Sidereal ramblings

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Something new

You learn something new every day, or so the conventional wisdom would have us believe.

I'm not a big fan of the Harry Potter books. I don't dislike them, I just never got engrossed in them. I read the first two, and saw the first couple of movies, but wasn't terribly motivated to go beyond that. My favorite character in the books is Hermione Granger, Harry's female classmate and budding wizard. I loved the name, but didn't know where it came from. Turns out that Hermione was the daughter of the famous Helen of Troy. Or actually, Helen of Sparta, as she was born before Helen was abducted by Paris and brought back to Troy.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Walking the Dog

As part of my ongoing summer short story reading program, I read a collection called Walking the Dog by Irish writer Bernard MacLaverty, author of Cal. I really enjoyed his short stories a lot. MacLaverty writes with a very straightforward and calming style, even when what he's describing occasionally veers into unexpected violence -- and since most of his stories are set in Northern Ireland, that happens with alarming frequency. The stories in this book are kind of slice-of-life episodes, and often end without coming to any real conclusion. I was not bothered by this as I might usually be, though I'm not sure why. Maybe it's not a conclusion that is missing, but rather a resolution. And life doesn't often tie up into a nice, neat resolution. I've only read these two books by MacLaverty, but I must say he's impressed me quite a bit. I also, as a matter of course, collect interesting quotes, and I picked this one up from a story titled "At the Beach": “I am jealous of every single sexual act in which I was not involved.” I got quite a kick out of that.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I'm still here

One of my favorite early '90s albums is Woodface by Crowded House. At the end of the disc, there's a "hidden track." After a substantial amount of silence, a rather racous music ensues and someone sings/yells the words, "I'm still here" repeatedly. Jarring.

If anyone is depending on reading this blog* to keep track of me, I'm sure they'd be wondering what happened. The answer is not a whole heck of a lot, really. I spent a week "on vacation," a few days in Winona and a long weekend at the comic convention in Chicago. Back home, I spent a lot of last week, volunteering at the County Fair. I spent 8 hours (spread over two consecutive days) staffing the DFL booth, and another 3 1/2 hours another day taking tickets at what I affectionately refer to as the "back gate." This week, I've gone over to school a couple of days (though only for an hour or so each time) -- work starts in earnest for me on Monday, and kids start school the following Tuesday, the day after Labor Day.

Do I have an excuse for not blogging? Not really, just not much to say. Do I need one?

*and I don't think either of you are.