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About this blog

Random musings on Romance

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Quite The Perfect Day

Sausalito--or 'The Land of the Little Willows' as the Spaniards called it--lies just on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. For the past 54 years they have an arts and crafts festival that rivals any other, with middle-to-very-high end pottery, jewelry, paintings, photography, and the like (yes, and the prices to match).   This year, my parents and I went to it, just to see what we could see. Gesu Maria...wow...I mean, some really great stuff, that took our breath away. There was this jade and fresh-water pearl pendant and earring set that was gorgeous...just simply gorgeous. Sand-blasted vases that were in beautiful designs. Abstract-ish paintings with 3-d presentations that stood out from EVERYTHING. We were in love with many pieces, yet came home without any tokens--it's amazing the prices that they were charging. But, it was an outstanding day...and lead to us eating at Caesar's.   Every family has their 'traditions', and for our family it's no different. Back in the day, as the kids say, my maternal grandfather ran the bar at Bimbo's, a San Francisco institution since Prohibition. In 1954, the Bimbo's owners wanted to move to another location (on Kearny, if I recall), and so they did...and in 1956, Caesar's restaurant opened. And we've been going ever since. My grandfather moved to the Villa d'Este (on Ocean, for those who know SF), but we continued to go ever since. It's the place where we go on very special occasions--well, let me rephrase, because I swear my brother Matt's up there once every couple of weeks. The main bartender now, Tony, had an uncle who used to tend bar for my great uncle (my grandfather's brother); Uncle Ning ran the Philosopher's Club in West Portal for 42 years. Small bleeping world. My parents, my brother Matt and I sat at the bar for like an hour, bs'ing with Tony and such, reminiscing about Ning/Angelo (in the family we called him 'Ning', which meant 'baby' in our Genovese dialect, but everyone else knew him as 'Angelo' or 'Ang'). I miss that man terribly...and I think we all did in that bar tonight.   Caesar's is typical Northern Italian food--most of SF Italian food is either Genovese/Northern based or Tuscan based, since that was the population of North Beach until the 1930s--with a specialty in seafood. Their 7-course meal is too much food for us normally, but we still ordered the antipasto to go with our a la carte meal (which is still pasta, entree, and coffee). Madonna, Madonna, Madonna...I forgot how damn good it was. It's typical for what I would call 'Genovese' antipasto, but maybe it's just what I grew up with: marinated peppers, marinated butter beans, some mortadella or salame, ceci and kidney beans, antipasto misto (which is a few veggies in a tomato 'marinade'), celery hearts, olives. We hadn't had this in YEARS...like, June of 2000...and we gobbled it up. I swear, nothing reminds me of home, nothing is comfort food, like antipasto. It was followed by a small plate of rigatoni rigate with a bit of bolognese, just enough to satisfy. My parents had the combo seafood platter--filet of sole, prawns, and bay scallops--while I had the grilled orange roughy; Matt couldn't stray from his 'usual', veal parmiggiano.   Oh, and we downed a bottle of zin (not my favorite, but Matt brought it, so who am I got argue?), on top of the glass of wine we had together at the wine bar on Chestnut (California Wine Merchants in Cow Hollow, for those who know SF), and the very strong drink we had at Caesar's bar. I dare say, I feel very warm right now...both from the alcomahol and the great day. And I do mean great day. This is what family is about: sharing experiences together, enjoying a most wonderful meal together, and bullsh*tting each other for the entire night.

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Random Observations

From time to time, I must recall certain factoids about life which are necessary to get through the day...or in order to keep my momentary sanity.   --There are more fools and ignorami in the world than you realize, and they are both scary. A fool is aware of his eejit-ness, and tries to cover it up; an ignoramus is blissfully unaware of his quality, and usually possesses a modicum of common sense.   --Follow-up #1: common sense ain't exactly all that common...and it's too bad it can't be made a mandatory part of the education of our youth.   --Many people really love to heap on the abuse to their underlings--the same abuse that they received when they were someone's underling. It isn't fair, but it's life...so f'ing deal with it.   --Follow-up #2: Dealing with it is usually a mix of exercise, talking to 'outsiders', and a Pertimaxus or 4.   --Pets, particularly dogs and cats, are so understanding and loving, and they really are part of what helps us to deal with the crap in our lives.   --Follow-up #3: Vet bills really need to be regulated. Seriously. 'Gloucosamine' for cats is 5x the price of what I buy at Costco.

