ricardienne: (Default)
Subject: For those staying on campus over Thanksgiving
Headers: Show All Headers

NOVEMBER 26, 2009

The Salvation Army in [redacted] will be serving a FREE Thanksgiving dinner
on November 26 from 11am to 1pm.

[redacted] College in conjunction with the Dean of Students office will be providing a shuttle
on November 26 leaving from [redacted] Bus Stop at 10:30am going to the Salvation Army in

Am I missing something, or is this in quite bad taste for a freaking private liberal arts college?
ricardienne: (Default)
So, I started actually filling in on-line apps today. Berkeley wants a "Personal History Statement:"

Please describe how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree. Please include information on how you have overcome barriers to access higher education, evidence of how you have come to understand the barriers faced by others, evidence of your academic service to advance equitable access to higher education for women, racial minorities, and individuals from other groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education, evidence of your research focusing on underserved populations or related issues of inequality, or evidence of your leadership among such groups.

In a few words of one syllable: it doesn't, I haven't, I don't, I haven't, and it doesn't. Thank you, Berkeley, for making me feel even worse about the utility of what I study, and even more guilty about my apathy when it comes to practical matters.

On the other hand, I got proselytized this morning. I was baking muffins when the mysterious car pulled into the driveway, but since it's parents' weekend, I assumed someone was about to get picked up. And it was a little weird when the people who got out were an elderly man and a younger man (maybe a little older than I am), but since I'm sort of stupid, I didn't realize that they weren't parents until I noticed the Bible and the sheaf of tracts. And when the older man said "I see you're cooking breakfast" in a weird and fake-jovial voice, and then told me that he thought I would be interested in an article about Successful Families. I said that this was student housing, and we weren't interested, and he said, "oh, but it's for all kinds of people," and I told him that "really, we aren't interested" and sort of shoved them out of the doorway. And that was the end. Not very exciting, and yet, sort of exciting.

Also, someone just put a giant cardboard cut-out of Galbatorix in our kitchen (disclosure: it said "Eragon" at the bottom, which is how I knew it was an Eragon character, but I then identified Galbatorix on my own. Yes: I've read the first one.) and it keeps scaring me whenever I go out to make tea.

Thirdly, I downloaded a 1920's dissertation the other day for the Latin Paper that I Won't Actually Be Writing, Now, and it's all in Latin and is ADORABLE! There is one bit where he pulls out a Greek tag, and says "ut potius lingua Graeca quam nostra utar" (if I may use the Greek language, rather than ours). It's so cute. I want to be able to say that Latin is "my" language.

But the best part is the last page, which is a little CV that I shall quote in full:

Natus sum Paulus Joannes Guilelmus Kempe a.d. III non.Nov. anno 1897 in Pomeraniae oppido, cui nomen est Koeclin, patre Ernesto, matre Augusta e gente Mueller, quibus vivis salvisque vehementer gaudeo. Fidei addictus sum evangelicae.

Primis litterarum elementis imbutus ab anno 1908 patrio in oppido gymnasium regium adii, ubi maturitatis testimonium adeptus sum. Vere anni 1916 libens arma cepi ad patriam defendendam. Graviiter vulneratus paulo ante finem belli stipendiis relictis ab autumno anni 1918 Berolinensem frequentavi universitatem ibique studiis inprimis philologicae incubui. Inde mense Ianuario anni 1920 Gryphiam me contuli iisdem litteris operam daturus.

I was born Paul John William Kempe on the fifth of November, 1897, in the Pomerianian town of Koeclin, my father being Ernest and my mother Augusta of the Mueller family, in whom I rejoice greatly that they are alive and well. I am devoted to the evangelical faith.

Given the first elements of letters, I went to the Royal Gymnasium in my home town from the year 1908, where I achieved a diploma. In the spring of 1916 I freely took up arms to defend my homeland. Severely wounded a little before the end of the war, I attended Berlin University from the autumn of 1918 with the pension left to me, and here I dwelt on philological studies above all. From there, in January 1920 I took myself to Gryphia to study those same letters.

