artyartie: (rome-teamcicero)
I'm currently circumventing certain state laws, and have, oh, about eight hours to kill (they think people read so damn slow online), so I have no excuse not to post!

This weekend was rather good, in retrospect. I went with my Nana and Mom to a small family gathering, and ended up talking to one of my mom's myriad cousins who is quite the amateur astronomer. We ended up chatting about Shoemaker-Levy (he knew both Shoemakers and a friend of Levy's), comets we have loved, lunar astronomy, and the Hubble Deep Field, among other things. We were both happy to find someone who could share our interest and enthusiasm - ever since I was very young and my parents gave me a telescope and The Astronomy Handbook, I've been enamored with the heavens.

Sunday my mom, dad and I ended up going to a Dodger game, and though we missed the first two innings due to LA traffic, and thus most of the scoring, it was a fun game, despite the heat. [livejournal.com profile] ainsley, I took some pictures, and even bought you a little souvenier! Afterwards, we went down to Santa Monica to kill some time, eating at a wonderful restaurant on the Promenade, watching 1408, and doing a little shopping. Borders was open late, thankfully, so I ran in and bought Roman Blood by Stephen Saylor, the first in his Roma Sub Rosa series featuring Gordianus the Finder, who is quite the character himself. I'm 90 some pages in and its a wonderful book, and it makes me wonder, again, about the writers of 'Rome.'

What the hell did they have against Tiro? Everyone else certainly fangirls him madly. He's the speaker of Imperium, Robert Harris' wonderful novel, and everyone loves him. Cicero, Tullia (in an absolutely adorable scene), Caesar, Crassus (in a rather disturbing scene) - everyone wants their own piece of the good secretary. Just from the first section I've read, Saylor has wonderfully captured Cicero and Tiro's early relationship, and even while the young Cicero is haughty and fussy, he has a gentle regard for Tiro, who is described as a lovely man with a mellifluous voice (unlike his master at this point). And Tiro? Oh, he certainly has his fun in a most amusing section around page 80.

And so again, what was up with Batboy!Tiro in the second season of Rome? I know they were out to portray Cicero as negatively as they could, especially in the first season, but why, oh why, did they have to do this to his intelligent secretary (who had been freed long before Cicero's death) who was probably more handsome than his master? It just makes me more angry the longer I think of it. So from now on, any stories with Tiro will be with a Tiro of my own choosing - because these books are starting to make me a Tiro fangirl, too.

And in happy academic news, my adviser finally e-mailed me back in response to my update - and all is good! I rather can't believe it, though he isn't the type to just say everything is fine when things aren't. Now that it's almost the middle of July, England has been on my brain every day - today when I was walking home I was imagining walking down the lush green lawns of Greenwich, beneath the cool columns, besides the Thames. Only two more months! But now I feel more prepared, academically. If only the finances will improve in the next few months...

artyartie: (PP - LizzieReading)


Oh, this web site for the movie is utterly beautiful. The concept of the daemon is so intriguing (and so very Heraclitian!) - if you haven't read The Golden Compass you should add it to your summer reading list!
artyartie: (buffyangel-ivegotatheory)
The drabbles for this week's [livejournal.com profile] rome100 challenge, Future, are just not coming tonight, so I'm going to finish packing and head to bed. I'm off to a conference in San Francisco which should not only be educational and productive, but will include the night tour of Alcatraz, bread bowls of chowder, Ghiradelli chocolate sundaes, the Wine Country, and other things purely for enjoyment. Oh, and working on that pesky paper in the rare moments of free time.

While the drabbles are being stubborn (mostly because there are so many alternate futures one can imagine), I have the worst sort of plot bunny. It's a plot warren, actually, and I probably won't seriously start writing it until May, though I'm starting to block it in my head. It's a Rome fic, of course, Cicero centered, of course, incorporating his daughter and yet trying to stay true to the show's canon. So far, the bunnies are warm and fuzzy, and I'm anxious to start working on it - but not until every assignment and my thesis prospectus is turned in. That should be excellent motivation.

And speaking of Cicero, Imperium, which I am now 200 pages into, is simply incredible. It took me about 10 pages to get into Harris' style, but his characterization is so vibrant, I could hardly put the book down. Tiro is a keen observer, Pompey is a soldier who never should have played in politics, Terentia is shrewd and fiery, Tullia is adorable, and Cicero is so very human and rich and flawed and - read this book, if you'd like another look into ancient Rome. It's out in paperback in August, if you don't want to pony up for a hardcover, or can't find it at the library.

So, in all likelihood, I won't be back until Sunday - so if I don't answer posts or stories, it's because I'm living it up in Northern California!
artyartie: (naoko-fantasygeek)
I just finished Ptolemy's Gate, the last book in the Bartimaeus trilogy, and I think this may best His Dark Materials as my favorite fantasy book ever. Children's or otherwise. I know some of you have already read the books, but for those of you who haven't, the books deal with an alternate universe where the British Empire still rules the world, and magicians rule the Empire. But their rule is anything but benevolent; if anything, their goverment is overtly facist. The protagonist, Nathaniel, is one of the most fascinating characters, and his development over the three books is so well done - and in the last book it is utterly heartbreaking. Kitty Jones, the young Resistance leader, is stunning in the last book, and the eponymous Bartimaeus of the books - while he usually provides most of the humor in the books in the form of the funniest footnotes outside of a freshman English course, has some wonderful backstory in the last volume.

