Fourth Wall

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I'm on the bandwagon.

By which I mean, the the Hold Steady bandwagon. Last Monday (that is, the twenty-second) was a dark and gloomy day of moping over male cluelessness and being anxious over my Augustine essay, so I decided to indulge and buy myself a CD. Thus, on the recommendation of both D-Robes and Nemo, I purchased "Separation Sunday." I haven't been able to stop listening to it (although I'm not *currently* listening to it... it's late and I have an Augustine essay to write). I made Kolya listen to it on Tuesday night after the CMS pub night, and then I made T. listen to it when he came over Wednesday morning to make pancakes.

As for the male stupidity, well, it turned out to not be quite so stupid. (Some) details on personal application, but remember this is Canada, so you'll need two forms of ID and a recommendation on proper letterhead.

(Oh, and today's lunchtime discussion saw suggestions for Reformation Day party games. My contribution: "Pin-the-Paintbrush-on-the-Iconoclast".)

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Friday, October 26, 2007


Nothing to see here. Move along.

There's Collegiality, and then there's...

"we must stop spending time together before we all fail out of the program, in the interest of being able to stay on for our PhDs and spend more time together."

Yeah, so Kolya had T. and me over for dinner last night. The plan was Dinner, Duffy, and Latin. It turned into a very, very long dinner, followed by a short period of Latin and a long, long conversation until 2:15 in the morning.

Best moment:
Kolya: "So, this is what I'm currently reading..."
T and Yrs. Truly (simultaniously): "Ooooh, Pelikan!

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Images from the Weekend: From Duelling to Dancing

* Tea with T. and Kolya, reading them Dafydd ap Gwilym in Welsh.

* Vigil mass at St. Basil's with a free-association homily, and trying very hard not to make Eye Contact with Emilie.

* Watching "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" with other members of the MA class. Never having seen it before, I spent much of the experience writhing in pain.

* The World's Worst Gin & Tonics, at the pub with the MA class.

* (Yrs. Truly and T. simultaneously rub their tired eyes.)
T.: Jinx... it's okay, I release you... I won't constrain you to silence...
K.: What? Are you constraining the woman I love? I'll fight you in a duel for her love. Pistols or swords?

Yrs. Truly: That's it, I'm out of this conversation.
Resident Brit: What's going on? I'll take your place.
Yrs. T: They're fighting a duel for my love.
R.B: Oh, then, you're on your own.

* Anglo-Catholic Service at Smokey Tom's, and singing "Be thou my Vision"... and being the only Soprano-type in a three-pew radius.

* Brunch & Coffee with T. & Kolya: Yrs. Truly: "I can't get the Huevos Rancheros... I'll want them to be just like the Huevos Rancheros at the Med in Hyde Park, and that can only lead to sorrow and heartbreak."
Kolya: "My dear, it is far too early in the morning for heartbreak, and I haven't had enough coffee for it."(1)

* Buying an Oxford Study Bible for $2 at the Trinity College Booksale. I also bought a book in Welsh, but I'm not yet entirely sure what it's about (I think "Wanderings of Carmarthenshire" is the best translation of the title.)

* Affirming that K. doesn't mind if Celticist Roommate and I refer to him as my "Platonic Boyfriend"-- in turn, however, he has threatened to refer to me as his "Platonic Presbytera" (which has the added benefit of alliterating.)

* Reading with Kolya in the Hart House Quad, removing my Sunday heels to walk in the grass, and taking advantage of the floaty Sunday skirt and Collegiate Gothic background to strike a few ballet poses.

* Watching Platonic Boyfriend read the first few pages of Marilynne Robinson's Gilead (given to him by T.)... only a few weeks after I introduced him to Tom Stoppard's Arcadia. "It's so much fun to watch you begin to read books I love... it's like watching someone discover a good chocolate!"

* Evensong at Smokey T's (I swear I'm not becoming an Anglican, but it was just what I needed.)

* Red Sox, 11-2.