It may be because I am thinking a lot about "personal statements" these days, and because I just read A.S. Byatt's The Children's Book, which ends with a lot of bright young things encountering WWI, but there is something v. touching about it. The emphasis on his parents, the note that he enlisted, and wasn't conscripted into the army -- these are probably standard phrases that aren't being used out of any particular feeling but because they are conventional. But nevertheless, there's a whole story there about a young soldier in the war who came home and wrote his dissertation on metric clausula in Petronius.
ricardienne: (Default)
a headline from today's NYT business section:Huntsman Is Expected to Settle A Buyout Dispute With Apollo

In other news, I really don't, as might be obvious, want to work on my paper. I read some really cool articles about Tacitus in 17th c. England, and that's what I want to think about right now, not Herodotus and religion and oracles.
ricardienne: (Default)
Goldberg Variations for accordion.

ETA: also, I just wrote an awesome introduction to my monster paper of doom that I cut up and rearrange today, and it still didn't help. Unfortunately, the paper still doesn't quite hang together.

But now a dilemma: should I quote the whole passage (probably not more than 1 1/2 Oxford pages of Latin) before I launch into the giant detailed analysis of every damn word?
ricardienne: (Default)
47. Found a Borders gift card in my room while packing. Used it to buy all three Megan Whalen Turner books instead of Ronald Mellor book that advisor keeps pushing on me.
ricardienne: (Default)
Last night I though I was mostly better, but this morning, my throat hurts and my head hurts and I think I have a fever. So instead of practicing, I am ostensibly working on the Bach paper, but I am actually having more fun with Google Books. Specifically, with this 19th century examination booklet.The weird/hilarious thing is that, as it turns out, 1066 And All That wasn't making up the form, at least, of this kind of question.

1. What do you know of the Treaty of Verdun, 843? (Matriculation: History)
12. Write an essay on "Haste breeds delay." (Honors Matriculation: English)
6. Did the Restoration of Charles the Second mean the restoration of the system of Charles the First and " Thorough " ? If not, what did it mean ? (Honors Matriculation: History)
14. When and under what circumstances did Sparta acquire the headship among the Grecian states? How do you account for her failure to keep it? (Honors Matriculation: History)
9. Dr. Johnson says: " Whoever wishes to attain an English style . . . . must give his days and nights to the volumes of Addison." Can you fill up the blank ? Do you agree with Dr. Johnson ? (General Examination: English)
4. Explain the feudal incident of Marriage. In the Kingdom of Jerusalem a remarkable law on this subject prevailed. What was it? Where and what was the Kingdom of Jerusalem ? (Final honors examination: History)
3. Is it true that in Chaucer's day there was much greater variety in social conditions than now, and consequently more colour in life ? (Final honors examination: English literature)
1. Give the substance of either Polonius' advice to his son, or Hamlet's advice to the players. Do you consider the advice valuable ? (Final honors examinatin: English literature part II)
There was also a funny one the substance of which was "do you like Richard II or Bolingbroke more? Explain," but I can't seem to find it.


Oct. 29th, 2007 05:26 pm
ricardienne: (Default)
F(urther) from the annals of of People Are Stupid When It Comes to Stuff Outside Their Major:

"I mean, Dante more or less saved Virgil by putting him into [i]Divine Comedy[/i]."

I know the girl in question is a) An Italian major and b) hadn't been assigned the reading about the manuscript tradition we were discussing, but… And that was only the most obvious and egregious piece of wrong in all the medieval-hate that went on.

I can see that classicists are understandably cranky about how (relatively) little has survived, and the condition in which it (often) has survived. And yes, there were book-burnings in late Antiquity/early Middle Ages, and yes, they were religiously motivated. And I am completely in agreement that it was awful, and how could they have been so blind to what they were destroying. In fact, when I'm depressed, I lie awake at night and get really upset about how much and what has been lost.

But in light of that, to accuse the monastic traditions that DID preserve and recopy things of being ignorant zealots who only by some miracle happened to transmit important texts instead of burning them is REALLY REALLY STUPID. Also not terribly accurate.

oh dear

Oct. 12th, 2006 09:41 pm
ricardienne: (Default)
I just can't make my essay work at all. This is really bad.