I stayed up the entire night to read it, and decided not to watch an episode or two of MI-5 just to stay up and read. Even now, my eyes are filled with tears - the last volume was just *that* good. A book hasn't affected me this much in quite a while.
artyartie: (HH-happiestmoment)
In the excitement over, well, getting into one of my grad schools, I forgot to mention another really cool thing that happenned on Monday. I won tickets to see KT Tunstall!

KBCO, one of the few decent stations up here, was having a contest for their members to win tickets to the show and a private set before hand. Only 50 people would be picked, and each would be able to bring a guest. I entered, thinking it would be nice if I won but highly unlikely all the same. Well, Monday afternoon, before I got the good news in the snail mail, I got the e-mail announcing out of 1500 entries, my name had been among the 50.

"Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!"

I e-mailed [profile] otahyoni and asked if she wanted to come - she's a new convert to KT and we had been thinking of getting together next weekend. Amazingly, she could and so yesterday night we were at the Fox Theatre in Boulder, rocking out to KT. In person. And we got to meet her after the private set and get a poster signed. I didn't bring the liner to my album (which is the import, as this was pre-her-coming-over-here), but she's simply amazing in person. Energetic with a wicked sense of humor, an adorable Scottish accent and musical talent in spades and hecatombs. She did *every* song off "Eye to the Telescope" and two from her singles, though "Girl and the Ghost" wasn't among them. "Another Place to Fall" was really, really good live, and for "Heal Over" she sang over a cello solo - I think I was "guhhhh, KT and cello, guhhhhh" at that point. The opening band was good but mellow to the point of coma-inducing, and the benches against the wall make you have ridiculously straight posture, but those were the only two not-amazingly-wonderful about the evening.

So Monday? Awesome day. Tuesday? Natch.

I'm waiting to hear from the chair of the Martime Studies department at ECU, as well as San Diego, to find out when I might get my proposed aid package. So even with Monday's jubilation, I'm still a bit antsy. I was all ready to be patient for another week or two, and then one school jumped the gun!

Bookwise, I've started the second in the Bartimaeus trilogy. If you love a good fantasy novel, read these books. They're technically for young adults but they are amazingly good, and need more attention! I just finished The Brave Sailors by V.A. Stuart, which was rather good - and written by a woman who served in the British armed forces. Much better than the Ramage novel I tried to read and just couldn't finish.

Grrrrr

Feb. 20th, 2006 11:31 pm
artyartie: (suppi-what?)
With my piddly income from last year, I more than qualify for Turbo Tax's free filing program. But evidently I hit the wrong button and now it's trying to get me to pay for the full blown deluxe version. Grrrr. So tomorrow, when I'm coherent, I will go to a different site with free filing for those of us in the lower tax brackets.

I currently have two job prospects out now, after posting my resume on Craigslist. Honestly, that site works better than Monster. The University of Denver job didn't quite work out, unfortunately, but both of these sounds like enjoyable work and they pay well. And hopefully, I won't have to work at these jobs for long, with the prospect of school. All I need is two more letters of rec and I can send my applications off - and then you all get to go through my grad school anxiety, part II. I think I'm in a better place, mentally, than last year, though not having a job has me a little antsy right now. Just too much uncertainty at once! Thankfully I'm nowhere near the point where the stress is so bad I can't read - that happenned a few years ago and it was just horrible. I could barely read a magazine. But still, it would be nice for April to be here, and with it a job and an acceptance letter.

But speaking of books, I've been busy! I just finished Peter Raven Under Fire an Age of Sail book for 5th-6th grade readers, that had a lot of potential but the characters ended up being a little flat - and the female lead was a compete Mary Sue, sadly. Also in the Age of Sail vein, but much funnier, are the Pirates! books. Do not read them in public unless you want people looking at you as you laugh. I should really quote some of the best lines here. Also, I'm almost done with the first in the Bartimaeus(sp) trilogy, and I'm rather enjoying the read. Next up I have a particularly biting satire of The DaVinci Code - The DaVinci Cod. Unfortunately, it helps if you've read the original to 'get' the parody - he skewers Brown's writing and his more ludicrous bits (his protagonist is a professor of anagrammology - a field as made up as religious symbology) - I can't wait for him to rip into Brown's depiction of college classes. And the romance. And the really silly puzzles any third-grade girl could solve. *coughs* Er, if you like the original, I wouldn't read my journal in May, as I will probably go into a full blown rant against the book and the subsequent PR blitz for the movie.
artyartie: (HH-Artyartie)
It's worse than being a kid in a candy store - it's more like being an alcoholic in a wine cellar, where they keep pushing free bottles at you.

It was the MPBA trade show, and it was glorious )

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