* Remembering that I have some Latin parsing due tomorrow. Cachu.

I shall have to hold on to these memories this week, because with Latin piling up and a paper on Augustine due, it looks like it's going to be hell.

(1) Note that this was said at approximately 1:20 in the afternoon.

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Quick, Before I Go To Bed And Forget Them...

Some sparse quotes from a CMS MA night watching bad movies and going to a pub.

Celticist Roommate: Why can't I date a guy who's masculine?!
Resident Brit: Oh, sorry, can't help you there.

Resident Brit: Real men get hiccups.

Celticist Roommate: What other musical were we thinking of putting on?
Yrs Truly: "Jesus Christ, Superstar."
C.R: Ah, yes. But who would play Jesus?
Yrs Truly: (meaningful headtilt)
T: Ah. *sigh* I see it's time for me to once again shave my beard in order to avoid comparison to the Son of God.


Thursday, October 18, 2007


I am repeatedly surprised how much colloquial Modern Welsh I pick up by following my friend James on Facebook. E.g.:

"Tudur Hwys Jones, Duw ym mysg ddynion." = "Tudur Hwys Jones, a god among men."

You know you've always wanted to know how to say that.

In other news, Tuesday's (day late) St. Teresa of Avila dessert-having was rather successful, and continued into the next afternoon when I brought leftovers to the CMS lunchroom. I really, really like the CMS-ers... and I really, really miss my Chicago friends. Particularly, having shown the boys Steph's photo album of St. Thomas Aquinas becoming friends with a paper cutout of Nietzsche, the inanimate ones.

And now, a short overview of what I've been doing in class.
Monday's discussion of The Poem of The Cid in my course on Medieval Spain ended with our professor announcing, "you know, those of us with beards *are* the most manly men...".

Latin continues apace as we translate the Vulgate account of David and Bathsheba-- in which, I would have you note, there is no reference to David's "siesta," no matter what the USCCB may think.

(Warning: Girl Talk)

There was one rather embarrassing moment in class when our future Benedictine asked why Bathsheba was "statim sanctificata est", since in the Vulgate it really does appear that purification is effected by the adultery, rather than as a result of biological things going on beforehand. Having already been the one who explained to the class that a whether is a castrated sheep, I didn't want to have to be the one to say, "well, once a month women get a little grumpy..." The instructor merely said, "Well, if you read the book of Leviticus, there are many things after which one is supposed to have a bath."

I am, however, disturbed by this particular student's question, because when I was wondering what was going on with the "sanctificata est" and the Douay-Rheims online provided no help, I went to the RSV (which--get this--*actually looked at the Hebrew*) for help. Is our Benedictine Rad Trad too much of a traditionalist to read a modern translation?

I'm sure Heavens will have something to say about the above two passages. Probably correcting my Latin.

Middle Welsh continues slowly, although we are supposed to start reading Pwyll next week. The professor walked us through the first few lines. "You see that particle? That's marking that the verb is in a weird place in the sentence. Now, that particle? That marks that the verb is in the normal place in the sentence." Yes. At least we're better off than Celticist Roommate's Old Irish class.

Then I went to his office hours to ask him about PhD programs where they would be comfortable letting me be both a Celticist and an Historian, and he kinda sorta maybe offered me a thesis topic. For which I would need to be amazing enough to actually get into the PhD program here. Yeeep.

Today's project: scandalous rhetoric texts describing how to write love letters to Nuns! Hurrah!

I apologize for the rambling... I'd edit, but I wanted to be at PIMS by 10, and I'm running rather late.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Before the Day is Out...

"For God denies Himself to no one who perseveres but gradually increases the courage of such a one till he achieves victory."
-- St. Teresa of Jesus, Libro de la Vida, Chapter 11.