I've given up. I'm going to go find exercises on the subjunctive for tutoring tomorrow.
ricardienne: (augustine)
I went to the SOS office today to get boxes, and what did I find but a brand new copy of How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. Although I am suspicious for several reasons. One being that the author is a Catholic himself, although I suppose it makes sense, as you wouldn't tend to have a Jew, for example, or a Lutheran writing about how the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. The other is that David Brooks featured this book, I think, in a column a while ago. He liked it a lot. This is not a good sign. And really, I do refer back to my title line. The Catholic Church largely took over Roman bureaucracy, and Roman Law was as influential as Canon law for the medieval jurists. Rome, which was such an important place/idea/symbol for the Church wasn't built by the Catholics. And I do think that Virgil and Ovid had more to do with Western literature than the New Testament. I may be wrong. Perhaps two semesters of Latin have corrupted me.

But I was thinking about this while rereading Saga of the Volsungs for the comparative lit final tomorrow (Ahh!) for which I should be studying. The other day I was talking to S. and pulling stuff off the top of my head to argue for a real parallel between the beginning and the end of the Aeneid. We can talk about a conscious, authorial manipulation of language to express a connection not explicit in the story itself when we talk about the Aeneid; we can ask whether Virgil is subverting his own theme of glorious imperial Rome. You can't do that with the Saga of the Volsungs. You can kind of do with Roland, although it tends towards "the poet is unable to fully articulate or realize the problems that he gives voice to in his text." I'm not sure what this has to do with the Catholic Church, but it does give light, so to speak, on why they call it the dark ages.

I am terrified by the thought of my lit final tomorrow, but I really really really don't want to study. I need to reread Rabelais, at least -- I was sick and then depressed when we covered it, and so, though I read the text and attended class, I don't feel like I got any kind of handle on it. And that's sort of the culmination of the whole course with the Renaissance and humanism and language for the sake of language. Ah! I am going to fail! I am going to be utterly unable to contextualize passages and then write an essay in 1 hour 20 minutes. I want it to be tomorrow night.


May. 9th, 2006 05:28 pm
ricardienne: (snail)
What I have accomplished today:

1. Registration.
I am in for English Lit I, Counterpoint, Latin, and Historical Sociology of Punishment, plus orchestra, lessons, and chamber music, of course. J. said she would try to put me in a good string quartet next semester. Also, my advisor was not there, so I didn't have to explain what I'm not in contemporary ensemble again… yay! Now I just have to avoid her for the next 1.5 weeks so she can't make me sign up. I need to e-mail Professor E. about coming by tomorrow or Thursday to add History of Politics as a audit, and then I've made myself a self-proclaimed honorary member of the Chaucer class. Because I would totally take it if I didn't have another class at exactly the same time. So I'm going to get the syllabus and do the reading anyway. I AM!

A. is also taking Sociology. This will be good: someone else I know and don't hate. She's also taking Greek. I'd really like to take Greek. Maybe I'll take it junior year, when I was also planning to take Italian immersion and medieval history at the 300 level and be Moderating into Medieval Studies… or something… damn it! Too many things to learn and too little time! Or, I could talke to A. this semester and find out how utterly awesome Greek is, then study really ridiculously hard over intersession and go into 2nd semester in the spring…

2. Baking. I made chocolate chip scones and walnut scones for the FYSEM party tomorrow. I am going to bring 6 of each: the remainder were donated to the people in my dorm: namely, my roommate and her friends. Aren't I sooo saintly?

3. Homework. I have now written about half of a truly awful piece for theory. But it does modulate and even used a Neapolitan. Maybe I'll modulate again, and then stick in some augmented 6th chords, and then find a way to end it. It's not nearly as good as my piece for last semester. But the voice leading probably wouldn't make Schubert shudder and roll over in his grave.

This is the sum total of today. There's an orchestra concert tonight, and tomorrow I'm meeting with my lit professor to discuss my paper. This means I need to come up with something to discuss.

totally incoherent thoughts about Chrstine de Pizan's City of Ladies )
ricardienne: (chord)
So, D. told me that I need to completely relearn my left-hand technique. That isn't quite correct: I need to change the way I put my fingers down, which sort of amounts to the same thing. This is what she told me last fall, I think, and it didn't happen then. It needs to happen now. I have been practicing very slowly and thinking about each note, which is better, anyway.

