal treatment, so there is no end of great reference material. If you want to get into poetry analysis, this is one of the easiest places to start. Aside from that, this poem is extremely easy to read aloud or to analyse quietly for hours. It blends religion, myth, folksong, moralising and amoral themes, natural and man-made imagery, intertextual references and has a blisteringly pessimistic tone. (Great for my less-than-impressed Year 12 sensibilities).

 

So here it is!

T.S. Eliot

“The Hollow Men”

Mistah Kurtz-he dead

            A penny for the Old Guy

I

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us-if at all-not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

II

Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer-

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom

III

This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.

IV

The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death’s twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.

V

Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

 

 

No content, only thesis writing.

It’s been cloudy and rainy and horrible the last month or so, and the forecast has been pages upon pages of thesis writing as well. That and writing handover notes before I move to a different lab, because apparently I’ve accidentally made myself essential for some aspects of running my current one.

Ah, I finally get to be real people and work gainful employment 40 hours a week! …Yeah, not really much difference in work hours. At least the pay is better than a scholarship.

 

In other news the winter anime season is shaping up to be pretty good! Planning on picking up at least 6 shows, maybe 7. I’ll probably be posting first impressions and/or expectations for them in my posts to come.

All in all, my entertainment will be sorted, at the very least.

 

Stay angry my friends.