Oh, K, go!
Bromatheon s'the food of the gods or something; so said a man who described mushrooms used to poison people to death. *BEAMS* Here K babbles on about life, the universe and everything, and tries hard to find things out so that she doesn't have to invoke 42 all the time. Huzzah!

[identity crisis] both parts, in whole
SPIKE smoking
First off - this post comes in the light of colorblue's thoughts about my previous identity crisis post here, and also in the light of my own thoughts about my own thoughts in that post.

I'm deeply sorry to anyone who read the original post and who rightfully called out the points of racism, whitewashing and false diversity that I wrote out. That is paramount, and I hope not to try to make excuses for what was written, only to move on from there.

I'm not very good at being eloquent about thinky-thoughts in a concrete and totally logical way; that's why bromatheon exists, for thoughts to get catapulted around as I grow up in this great, huge world. Those posts, and this post, I try to write in as personal a voice that I can - I flail around a lot, but I hope that my linguistic flailing is not taken as flippancy, because I really want to think through these things and learn from them. ♥ Thank you guys for your patience, and any comments will be fully appreciated. I hope never to come across as wanting to prescribe what I write here - I'm still figuring it out myself! - but if it makes for good discussion or thought or talk, I will be always happy and grateful to grow and learn.

family + other personal jumbleCollapse )

responsibility (socially)

After which: my brother's not a bad guy, not any more than the next human being you'll find. Reading through Colorblue's post has helped me way more clearly how growing up in a privileged majority has an effect on - to use that same phrase - a person's frame of reference. When he tells me to "loosen up", when anyone in the family tells me to "loosen up", I think I now have a better understanding of why they do that:

My family's in a ethnic majority here at home; we're middle-class and comfortable. My family sees me raging at every mention of things that they do not feel are relevant to them: anything from politics, to gay rights, to the pervasiveness of racial language within the confines of our family household, and they say to me, "loosen up". Loosen up, because you are in a position where you don't have to fight for these, or fight against these things.

You're not, they see: of an ethnic/racial minority, OR gay/bi, OR ever going to be involved politically, OR __________________. You are, however: in this family where we love you, in this family where we have the privilege of allowing you to live the life you want to live without stress or distress or discomfort.

I don't know why I've never seen this before: it seems like such a logical, straightforward thing post facto. My family knows, whether consciously or not, that I don't have to be worked up about any of the above topics, or any topic at all, really, that covers an area, people, minority or part of society that lacks a privilege that we have.

We might not be exercising an open racism; we might not be going up into people's faces or judging them by their ethnicity/race; but when my family tells me to "loosen up", and when I try to "loosen up" and accept practicalities, I think I now better understand and can better phrase what it is we're doing:

There's a difference in intention, yes - but not a difference in result. When we let things slide, we're saying: let other people fight their own fights. We are not responsible. But we are - we are responsible for creating an environment where no one, regardless of their gender/race/identity, should been discriminated against, or have to "fight more" or feel uncomfortable for the rights and privileges the majority enjoy. This means everything, from not having to be subject to a language riddled with inherent racism against one's identity groups, to having the secure trust in the next person to know that, when s/he looks at you, your identity grouping does not stand in the way of your rights, freedoms and ability to practice who you are and what you believe in.

Silence draws a blanket over the differences that should - and must - be voiced out. Practicalities -- are things put in practice, perhaps. To my family now I see how easy and convenient it is for them to make quick, thoughtless jokes and laugh them off as "part of the social fabric" -- of course everyone else is going to laugh. It's either that or cry and take offence - and as my brother said himself, when you're in the minority you learn real quick not to get offended and take up arms, because when you are in the minority you do not have anything or anything to back you up. All you have is your voice, to laugh with others so that you are co-opted into what they believe you are and should be and, and to thereby erase your own identities and fealties, maybe now for a moment, but maybe in the future for a lifetime.

I've straddled the fence for a long while, trying to find a way of explaining to my family why I hold up ideology, why I want to talk about it and keep talking about it while simultaneously wanting to be as blase and careless as them - because it obviously hurts them less, they've grown up and learned how to deal and I want that same peace of mind.