I wonder if anyone has ever started teaching cello by teaching thumb position first. According to D. most people have to make this correction at some point. But it's only in the lower positions. In thumb position, I have fine hand angle. Is this just because I learned it later, and so learned it better? I don't think so. You have to tilt your hand that way in thumb position. You can't play otherwise. And so if you taught beginners thumb position first, when they moved down into "normal" playing range, they would already have the right shape hand. Maybe I will try this method when I have students.

I have been reading Measure for Measure again for my essay. The which isn't turning out too much longer than normal, which is a good thing. Part of me wants to see if I can easily stretch it to 10 pages, just to see if I *can* (and because 10 pages is standard for a Moderation paper, I think) but another part of me suspects that it is already too long and contains too much textual support, and is worried that I am trying to bite off more than I can chew, so to speak.

I like this play so much. I found myself really noticing Claudio this time around, although I am not, sadly, including much of him in my essay. He's quite a schizophrenic character, in a way. In that first scene, he first more or less agrees that it's right for him to be arrested, and then whines about it. (Although, this is really quite understandable, under the circumstances.) Whoever last checked out this copy (and by the handwriting, I think it was a girl) wrote very inane notes/paraphrases in the margins. This is what you buy your own copy for! And, if you're going to write in the margins of a library book, they should be witty/interesting notes, not things like "disguise?" at "I will, as 'twere a brother of your order,/ Visit both prince and people" and "do people change?" at "I do beseech you, let it be his fault,/ And not my brother." She seems to have stopped after Act II.

This is such a pointless entry. I should go to bed now.


Apr. 16th, 2006 08:19 pm
ricardienne: (augustine)
I think Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis is one of my favorite pieces of all time. I spent this weekend listening to it mostly continuously. I wish we could play it, but I know that this orchestra wouldn't be up to it, and we don't even have enough players.

Actually, I think I like Tallis's music on its own as much as or more than just about any Renaissance composer. He's at least as good as Gesualdo, for choral sorts of things. And the setting of that psalm is just… there are no words. It's in my sight-singing book, and when I don't want to practice, I get it out and play through the parts on the piano.

It's strange: music is the medium that conveys the most spirituality, to me. (Well, architecture, too, in a sense: Cathedrals always make me shiver in a good way.) As I'm not religious, I don't really know whether what I'm feeling approximates at all what it must feel like to really believe, but it's in religious music that I think I can understand the power of the texts and the beliefs. I can read the Bible; I can read Augustine; but that's really just words on a page. I can disassociate the meaning from the religious content. I can say: this is what some people believe(d), but it remains completely separate. Likewise religious paintings. They can be beautiful, and moving, but I can only comprehend the spiritual content in a third person sort of way. Not so, music.

Last fall, the choir sang Haydn's Missa in tempore belli. I hadn't listened to a full mass* in a very long time, and certainly not when I was in a position to follow along with the text. Then, I think I had a glimpse (or whatever the aural equivalent of a glimpse is) of what the words really might import to someone who did believe, and how they might effect that power. It was rather incredible. I really saw (heard?) the mystery and, well, mysticism that, when one comes down to it, is at the heart of Christianity, or at least, the historical kind of Christianity I tend to think about. There is certainly an intellectual tradition, but it's the non-rational part that is the most powerful, as I have come to see it. And perhaps music is abstract enough that it can demonstrate that even to an unbeliever.
*I've been to Catholic weddings and funerals several times, and once to an ordinary Sunday mass, but they were quite short in comparison to an (old-fashioned?) orchestra one.

Obviously, it is Easter that is provoking all of this. Actually, Easter is just sort of an excuse, as there is all of this faith sort of spilling over from everyone. I think about this quite a bit.

I keep running into people from my lit class, and it's sort of embarassing. I've had discussions about whether or not we can ignore the Monday noon deadline for papers under the office door in light of Tuesday's class being cancelled due to the professor giving a lecture at Cambridge University. The thing is: it doesn't matter for me, because I've got my paper pretty much done, have a copy printed and, barring some disaster (knock on wood) I will get it in tomorrow morning well before noon. I haven't told anyone this; I just say that my paper is "coming along." This makes me feel rather dishonest, but I don't want to seem so weird and show-offy by saying, "well, I basically finished my paper Friday, and all I'm really worrying about right now is whether or not I can get away with a slightly smart-alec Shakespeare reference in my conclusion." Why am I embarrassed by this? That's the way I work; I have to start early, and it isn't necessarily better. As several people have pointed out to me, I torture myself over papers from the moment they're assigned until the moment I hand them in, and even then, I tend to get depressed over them. But it does sound like I'm trying to set myself up as better than anyone else when I'm worrying about a paper that I've already banged out most of and someone else hasn't looked at the topics, yet. I shouldn't be ashamed of it: there's nothing wrong with taking a long time. It is more impressive to think that one can write a great essay the night before it's due, and I do admire the people who can do that, but that isn't how I work.