"At about this time there came to my notice the harm and havoc that were being wrought in France by these Lutherans and the way in which their unhappy sect was increasing...And, seeing that I was a woman, and a sinner, and incapable of doing all I should like in the Lord's service, and as my whole yearning was and still is, that, as He has so many enemies and so few friends, these last should be trusty ones, I determined to do the little that was in me--namely, to follow the evangelical counsels as perfectly as I could...
It makes me laugh, and yet it makes me sad, when I hear of the things which people come here to beg us to pray to God for; we are to ask His Majesty to give them money and to provide them with incomes-- I wish that some of these people would entreat God to enable them to trample all such things beneath their feet...
The world is on fire. Men try to condemn Christ once again, as it were, for they bring a thousand false witnesses against him. "
--The Way of Perfection

Monday, October 08, 2007

Life is Good.

My Saturday Morning Eamon Duffy reading group exemplifies everything I love about the Centre for Medieval Studies. We, having read Duffy for fun (or for Major Fields Exam Reading Lists) sit around drinking caffeinated beverages and pretending to talk about Medieval English Religion. Of course, in practice this means that we discuss reenacting a medieval rogationtide procession around the boundaries of the new Centre building (to drive all the evil demons from our 'parish' to that of the Classicists) and Thomas More's earthy sense of humor. ("That's why he got along so well with Erasmus...'Amice Erasme, tracte digitum meum.")


We had a Canadian Thanksgiving last night. Celticist Roommate and I busied ourselves around the stove and then opened our apartment to Kolya & T., who brought the fruits of their own culinary labo(u)r and copious amounts of wine to the table--especially exciting because Celticist Roommate had brought me a present of wineglasses from Canadian Tire.

And then I got to have pumpkin pie for breakfast this morning.

Our Menu:
Maple Syrup Brussels Sprouts and
Walnut & Cranberry Bread (both by T.)
Garlic Mashed Potatoes, a la Celticist Roommate
Roasted Root Vegetables, from Kolya
A ham about the size of a Nerf Football, baked by one or both of the gentlemen
And: Phillips Stuffing, Baked Squash, and a Pumpkin Pie with homemade Whipped Cream by Yrs. Truly.

The Walnut & Cranberry Bread made me terribly homesick for Mom's annual Easter Party-- specifically her Kulich. I may have to obtain her recipe, come April.

This evening I am attending a less traditional Thanksgiving at the House of Em, where I will be served Japanese Curry and we will watch British Comedies.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Dedicated to the Young Man Who Was Checking Me Out at Mass Yesterday

The Girls of Llanbadarn

I am one of passion's asses,
Plague on all these parish lasses!
Though I long for them like mad,
Not one female have I had,
Not a one in all my life,
Virgin, damsel, hag, or wife.
What maliciousness, what lack,
What does make them turn their back?
Would it be a shame to be
In a bower of leaves with me?
No one's ever been so bitched,
So bewildered, so bewitched
Saving Garwy's lunatics
By their foul fantastic tricks.

So I fall in love, I do,
Every day, with one or two,
Get no closer, any day,
Than an arrow's length away.
Every single Sunday, I,
Llanbadarn can testify,
Go to church and take my stand
With my plumed hat in my hand,
Make my reverence to the altar,
Find the right page in my psalter,
Turn my back on holy God,
Face the girls, and wink, and nod
For a long, long time, and look
Over feather, at the folk.
Suddenly, what do I hear?
A stage whisper, all too clear,
A girl's voice, and her companion
Isn't slow at catching on.

'See that simple fellow there,
Pale and with his sister's hair
Giving me those leering looks
Wickeder than any crook's?'

'Don't you think that he's sincere?'
Asks the other in her ear.
"All I'll give him is Get out!
Let the Devil take the lout!'

Pretty payment, in return
For the love with which I burn.
Burn for what? The bright girl's gift
Offers me the shortest shrift.
I must give them up, resign
These fear-troubled hopes of mine:
Better be a hermit, thief,
Anything, to bring relief.
Oh, strange lesson, that I must
Go companionless and lost,
Go because I looked too long,
I, who loved the power of song.

(Dafydd ap Gwilym, fl. 1340-1370)