That peace of mind was bought with the peace of mind of others; now I think I have the words to tell them how and why. In my last post I came up with generalities to help me sleep better at night: sweeping statements that sound nice ideologically but which weren't given enough thought. Writing this post I feel like ideology and practicality now are not different at all, which is how maybe things should be.

I'm plenty glad still for my talk with my brother, and I'm plenty glad that I sat down and wrote about it - as faulty as my writing turned out to be. I'm also glad for all the friends and contributors that have helped me think through it: glass_icarus, who sat with me through a long night, rincredible, who sat me through bad teenaged flailing, regicidaldwarf, for her most awesome advice, counsel and pointers on where to go forward and how not to fall into a pit of privilege.

Again I am very thankful for color_blue making that post, and am sorry that my earlier writing displayed such a sense of ignorance and insensitivity for others around me when it was posted to a public forum. And also to oyceter for hosting the main discussion post, the comments of which were seriously vital in helping me sort my head out and think about the line between what's written as something personal (which I've tried to keep beneath the cut here) and as something as commentary (what I tried to leave out of cut). ♥

[litter-ature] Iliad, Book 1
LEX advises
Reading through The Iliad now, and scribbling a few thoughts down. MIGHT AS WELL ENJOY WHAT I'M READING and then permanently scar the classical world with my failget thoughts.

knightlineninja, I do trust that you will beat my head in with relevant Classical knowledge where necessary? 8D?


First impression: where on earth am I? You hear all sorts of stuff about The Iliad and the Fall of TroyTM, but you open up to the first section of verse and you realise that it isn't just about the Fall of Troy. You don't get the beginning of the Trojan War, you get thrown into the middle of Agamemnon pissing on several people's parades all at once. Which is a nice thought to extrapolate: that Homer isn't the first, that Homer wrote, like everyone else, on the shoulders of giants and/or other (maybe more oral) traditions.


I read most of The Odyssey using Fagles' translation, and I really enjoyed it. The translation I'm now using for The Iliad is a tad (read: a lot) more academic, a lot closer to the original text, and a lot less able to blend into English poetic metre. There's a huge difference: Fagles' read like an epic, but Lattimore's feels like an epic; a sort of weird medium-versus-matter debate. I think I'm going to pick up SH's box set at the bookstore later.

Another note to Lattimore's translation: the Greek names are kept very strictly, therefore my head explodes and gets confused with the Latinate versions. Ajax == Aiax (took me way too long to figure that out!) and Achilles gets reverted to Achilleus and Patroclus to Patroklos and OH MY GOD GIVE ME A MANUAL ON GREEK V. LATIN RIGHT NOW BECAUSE NO, YOU'RE NOT ULYSSES, BABY, NO.


One thing about not having much background in the Classics: oh shit was the first impression I had. Everything's about context, and I have so little going in besides what I pick up here and there - suddenly there are a thousand pre-Asiatic Greece terms being flung around like confetti. WHAT YOU DO MEAN WHEN YOU SAY HELLENS, HOMER, I THOUGH HELLENISM == GREEK but no, no, suddenly it's where Achilleus came from. I need a flowchart! At the same time, it's really interesting to see how and where the Greek states could have been scattered Way Back When.

More coherent thoughts + quotes when I have my text on hand again.

[identity crisis] on practicalities
SPIKE smoking
Cultural barrier and racism discussion alert; also warning that I am a bit weepy from PMS and this long talk with my second brother --

We were talking about all sorts of ideologies -Collapse )

Nothing stranger or better or more uncomfortable or touching than discovering your own country's racial and religious idiosyncrasies, and the wisdom of a brother.

Caveat: Most of this is as verbatim as I can spit it out, and much of it doesn't necessarily/at all highlight how I normally approach my life or brains or anything in general, but it's a... really significant talk that I had, and a weird spin even for me, and I thought it might be nice to get it out on paper.

[identity crisis] On Race, or Privilege, Or Just Being Human
SPIKE smoking
A few musings on things; probably the first and last time I'm going to mention Racefail and other samesuch related issues. A feeler; it's really just my own personal mind-wandering.