This is all very reminiscent of St Augustine, actually. I remember that infamous passage from his Confessions where he talks about how he lied about sinning so he would seem to fit in better with his utterly depraved classmates at Carthage. It's the same ultimately self-promoting complaint I'm making about myself: "Oh, how terrible, I'm lying to seem worse than I am!" Because, of course -- although this lack of modesty is unbecoming, it is the truth -- I do think it is a good quality I have, that I start early and have time to rewrite and revise.
ricardienne: (augustine)
…is not a good thing at all.

Although, I have not been completely idle tonight: really, I haven't. I translated the first stanza of Augustine's Psalma Contra Partem Donati, which, although it's an early example of an abecedary poem and one of the first pieces of Latin (or Romance, for that matter) rhythmic verse does not exist in English translation. I did my best, and [livejournal.com profile] voglia_di_notte helped me by simultaneously translating from an Italian version. Sadly, I do not think that the rest of my Latin class will appreciate it at all when (if) I include it in my presentation next week, as schisms in early Christianity are, shall we say, Not of General Interest, nor is bad (by Classical standards) poetry written about them, as I would guess.

And meanwhile, my Dante paper is, very sadly, not writing itself.

I had one of those days where I just didn't want to talk at all. However, I shouldn't be allowed to have this kind of day on a Thursday, because Thursday is language table day, where I need to talk. I feel like such an idiot, just sitting there. Oh well. C'est la vie.

Literature was… difficult, too. Possibly this was because I didn't have much to say, and thus felt quite useless. It was sort of fun to discuss Petrarch's Cicero-addiction though. It's nice to know that obsessive fangirling (fanboying, in his case, I suppose) of historical figures is not new. At least I'm not writing Richard III or Augustine or Tacitus letters --yet. We also concluded that Petrarch/Cicero/Augustine=OT3. I don't really want to comment on that.
ricardienne: (chord)
Is what I should have quipped in Latin, today while we were doing Ovid, but I only managed it in English. Oh, well. Next time, I shall be prepared and be brave enough to attempt a joke in lingua originale.

We had our concert tonight; it wasn't too bad, although something weird happened in the Wagner and M. and I got off by a beat, but I don't think anyone (in the audience, that is) noticed. We had a big crowd this time: probably two dozen entire people.

My lesson was moderately okay-awful. But D. mentioned a possible Monteverdi opera this semester that she recommended me for. Which would be unbelievably awesome if I actually got to do. It would probably make up for the less-than-wonderful orchestra experience this year.

It's funny: the more things I tick off towards break starting, the guiltier I feel about feeling that I'm off the hook. I have to meet with two professors tomorrow, one about a paper and one "just to catch up on things" (which is possibly even scarier), to go to Latin & French tables, to practice at least my 1 reserved hour -- plus my ~45 minutes in the morning -- and go to lit class. And I should do laundry. Well, and I need to print my boarding pass and pack. But that shouldn't take long, as I'm not bringing anything except my laptop, my bow, the books that I'll need, and maybe some socks and underwear (must check with my mother concerning whether or not I have any underwear still at home).

Lit class should be fun, though. We don't have another paper for quite a while, and we're doing Inferno. This is pure pleasure, to go and talk about Dante. I am having a few issues with this distinction between "the Dante Pilgrim" and "the Dante Poet," however. Not that I can't see that there is a difference. But when I hear "Dante Poet," I think of an anonymous author. We talk about the Pearl Poet, and the Beowulf Poet, and, more frequently, in art, the Master of the St Cecilia Altarpiece. But the Dante Poet: we know who he is; in fact, he is who he is. This sounds like we only know him as the author of the poem about Dante. Although, I suppose, one could ask to what extend Dante did create himself in the Divine Comedy. There's all of that weird, cyclical allusion to his fame, which only came after the publication of the work, and his status as a great poet, as which he wasn't recognized until he wrote Divine Comedy. So maybe it is appropriate to think of the person who wrote the poem as the "creator of Dante Alighieri," and hence, the Dante Poet.

