Saturday, April 29, 2006

Commonplace Book

"We have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night."

Reach me down my Tycho Brahe, -- I would know him when we meet,
When I share my later science, sitting humbly at his feet;
He may know the law of all things, yet be ignorant of how
We are working to completion, working on from then till now.

Pray, remember, that I leave you all my theory complete,
Lacking only certain data, for your adding as is meet;
And remember, men will scorn it, 'tis original and true,
And the obloquy of newness may fall bitterly on you.

But, my pupil, as my pupil you have learnt the worth of scorn;
You have laughed with me at pity, we have joyed to be forlorn;
What, for us, are all distractions of men's fellowship and smiles?
What, for us, the goddess Pleasure, with her meretricious wiles?

You may tell that German college that their honour comes too late.
But they must not waste repentance on the grizzly savant's fate;
Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;
I have loved the stars too truly to be fearful of the night.

What, my boy, you are not weeping? You should save your eyes for sight;
You will need them, mine observer, yet for many another night.
I leave none but you, my pupil, unto whom my plans are known.
You "have none but me," you murmur, and I "leave you quite alone"?

Well then, kiss me, -- since my mother left her blessing on my brow,
There has been a something wanting in my nature until now;
I can dimly comprehend it, -- that I might have been more kind,
Might have cherished you more wisely, as the one I leave behind.

I "have never failed in kindness"? No, we lived too high for strife, --
Calmest coldness was the error which has crept into our life;
But your spirit is untainted, I can dedicate you still
To the service of our science: you will further it? you will!

There are certain calculations I should like to make with you,
To be sure that your deductions will be logical and true;
And remember, "Patience, Patience," is the watchword of a sage,
Not to-day nor yet to-morrow can complete a perfect age.

I have sworn, like Tycho Brahe, that a greater man may reap;
But if none should do my reaping, 'twill disturb me in my sleep.
So be careful and be faithful, though, like me, you leave no name;
See, my boy, that nothing turn you to the mere pursuit of fame.

I must say Good-bye, my pupil, for I cannot longer speak;
Draw the curtain back for Venus, ere my vision grows too weak:
It is strange the pearly planet should look red as fiery Mars, --
God will mercifully guide me on my way amongst the stars.
-- Sarah Williams

Ransom Demand

Cat, I hate to say it, but I think that Hyacinth has broken into your house again - I got this in the mail:

Clearly, the multiple personalities are back, hence the use of the 1 pl nom in the pronoun. If you should see her sneaking around your back yard, let her know that I'm not caving into her demands and that she should start taking her pills again.


Monday, April 24, 2006

The King Must Die

I was recently lent a copy of The King Must Die by Mary Renault, which is brilliant. It's a Euhemerist retelling of the Theseus myth (the guy with the Minotaur and the Labyrinth) which incorporates real archaeological evidence from Crete and some educated guesses about ancient customs. Also a couple of glancing references to Adonis and the Boar, and Orpheus, if you know where to look for them. I'm guessing that both ReptonInfinity and Adrexia would like it quite a lot. Are either of you interested in borrowing it before I give it back? Or anyone else?

I got some assignments back today, including an essay with the note at the front saying that helpful comments were given with the essay. What my tutor had actually done was make some ticks, write one 'good point', have one minor quibble about something I'd said, and then lovingly circle every single colloquialism in the essay with a suggestion for improvement. 'significant' is better than 'big' because??? (I'm assuming it's because it has more syllables and so looks more impressive or something, certainly it didn't supply any finer shade to the meaning.) There was actually a reason why my language was a bit less formal than usual, and this isn't a complaint, because she gave me a better grade than I'd expected, but sheesh. I'd far rather she'd spent her time thinking up helpful advice rather than nitpicks when a simple "Your language should be more formal" would have done.

In other news, I had a surprise in my first lecture of the day when Anna from Auckland said Hi. She's been visiting another friend who is in the same class as me, and tagged along to the lecture. So then we smuggled her into the tutorial later that morning. (She seemed to be enjoying herself.)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


So, what has little Steph been doing with herself, lately?
Well, I went to a Frisbee tournament, I went to work (in Auckland), and I went to Easter Camp. Also, today was the start of the University Games, although I'm getting over a cold and slunk off home after the first game to get some sleep.