Not really race, actually - just. Being human.Collapse )

[flipity flop] word, NYT, on the word gay
ootori KYOUYA
Everything I wanted to say about the non-sexual word "gay".

BONTEN is sleepy
  • auto-generator for pretty fic masterpost link list; i think it's about time
  • jquery horizontal accordian - learn how!
  • flu medicine zomg

[Litter-ature] Written before on this page
SPIKE smoking
THE untold want, by life and land ne’er granted,
Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.

- Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass, Book XXXIII)

Two lines of poetry, extending across, and saying everything about the human soul that needs to be said.

IT may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

- Lord Alfred Tennyson

The last verse taken from Ulysses to become the motto of Outward Bound Schools everywhere. Now, Voyager...

[Litter-ature] Clive Barker - Galilee
ootori KYOUYA
About a sixth way through the book, and it's the first time in months - maybe years, god, I haven't read in so long - that I sat down for a solid three hours and did almost a hundred pages of a new author at one go. It's brilliant fantastic fiction (as opposed to fantasy, which comes High most of the time), like a more Rice-d out Gaiman, and jesus, he writes rich dynastic bastards better than I ever will.

More on this when I'm fangirling less hard. \o\


An unfortunate retraction - three quarts through the book and something dies; the relationships that are meant to be bedrocks fall through, and the suspension of disbelief can't hold up to tension strung out too long that it goes slack. DDDD:

[Litter-ature] Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
ootori KYOUYA
Living life from 9-9 means that the rest of the world falls out and into this pit of zomg too tired to breathe-ness after a while; attempting to combat that by forcing myself to read a few thousand words today.

And so, today: Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, a collection of short stories based on the Vietnam War & its repercussions by Robert Olen Butler.

It has:

  • Some of the simplest sentences to work good literature that I've read in a while; it's a kind of style I envy and wish I could work with better. Not stark, simply present, and sharp.
  • A sensation of blunt Americanism, as though the country is an entity, so foreign and West and too large and unrefined an instrument to treat war, Vietnamese culture, assimilation; and yet also: full of something strange and good and equally as foreign, as if Vietnamese culture is too fine an instrument to take in enormity. But I know too little about either, only the generalities of both, and culture differences. Makes me think, as I always think, of my own half-and-half, like my parents the milk and my reading the cream. YAY ANALOGY WHEN TIRED.
  • Endings that twist your heart; such is the beauty of short fiction: a few thousand words, and then a wrench. The only drawback: ten short stories equate ten pulls at the heart, and sometimes your heart doesn't have that much to give in one go. Had to put the book down.


(from Mr. Green:)

When my grandfather told me about the birds plucking out the eyes of the dead and about the possibility of our own ancestors, our own family, suffering just like that if we ignore them, I said, "Don't worry, Grandfather, I will always say prayers for you and make offerings for you, even if I'm Catholic."

I though this would please my grandfather, but he just shook his head sharply, like he was mad at me, and he said, "Not possible."

"I can," I said.

Then he looked at me and I guess he realised that he'd spoken harshly. He tilted his head slightly and smiled a little smile - just like his father in the picture - but what he said wasn't something to smile about. "You are a girl," he said. "So it's not possible for you to do it alone. Only a son can oversee the worship of his ancestors."


I was surprised and delighted that first day when my grandfather motioned to the birdseller and began to point at sparrows and the merchant reached into the cage and caught one bird after another, and he put them all into a cardboard box. My grandfather bought twelve birds and they did not fly as they sat in the box. "Why aren't they flying?" I asked.

"Their wings are clipped," my grandfather said.

That was all right with me. They clearly weren't in any pain and they could still hop and they would never fly away from me. I wouldn't even need a cage for my vain little friends.


We had always kept chickens and ducks and geese. Some of them were pecking arond near us even as I crouched there with my mother. I knew that we ate those animals, but for some reason Ham Nghi seemed like a different place altogether and the sparrows could only be for song and friendship. But finally my mother finished cutting the vegetables and she reached into the box and drew out a sparrow, its feet dangling from the bottom of her fist and its head poking out of the top. I looked at its face and I knew it was a girl and my mother said, "This is the way it's done," and she fisted her other hand around the sparrow's head and she twisted.