I got my mid-term crite sheet today. Among other (fairly nice) things, the professor noted that although I am "quick to notice argumentative holes," I "avoid ad hominem attacks." This is pretty ironic, considering the amount of literally ad hominem attacking I do (to (some) of these same people) when I'm talking to friends or in this journal. My second thought was that perhaps this is a hint that I am verging on this sort of thing in class. Although I really don't think I am, and I'm pretty sure this professor would not try to correct it in such a round-about way if I were. I don't think I've made an ad hominem attack on anyone in a serious argument/discussion since Professor Umbridge's class high school government. And even then, if it was ad hominemn, it was also most certainly in absentia. And, I would argue that it wasn't really ad hominem (let's see how many times I can use the phrase in this paragraph, shall we?), because, in spite of what Professor Umbridge the teacher may have said, my comment was that someone who thinks he has a direct link to the deity is mentally unstable and therefore not fit to be president, which, although it is flippant and perhaps offensive, is not irrelevant to a discussion of whether or not one should re-elect Bush. /defensiveness.
ricardienne: (angelo)
This eating thing needs to stop. Now. Either I am hungry or I am not. But it isn't okay to have a headache because I haven't eaten and feel nauseous at the idea of food.

After much effort and travail, I have finally got my copy of The King's Two Bodies via interlibrary loan. Of course, now that I have a paper to write this week that isn't even on Percival (making the book kind of unnecessary, or at least unjustified) I really don't need anything else to distract me. Which means that I have started it, of course.

It's nice to be back in the early Middle Ages again, particularly as I'm now able to recognize many of the heresies floating around. My brain is now pleasantly tied into knots over all of this duality, though (and its infectious: I started applying it to Tamora Pierce novels on Sheroes this afternoon), particularly the "Tiberius in his capacity as Ruler is greater than Christ in his capacity as Man" bit. It does make sense in theory, but… Tiberius? Although I suppose that the 'Anonymous Norman' was not up on his Tacitus.

I like having background knowledge. I completely understood the prof's reference to medieval theologians' conceptions of purely rational sexuality before the fall today, thanks to Augustine.

This morning I read a (disappointingly short) review of a Measure for Measure playing in New York. The list of Things Lydia Would do If She Only had the Time, Money, and Means to go Down to the City gets longer and longer. In that vein, I remember an introduction to Twelfth Night that I read once that made comparisons between Malvolio and Shylock. They're both outsiders -- a Puritan and a Jew -- who have to be humiliated before the romantic plot can be closed. I shall now proceed to make some very tenuous connections. Angelo is certainly neither Jewish nor an outsider at all (although perhaps self-proclaimed, a bit), and he isn't explicitly a Puritan. But he does have Puritanical characteristics, and he does, like M. and S. fall by his own choice/presumption into a trap that has been set up for him. And then, there is this money thing running all around Angelo (this is the tangental, very iffy, and probably coincidental Shylock connection). His name, and all that coinage metaphor, and that great line of Isabella's about bribing him "not with fine shekkels of tested gold." This is particularly cool because it looks back (and forward, I suppose) to the idea of good vs. bad vs. unknown-quality coin and underscores (as I see it) Isabella's Pagan judge-Christian virgin slant on the whole incident(s), and (taking 'shekkels' another way), almost gets at an Old Testament-y, even Jewish feel, although I am not sure whether this train of speculation is at all useful (cf. Susanna and the Elders, perhaps?).

So where is this going? I really am not sure. Nowhere, I think.

I really need to write that stupid paper on The Knight of the Cart. Dear Self, So shame cultures and Chrètien de Troyes may not be two of the most thrilling things in the world, but they aren't bad, and in any case that essay still needs to be written. Preferably sooner rather than later, so you can have something intelligent to ask about at the Dreaded Meeting over the Last Essay tomorrow.
ricardienne: (augustine)
Dear P., A.,

If you are going to cancel rehearsal, it's good procedure to LET THE REST OF THE GROUP know. It is, incidentally, very bad form to make your cellist schlep her cello (uphill) across campus, up two steep flights of stairs to class, down the same, farther across campus, and all the way back for nothing, particularly when it is snowing. Just a heads up.

