17 May 2016


Character Connection 53

Created by The Introverted Reader

If we have different personalities in different languages, are we also different readers? That is, if what we project outward changes depending on the medium of projection, does what we take in also change, for the same reason? I'm going to say yes, though this is one (more?) hypothesis I will never be able to test, because of my experience with the German translation of a novel I was already familiar with in English.

Since it is very likely that you are also already familiar with this novel, see if you can figure out which scene the excerpt is from before I reveal the answer . . .

12 May 2016


The Thirteenth Thing about The Matrix

Can I get distracted or what? When I started writing my review Twelve Things about The Matrix, I had no plans to get really philosophical about the blaue Kapsel and the rote Kapsel. But these two really do take over every discussion of the film (especially in deutsch? =P), and I hadn't realised that I totally failed to say what I had actually set out to say until, well, just now.

The gruene Kueche

I'm not the only one who isn't too impressed by those pills. The Oracle, magic mirror and lovely lady, shows us the truth about the red pill very clearly: it's nothing but a glorified oatmeal cookie . . . not very different from a glorified steak. If the condition for your happiness is a red pill that you think is being kept from you, how is that any different from the condition for the same being a blue pill that is also being kept from you? Accordingly, my defense of blue pill existence is not a defense of unconsciousness, but a defense of personal accountability. The idea of the red pill has unfortunately become a way for people to blame others for their own self-inflicted problems. Yet as true as this is, it does sidestep the essential question of whether or not the Matrix truly exists.

So let's go in the other direction now and see what happens when we have some hard evidence that the Matrix is real . . .

04 May 2016


Reading Diary: BSC #18 Stacey's Mistake by Ann M. Martin

Remember the Baby-sitters Club I used to belong to in Stoneybrook? Well, I sort of carried the club back to New York with me, except that I'm the only member of the city branch. For some reason, none of my friends here seem interested in sitting. On the one hand, this is nice, because there are plenty of little kids in my building, so I get lots of jobs. On the other hand, I have to turn down lots of jobs, too, and I always feel bad about that. Besides, I miss the meetings our club used to hold.

Well, anyway, a total of five parents called up a whole month in advance to ask me to baby-sit on the afternoon of the big meeting. I felt bad about turning four of the families down, especially when the parents were all going to be at the same place for the same time. If only--

And that was when I got my brilliant idea.

It looks as if Baby-sitters Club President Kristy Thomas isn't the only one who can have really brilliant baby-sitting-related ideas! But only Stacey McGill would think of mixing business with the pleasures of a weekend-long sleepover and a boy-girl party in New York City. It sounds fantastic, doesn't it? So why isn't the title something closer to Stacey's Great Idea?

My wild guess is that it's because the most accurate label for this book would be Ann M. Martin's Mistake. I refer, of course, to her late-rued decision to make Stacey move away in BSC #13: Goodbye Stacey, Goodbye--which she corrected as soon and as credibly as she could. But if there is a part of her that wishes she could go back in time and prevent herself from even needing to correct it, then there is a part of her that is open to a parallel universe in which this book never existed. In that universe, we'd still have all the subsequent Stoneybrook-set stories, since it would just be a matter of dropping Stacey back into them. But we wouldn't have this particular adventure at all.

And there really is an AU feel to the baby-sitting part of the story . . .

22 April 2016


Twelve Things about The Matrix

12. The last time I brought The Matrix into a movie post, I was pretty negative about it. You could say it is the "poster film" for everything Alone says is wrong with modern men. While I still agree with his analysis, I'm no longer totally on board with his analogy. I was moved to revisit this story a few nights ago because I'm currently reading Bis(s) zum Morgengrauen von Stephenie Meyer (wisst ihr: Twilight--oder: "Everything that is wrong with modern Maedchen?"--in deutsch) and it has dawned on me that Neo and Bella are the same type of character . . . and their stories are the same type of myth.

If you're a regular here, then you already know that what I'm going to say is that The Matrix and Twilight are both modern reimaginings of Snow White.

11. Red apple, red pill: is there really any difference? Both are symbols pointing to something that will change your life so completely that the best analogy for it is death. Or to be more accurate, death and rebirth. (Oh, hey, we're still in Easter season!)

10. So which pill would you pick? Answer honestly . . .

16 April 2016


Eurovision 2016: Big Five and Host

There are two things that define my life these days: the Tridentine Mass and the Eurovision Song Contest. I figured that I should get a blog post out of at least one of them . . . and the ESC won out. It would be a little too indulgent to review all forty-three entries, but I figured the six automatic qualifiers should, you know, automatically qualify for a post.


Well, it seems I'm the only one who not only really likes Sweden's entry this year, but also prefers it to the song with which they won last year! I guess I'm fed up with humanist hymns atheist anthems that were written to the scale of the biggest stage in the world . . . but that you couldn't really sing to a child at home. In all seriousness, one thing I ask when I evaluate a Eurovision entry is, "Could little children and their grandparents have fun singing this together?" Granted, a breakup song like this one probably doesn't cut the cheese as well as I'd like. But the light melody makes the overall effect one of playfulness. And if you can tell a story like Naso d'Argento in the nursery, then you can sing the "devil in disguise" lyric there, too. I also really like the structure of the song, and its irony, both of which are worthy of last year's Nonsense and Some Sense Verse Writers Smackdown.

03 April 2016


Twelve Things about Hannah Montana: The Movie

12. Well, it's easy to see why Miley Cyrus used to be such a huge child star. I found her annoying when Hannah Montana was at its peak, but seven years later, I can be fairer. Gosh, she was cute! And very, very talented.

11. Notwithstanding my initial reaction to it, the Hannah Montana concept also made for the right show at the right time. While girls have been dreaming about being big stars since at least Mary Pickford's heyday, there were always clear lines between their fantasy lives and cold, hard reality. That hasn't been the case since the Hannah Montana target audience entered its tweens. This is the first generation of girls to lead double lives comparable to that of their idol, thanks to media: their real lives and their projected lives on social media accounts.

And let's remember now that before they had their own social media accounts, they guest starred on those of their parents. Likewise, Miley--the real Miley--could never have achieved her stardom without her famous father Billy Ray.

10. It seems that every modern children's movie must have the obligatory klutzy father slapstick comedy sequence. It's not a trend I like very much, but I can't get upset about it here. For we have since learned that "Robby Ray's" gratuitous playing of the clown in this scene . . .

31 March 2016


Life as a Language Learning Challenge, Step 5

So far, so good . . . I've been counting and doing sums exclusively in L2 for months and praying the rosary in anything but L1. The only bad news is that giving up Il Volo for Lent made L3 take a hit that even Grisu Il Draghetto couldn't shield it against. (Happy Easter, by the way . . . That is: Frohe Ostern, uebrigens! And Buona Pasqua!)

The latest great way that life and language learning has overlapped is in my crafting hobbies . . .