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

50 Lubs

Lubs, by the way, are what many 'round here jokingly refer to as pounds...since we wish to somehow pronounce 'lbs'. Anyway...at yesterday's weigh-in, it was 50 lost since 1 June 2006! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! :punk:

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Another One Bites The Dust

For those of you who are knowledgeable in the art of writing long tomes...you'll agree with me (I think) that editing is worse than writing.   When one writes, you are creating your thoughts as you go along. Sure, you have an outline of some kind, and you're following along with your sources close by--in my case, already summarized in its own Word document, so that cut/paste is easy. But it's still flowing out of your head, through your fingers, and onto the screen in front of you. There's a creative process that is awesome; I will go a full 18 hours just of writing, if the Muses so desire. Certainly I get in a groove of a few days where it all comes flowing out, and it's pretty cool.   Editing..ugh. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and with a dissertation advisor who is 1) picky; and 2) a perfectionist in her own right, well, I'm almost scared to let a chapter go out, fearing the comments that will come back. Oh, sure, they're wonderful comments, and definitely help to clear any misconceptions that others may have. And I know damn well that a dissertation is not your life's work--it's not even going to be the best work you'll do in your academic career--but it's hard sometimes to let it go. I'm always changing a word here, a phrase there. The first edit is usually when the big block are moved, but after that it's just rewording, clearing up crummy clutter. And I honestly believe that I'm much more stressed when I edit than when I write...I'm trying to view my thoughts in the eyes of others, and that's very hard.   So, chapter 4 is out to the Powers That Be--my 2 dissertation advisors--and now I have 3 weeks to prep the 2 courses I'm teaching in the fall. I've told my advisors that I'll have the final chapter done by the end of October, which is about what I feel is right. Hopefully they'll comply!

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Aruba Pictures Up

I finally had some time to work on some pictures from the trip to Aruba last month Every underwater shot is taken by my brother Matt, and the topside shots are either mine or my mom's. I still have a few more to add, once I work on them. Anyway, enjoy!

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Just An Aside--summer Is Here!

Yesterday and today are supposed to be some of the hottest days on record. San Mateo is 20 miles south/southeast of San Francisco, and, as the crow flies, it's approximately 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean. But there's a range of 'high hills' (in other parts of the country, they'd be mountains...but they're too short for that, really) in between, so the fog and ocean breezes are affluent. It's what makes this area so amazing...the heat doesn't really come, and the fog cools us off every night.   Except now hehe   Yesterday, "officially," it was 105'F...our thermometer read 107...in the shade. At least it's dry, not sticky, so it's quite palatable. Our downstairs is up against the hill, so it's much cooler than the upstairs; so I split my time in my office (which is downstairs) and the wine cellar. My dad brought up some big fans--he uses them for when he paints, but they came in handy last night, as there was no wind and no fog.   After the sun went down, every window in the house was open to the max, and the fans were blasting. The downstairs cooled off very nicely, which made sleeping comfortable. But, whew! It felt like the Central Valley all over again!   Today Dad's power-washing the house, so it'll be much cooler in here today. But outside it'll be plenty warm; it's 9:48am, and already it's 85'F outside. It'll be another scorcher today!   (By the by...this weather makes for bad editing climes hehe)

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Once Again I Renew My Plea

Ever since my third year of college, with all of my classes being upper division in type, and with many academic writings to peruse, I have clamored for retraining of academians. And again I renew my plea.   When I become Ruler of the World, every academian will take writing courses (in the language or languages in which they publish) approximately every 5 years. In these courses, the 'students' will re-learn and refresh themselves on the proper writing styles of their genre. The first course, which is mandatory and must be passed with at least an 80%, is on clarity of writing style.   Christ Almighty, some people just can't write worth a hill of beans. It seems as if they bypassed the editory panel completely, and went from 'draft' to 'published product' in one fail swoop.   In the past week and a half I've been reviewing my notes and articles/chapters on Functionalism (in linguistics, naturally) in order to gear up to write this next chapter. There were several items which I had to re-read at least 3-4 times, simply because I couldn't understand what the person was aiming for. How many times can you contradict yourself in one paragraph? Really, it seemed like there was a competition between two writers. I won't divulge any names (you never know who's reading your column ), but there are many who need this course...and badly.   The other course, which will be mandatory for any academian (professor or lecturer) who teaches is a refresher course of teaching and presenting. Like its writing counterpart, each 'student' will have to renew their training approximately every 5 years, and will have to pass with at least 80%. Unlike the writing course, this other course will be multi-lateral: part methodology, part diction, and part speech/presentation skills. Seriously, I know that professors at Research I universities are hired because of their research and not for their teaching...but if you can't understand what the bloody hell the instructor is saying, or what they wish to say, or even what they plan on placing on the test...how are you expected to pass a course, let alone retain any information in the future?   Ok, back to writing.