T. and I got to whine about the conservatory in Latin this morning, which was quite fun. Granted, it got pretty stilted when we wanted to get more specific than "they aren't friendly" and "they capture all of the practice rooms." But even so, it was good to get some of these negative feelings out. I was rather pleased that I was able to find a practical use for all that capturing that is always being done in our examples, I did get horribly tongue-tied on "amicabiliores" (as in "non amicabilis sunt, sed alii aliis amicabiliores").

I really need to write my essay on Frankenstein. Why the hell am I so paralyzed over this? I know what I'm writing about, and I know that I don't have a huge amount of time to do it, so why the procrastination?
ricardienne: (chord)
Was not horrible, tonight.

During the Idomeneo overture, I actually started to enjoy myself. In the places where the violins weren't screwing up their runs it sounded good, and hitting those V-I cadences really felt good. That's the best part of playing cello, I think, in orchestra. Bass lines! Wheee!

The other cellist had to leave midway for a chemistry study group, which left me be the entire section for the second half. And you know what, I enjoyed it. I'm horrible: I pretend to be a team player, to be a humble section-member, to not want solos etc etc, but secretly, I really playing alone, being noticed. Of course, it means that I have to play all the right notes, but I managed quite well, thank you very much.

Sadly, our concertmaster is out with tendonitis. This is really too bad, as he was not just a good player, but a good leader, and actually led the strings… it's really pathetic when the principal cellist has to be the one to comment that the violins might be better together if they were lifting for the double-down bow, and so not ending up at the tip, I think.

During Latin today, I brought up "redoubtable" as an example of this older secondary meaning of "fear" that is connected with to doubt. Granted, it's pretty much archaic, now.

According to the OED, it's the "II" definition, and is a "a development of the verb in OF., was an early and very prominent sense of the vb. and its derivatives in ME." Which is not very helpful. The professor couldn't tell me anything more; I shall ask my literature professor tomorrow. Because I just don't see the connection.

Okay. Doubting --> uncertainty --> suspicion -->apprehension --> fear(?) Maybe.

About redoubt(ed)(able), however, it can tell me that it also comes from the French, and has an Old Italian cognate: ridottare. So to me this indicates that it's an early Romance branching off, where "dubitare" gets this extra meaning of fear, which, when intensified to "redubitare" becomes specific to fear. But I want to know WHY! And HOW! Sort of like the distinction of respectful vs. informal in the second person singular: why? When? How? Argh. So many questions.
ricardienne: (angelo)
I started reading Kant today, Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals. I was expecting to hate it, but, actually, it isn't too bad (she says, having only read the first part and a bit of the second). He sets it all out very clearly: intent and effect. Something is moral because it is moral, not because it will cause a good thing to happen. He completely privileges intent. If the intent is good, the outcome is irrelevant. This I can buy. (And no, you can't make the Hitler argument here: moral is an empirical standard -- not whatever one happens to decide is good as far as oneself is concerned). But I have an issue with the inverse of that. Actually, it's the same issue I've had for a while.

What about an immoral (evil) intent? I have a hard time saying that a person who has an evil intent is himself (herself) evil simply by fact of having that intent. That is, I don't mean to say that such a person isn't evil, but if their evil intent produces no effect, how do we even know it existed? Kant himself says that we can never know whether any intent is truly moral, because there may always be some other reason for the intent and the effect other than pure duty, whether we can perceive it or not. I am not, obviously, talking about someone who has an evil intent but then decides not to act on it. In that case, the person is clearly superimposing a good intent over the evil will, for a net result of a moral intent. And it does seem sensible to say that the intent is enough to count as evil… you can get charged for conspiracy to commit a murder, after all. It's built into the law that intent matters in its own right. I guess the question is, of course, how do you know that the intent is there without the effect it produces? It's all very well in the abstract, but I have no idea whether my roomate has a good or an evil intent towards me until she does something. (Or rather, we should reverse this situation…)

And I still have a difficult time with this. I can easily accept some absolute Good that exists outside of anyway effect it might have. But I can't so easily accept a parallel idea of absolute Evil. Evil things, I would say intuitively, have to actually happen for them to be evil. Perhaps it's the idea of evil as a perversion of good. The one can exist on its own, but the other has to actively effect what is already there. Is this what Moral Relativism is? I think it might be. I would like to write my essay on this, but, a) I haven't even finished reading Kant, b) this doesn't really pertain to Kant as much as it pertains to my ideas about right and wrong vis-a-vis Kant, and c) I don't know how to go about writing such a not-primarily-text-based essay even if I could get away with it.