Even better bits in other parts, but too tired now, and will post again about it if the rest of the book is any good. Just to say, though: he writes some of the best off-kilter persona narratives; if you can snag this book, then please just flip to the short story Fairy Tale, and watch the voice of an uneducated Vietnamese prostitute gone to America come to life in words.

Bed noooooooooooooooooooow!

[Geeks & Romans] You're not Ulysses, baby, no.
LUCIFER morningstar
Sitting in my local Coffee Bean, hijacking their internet connection to talk about The Odyssey.

Preface: I do not know what I'm talking about. People like Knight may kill me!Collapse )

SO. The Classics are one big fandom, shared by innumerable peoples and pimped in innumerable languages, with badder villains and better gods, more sex and a lot of running around. Ergo, Tetsuya Nomura is Virgil's great-x42-grandson.

Today's topic for slaughter: THE ODYSSEY, TRANSLATED BY ROBERT FAGLES.

Like every other book that has a) academic whoom-whoom and b) potential for misinterpretation, this version comes with a billion-page introduction, which I promptly skipped, except for the bit on pronunciation, which I read with the gleeful ignorance of the blind reading Braille that's been printed upside down.

The text itself is long, around 400 pages, and I'm about 150 pages in now. The translation is easy to read, and the dialogue sparkles like diamonds in an unlawful coal mine. Excerpt:

the bright-eyed Athena reassured him,
"some of the words you'll find within yourself,
the rest some power will inspire you to say.
You least of all - I know -
were born and reared without the gods' good will."

Mind you, here Athena is dressed up like an old veteran man and is kicking ass by dragging Telemachus, Odysseus' son, around by the nape of his neck and thrusting him forward into kingship. Cool beans.

So, some of Odysseus' life as I've read it thus far:

Cut for inappropriate slaughter of classical workCollapse )

I've read too little to make any sane comment about anything, so a jotterbook of thoughts:

  • Homer is amazing at repetition. Maybe because he's using poetic metre, maybe because he's a genius, maybe because his style allows for it: but constantly and all over, he re-uses descriptors and mottos, turns them on a phrase and reiterates them for comfort. It makes the poem surprisingly readable, and full of cadence.
  • Though if he talks about "rosy-fingered dawn" one more time, I may have to find his grave and kill him all over again.
  • Interesting times: if gods, in Greece, were meant to be as explicable and powerful as nature, then Homer has done his work. They speak with nobility, with the feeling that a mountain evokes, standing faraway and sturdy, but they act with cruelty, like snow in cold winter.
  • And the gods are as fallible and rife as their human images. When the story digresses on to tell the tale of Aphrodite being discovered committing adultery with Ares, it reads:

    So the gods would banter
    among themselves but lord Apollo goaded Hermes on:
    "Tell me, Quicksilver, giver of all good things -
    even with those unwieldy shackles wrapped around you,
    how would you like ot bed the golden Aphrodite?

    "Oh Apollo, if only!" the giant-killer cried.
    "Archer, bind me down with triple those endless chains!
    Let all you gods look on, and all you goddesses too -
    how I'd love to bed that golden Aphrodite!"

    Now that's villainy. Not to mention Apollo and Hermes inspire bad, bad thoughts.
  • Sometimes the poetry allows for some really stunning use of simplicity. It rises and falls and describes, elaborately, how much Odysseus suffers; spends entire stanzas describing his ship being dashed all to pieces and then spends another few talking about how he swims and drowns and rises again, but then comes back with just a few lines, saying:

    With that
    the bright-eyed goddess sped away to Olympus, where,
    they say, the gods' eternal mansion stands unmoved,
    never rocked by galewinds, never drenched by rains,
    nor do the drifting snows assail it, no, the clear air
    stretches away withotu a cloud, and a great radiance
    plays across that world where the blithe gods
    live all their days in bliss. [...]

\o\ So much detail. Tasty stuff. Now, to eat dinner. Linner. Lunch.


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