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

And Several Rum Drinks Later...

I just got back last night from a week in Aruba. It's a great place...much like Hawaii in terms of atmosphere and activities, but because it's more of a desert-landscape than the lush tropical one that the Hawaiian Islands offer. Otherwise...wow. Just...wow.   Anyway, the island of Aruba, like its sisters of Bonaire and Cura

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

The Frustrations About Not Being A Semiticist

There are certain words in Old Castilian that occur in my dataset which I have traced their etymology...and they are Arabic borrowings. Not unusual at all; because of almost 800 years of Moorish rule, and the close contact between the Romance-speaking Iberians, the Jewish shopkeepers and the Arabic-speaking Moors, there's about 10% of the Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan vocabularies which is Semitic (mostly Arabic) in origin.   So, I have about 8 words in my dataset which are Arabic in origin, and I want to find out their gender in Arabic. I don't care so much about the gender inflection--Semitic inflection is different than Indo-European inflection, and they don't mix well. Often the word would be borrowed wholesale, and the gender that was associated with it would be applied (if possible).   Do you have any idea who difficult it is to look up words in an Arabic-English (or Arabic-French) dictionary when it is: (a) organized according to the Arabic alphabet, not the English (or French); and (2) all of the Arabic words are written in Arabic script??? I can't find a blessed thing. And this is frustrating; Stanford must have 10 different Arabic-English dictionaries, plus 2 Arabic-French ones. I can't find a bleeping word. I have no idea where to start. Not even the first one.   So, excusing me while I'm cranky...I have a headache from all the funny-looking symbols.

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Socrus Non Socra

Ah, the Appendix Probi...so many online versions...so much to choose from! (I'm in search of a good paper copy, and in something I can read the commentary on...any suggestions?) It's an amazing work--someone, whose name is lost to us, decided to sit down and document what he (I assume the author was not female?) heard. Tired of constantly correcting the people's speech pattern verbally, this auteur decided to write it all out...and publish it so that people can 'speak proper Latin'. Incredible document...not just for the pure linguistic content, but I think for the social aspect.   --In total, it's almost all single words, not grammatical phrasal units. There are a few 'multi-word' entries, but they deal with modifier formation more than anything. All words are tackled, both content (nouns, verbs, adjectives) and functional (prepositions, adverbs) are in there.   --Socially-speaking, it takes an incredibly anally-retentive and strict person to constantly make such notations. The attention to detail is quite extraordinary. My money is the author was a grammar/school teacher, an accountant (c'mon, they've always been nerdy and detail-oriented, and bit socially awkward), or perhaps just an upper-crust elitist who snubs their nose at the common folk and their vulgar speech.   Great document, that one.   I don't know how good it is, but here is a link to an online encyclopedia of Marcus Valerius Probus...a possible relative/ancestor of the Probi of the Appendix Probi.

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Al Principio...

This is just to start things off...I view this blog as a way to do a couple of things:   --As ideas come to my head for possible future research, I'll place them on here...if nothing else than to philosophize on them for a bit.   --To expound a bit on topics of the Romance languages (and perhaps others) which come up on UNRV.   Since I'm in the middle of writing my dissertation, I'm either going to have no time to write often, am going to be fried when I do it, or will be on here often because I'm procrastinating (and I'm predicting option C will be most common ). So be patient, both with the frequency of the posts and the innanity that might ensue. I promise I'll try to keep things relatively lay-friendly, but am more than willing to do a 'Introduction to Linguistics' course in order to educate the public. Heck, it's what I do anyway   So...enjoy!

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

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