Of course, the other thing that this bring to mind is… Measure for Measure. Now, obviously, one can't look at Kant as being really applicable to something written 200+ years before he published. But I think that this idea of intent vs. effect is older than that. The Catholic Church, for instance, has counted thinking upon sinful thoughts as bad as committing the sins themselves. And I also found this interesting tidbit from The Catholic Encyclopedia: Thi sin would be formal if he took the property in the belief that it belonged to another, whether his belief were correct or not. Definitely, intent counts here. Which is interesting (and okay, so Shakespeare wasn't a Catholic, but I don't think that the English Reformation got rid of this particularly bit of morality.), because that isn't the conclusion the play seems to come to at all. Granted, it is not clear at all that Isabella actually believes what she is saying, perhaps she's just trying to make any argument at all to help out Mariana. But she does argue that intentions don't matter: "thoughts are no subjects;/ Intents but merely thoughts." (Or doesn't she? Just before that, she claimed "A due sincerity govern'd his deeds,/ Till he did look on me: since it is so,/Let him not die." I.e. because the original intent was not evil, the evil action doesn't count. That seems really weak, however, because clearly even if the original intent was not bad, it was replaced by a bad one. But it does seem as though she is trying to make her case on both sides of the issue.) And, in the end, it plays out that way. Angelo gets off because none of his evil intentions produced their effect, although he is clearly guilty by the intent is what matters idea that is so common. But I think what Isabella is really talking about is not, of course, the actual good or evil, but the extent to which the law has power. To that extent, intent can't matter without effect, because it can't be known. "Thoughts are no subjects," she says. An individual's moral status is not in the law's purview. Not making windows in men's souls, and all that. This is all very relevant as far as the Theme of Government-Instituted Morality, I'm sure. At least, it had better be. And, as usual, it made a lot more sense before I tried to type it up.

And on a completely different note (I promise), my lesson was not as dreadful as I thought it was going to be. I was passable at the Schumann, and D. told me that I was definitely conservatory-level, and that a)the new conservatory here had a ridiculously high bar for acceptance and b)acceptance at Oberlin depends a lot on whether you have a connection to one of the teachers or not, all of which makes me feel much better. But best of all, when I started playing the Bach, doing a horrible job at it, she took my cello and couldn't get a good sound either, at first. It was determined that my fingerboard is about an inch too long. So, all this time that I have been putting a ridiculous amount of effort into not playing over the fingerboard I really shouldn't have been. So even though I have much much much work to do before it will sound good, playing farther up already made a huge difference. Plus it is easier and less frustrating.
ricardienne: (chord)
I. There is no reason why it should be so difficult to memorize 27 measure of music. Particularly not when you've been playing the Bach on and off for a good six months. You should be ashamed of yourself.

II. If you didn't want to edit that long a paper, you shouldn't have written so much in the first place. So stop complaining. And it isn't even that long.
ricardienne: (augustine)
I am so amused )

First day over. Latin was good, so much so that I'm almost not dreading FYSEM tomorrow (note I said almost!) I should probably go and brush up on Hobsbawm, but I really don't want to. The professor seems to think that I have a St. Augustine obsession, based, it appears, on my one comment last semester that he's an author I'd like to read in the original. When I mentioned today that my ultimate goal was to be able to read Latin somewhat easily, if I never can get to the point where I can just 'pick something up and read it,' he asked me if I was referencing St. Augustine's tolle et lege moment in the garden. I definitely wasn't, but should have been. Argh! Oh well.

Medieval Lit was okay. It started out bad, because it's a *huge class, and about half of them are lit majors who are really only taking it so they can moderate, and are primarily interested in "the development of the modern novel and modern author," but it got better. And I am looking forward to most of the readings.
*huge=~25 people

I practiced three hours today. Yay, but I'm sure it won't last, once I start having more work.


ricardienne: (Default)

January 2017

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