Memorable bits from the last couple of weeks (in no particular order):
- Getting a shiny new sword, made just for me! (Thank you Darren.)
- Actually managing to figure out a problem that was happening at work and come up with a solution. It was a frustrating few days to start with. :-(
- Watching a couple of friends break up with fairly vindictive timing within about 10 minutes of arriving at Easter Camp.
- Being told by my sister that there was a girl there that wanted to hit on me within about 10 minutes of arriving at Easter Camp. (She didn't, but it was a rather surprising thing to be told.)
- Seeing, in Waiouru, an ad for fetish and leather supplies outside the local Subway. Supplying the army trade maybe?
- Realising that people in small towns like Pahiatua are actually quite cool about people in weird clothes invading their supermarkets (unlike three_monkey's Christmas experience).
- Being in a story circle that lasted for, like, three hours. "Sing a song, tell a story, ask a riddle, do a dance, or go hide in the cow byre until an angel inspires you." (People who were really stumped were let off with autobiographical anecdotes, like the first time they fell in love, or that time they almost died. Although I'm not sure that that's being let off lightly.)
- Getting home. Thank you for looking after Babe, Edward, she's looking happy and comfortably squishy.
- Relaxing in a spa pool working out kinks afterwards. Thank you for keeping me company, John. :-)

Monday, April 17, 2006

I'm Back.

Pretty tired, though. I'll write more later.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

I Ache Therefore I Am...

I'm currently holed up in Auckland saying Ow being fed tea by the lovely Tanja and cuddly Donald and am shortly about to curl up and sleep like a log.

I spent the weekend at an Ultimate Frisbee tournament, my first (hey, I guess that means I'm no longer a frisbee virgin). It was extremely full on and much fun. Saturday was bloody hard work - four games back to back and all but one of them went to the full 100 minutes allowed. We had one half hour break after the third game, basically because the Christchurch team we were playing against made their point total of 13 relatively early which gave us time to stagger off the field and have lunch before our last game. The last game was the one that we won (against Palmerston North), but I and I think several of the other players very much hit the wall part way through and started subbing off after very short times on the field.

Today we only played one game, again against Christchurch. For that game, the score on paper looks extremely unappealing, 13-1, but I'm actually not dissapointed because I think that our team was playing very well throughout and Christchurch were a very tough team to play against. Also, as Tanja put it this evening, it's a lot more fun to lose to an excellent team than to win against a mediocre team, and this morning's game was the former. We defaulted for the rest of our scheduled games because the rain was persisting down, with some hail for extra spice, and we thought that we'd be noble and allow the other women's teams to skip one of the scheduled slots and be done a couple of hours ealier. At least that's the party line. ;-)

This afternoon I spa pooled and swam and was the cheering section for the men's and women's finals. For the women's side, Christchurch won against the Wellington serious team (see, I said that they were good) and for the men's side, the Wellington team (for whom repton_infinity plays) won in an extremely close and exciting match. I found it very interesting watching the difference between the way that men and women play: the guys are extremely athletic and fast, but that comes with an aggressiveness that means lots of foul calls and the occasional injury timeout which means that the game is very stoppy-starty. The women's games seemed a lot more continuous and dynamic and flowing to me.

Tucked in to my weekend was also hanging out with Cat and Michael. We went to see Kinky Boots on Saturday evening ("In what hell could I have inspired something burgundy") and Cat came to watch the games for a bit and mess with my team mates heads ("Steph, are you OK? Why aren't you warming up with everyone else?" "Oh, I'm fine, I'll catch you up.") They were very admiring of Catherine's Jedi cloak, by the way.

Anyway, what with one thing and another, I'm feeling very staunch, but would very much like to go to sleep now. Take care all.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Let me see:
Skin feels like it's been sandpapered. Check.
Cramps and nausea. Check.
I want to simultaneously bite someone's head off and burst into tears. Check.
I hate having periods. :-/

On paper, life is pretty good right now. I'm finally feeling on top of classwork, I'm managing to work through the mountain of assessments that all hit in the last couple of weeks and I'm really looking forward to a trip up to Auckland next week. Yesterday I lured an unsuspecting gentleman into the ways of watching The Fifth Element, and it was a plain nice evening.

Anyway, I'm sure that I'll start enjoying all of this again in a couple of days and apologise to anyone I've taken my ill temper out on lately. In the meantime, I have a large block of chocolate and a recording of All Around My Hat to keep me company.

Take care all.