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Showing posts from March, 2011

A Five-Minute Post

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I have promised myself that I will give regular time to my research, so as much as I would like to spend the next two hours either blogging here or reading J.R.R. Tolkien's "On Fairy Stories" for the fourth (or so) time, I am going to do some translating.  Which means, alas, that I do not have time to tell you about how sweet it was on Sunday getting third in our local Veterans' foil event, especially since it meant winning several bouts (pools and a DE) against fencers who were much more experienced and much more highly rated than I.  So you'll just have to imagine the grin.  And the joy that I took in knowing that I was fencing really, really well, at least for that afternoon.

Photo by Jon-Girl, RedStar Fencing Club.  (That's me in the stripey socks.)

Hail, Mary

Full of grace...  I have only a little while before the dog is going to need to go out and I've promised myself to spend it translating.  But how can I not say a greeting to Mary, on this her day of days? 

The Lord is with you...  And yet it is so very hard to drag my thoughts from the mundane to the historical, never mind from the perennial worries of the everyday to the transcendence of salvation.

Blessed are you among women...  I'm not, which is one of the things that I'm worrying about.  I'm having an attack of the uglies, having gotten my hair cut this past week and feeling even more middle-aged and dumpy.  Nor does it help having just measured myself so as to be able to order a costume for my end-of-quarter party that actually fits, now that I am inches and inches fatter than the one I wore the first time my friend (alas, no longer a friend) and I co-taught the course. 

And blessed is the fruit of your womb...  And so I've been thinking this morning about what…

Against Books

I don't understand it. I used to love books. I've even posted about how much having books has been a part of my life. Now I want nothing more to get rid of them.  All of them.*

I could blame Kindle. Kindle, you see, makes it possible to have books without having to physically keep them, which is a large part of the frustration I am feeling about all of the books that I have that are not on my iPad Kindle. See, there they are on the shelves, gathering dust, piles upon piles of them, overflowing onto the dresser and floor. Now that I have a Kindle app, I don't have to find shelf space for any of the new books that I buy, I can just read them and archive them, there in the ether.

You'd think that this would make me sad. It's what everyone always asks about when you start showing off how easy it is to download books into the app. "But don't you miss the feel of the book, turning the pages, having the object as a marker for the experience of reading?&qu…

Not Quite Spring Break

I'm late. I should have started working on my John of Garland translation at least a half an hour ago. But I overslept. And the dog pooped in my son's room. And then there were those emails to answer. And I'm worrying about getting everything ready in time for "Tolkien" to start next week. And there are papers to grade this afternoon and tomorrow morning if I am to get the grades for Winter quarter in on time. Not a crisis, just not a break. And it's only the first day of spring--break, that is. I wonder what it would be like to take a holiday during spring break. Oh, right, I did that already while the students were writing their exams. If only my head would clear so that I could get started on the Latin. Stupid daylight savings time. I spent all last week with narcolepsy, nap attacks at the drop of a hat. Or the nod of a head. I wish that I could get everything scheduled properly for next quarter, but I'm waiting on responses from other p…

Tolkien 2011

I had such a good time reading the posts that my students did for A Blog of Beasts! that I'm doing it again for this coming quarter. Welcome to Middle-earth!

(Extra credit if you can translate the motto under the blog title!)

Signal Victories

Fencing my pools in my first event (Vet WF) just right, keeping focused and not taking any outcome for granted, knowing that it was going to be difficult to win every bout, thinking about how I had fenced my opponents the last time (there aren't that many of us; most of the time we have fenced each other before at some point) and using that knowledge to think about how to fence them that day.

Helping my friend stay focused during her first NAC competition in two and a half years after she injured herself. Helping her watch her opponents and think about one thing at a time that she could work on. Being able to explain to her what happened in her last bout so that she didn’t beat herself up for not fencing it as well as she would have liked.

Learning something during almost every bout (except that last one), including how to make a preparation in epee (woohoo!!! You have no idea how big this is for me, almost as big as being able to follow my coach's instruction; see next vict…

Why That Last Bout Really Sucked

I had to pee--badly.

She kept rushing at me.

I couldn't hit her with anything.  Not even when I tried rushing her back.

The ref didn't see my parries.  Or, at least, what I thought were my parries.

I didn't take my coach's advice.

I rushed.

I lost my game--and my point control.

I had gone into the bout seeded above her.

Worse, it was my first time ever coming out of the pools in Div III WF seeded in the top 32 (at 31 out of 89; she was 34th--before our bout).

I knew she hadn't been fencing very long because my coach said she knew her.

I felt overconfident.

I felt underconfident.

I couldn't figure out what I needed to do.

I let her control the tempo.  And the distance.

I kept pulling my arm back, even on my attacks.

I was afraid of her blade.

I wanted to play it cool, search her out, set up my attacks properly, but she didn't give me time.

I let her fluster me.

It didn't feel like fencing.

I didn't just lose.  I was defeated. 

And after it was over, …

Detroit NAC

My head hurts, my eyes are still healing, I haven't been able to get to practice more than once a week for months, what between the holidays, getting the flu, not being able to drive, and my coach starting a new club and taking all of my practice mates with him. But I'm here, and that is something. Or, rather, my human avatar is here, while I, Fencing Bear, am still at home, sitting on the top of the dresser where RLFB put me so as to be safe from the Dragon Baby. Somehow in the excitement of trying to get out of the door in time to catch the bus yesterday, she forgot me!!! This does not bode well. Except, as I said before, I'm here, equipment checked and ready to fence. Sort of.

Alas, my head really does hurt, perhaps from all of the excitement yesterday of getting into Detroit. On the bus--and then walking around the corner past the beggars and the boarded up shops and into the luxury hotel where somehow we got rooms for the tournament. A city of juxtapositions…

Confessions of a Graphophobe

Hi, my name is Fencing Bear, and I have a writing problem.  (Witnessed at this very moment by the fact that I suddenly can't think of what to say next, even though I've been mulling over this post for a good two or three days.)  Simply put, I am afraid of writing.  Scared witless.  Terrified.  No, I can't think of a strong enough word to describe what I am going through.  What I go through every time I sit down to write something other than a purely stream of consciousness blogpost, and sometimes even then.  Letters of reference may be the worst, followed closely by book reviews, but in actual fact, there is nothing that I find easy to write, except, very possibly, emails, although now that I think about it, sometimes I balk at those, too.  And academic writing?  Well, let's not even go there.  Because, you know, I haven't, not really, not for a good year and a half.  Sure, I've written a few conference papers in that time, even a plenary address, and edited a …

Meanwhile, over at the Psalter of the BVM...

I've started posting my translation of John of Garland's epic (and I do mean epic--over 200 pages in verse in the modern critical edition) Epithalamium beate virginis Marie as a way of easing myself into actual scholarly writing again.  So far, so good, as long as I tell myself I only have to work on it three mornings a week--but that, at the same time, Imust work on it three mornings a week.  Yesterday (an "off" day), I started a page on John of Garland himself, so that readers unfamiliar with John (pretty much everyone, he is not very well-known today) can learn a little about him before plunging into the text.  I wish that I were able to translate into actual poetry; at the moment, I'm going for "not horribly clunky."  Responses very, very welcome!

Bad Dog

I know that my neighbors are most probably right (at least, in a Millian sense), but I still insist that they're overreacting.

They say that the Dragon Baby barks too much when she's outside in our building's backyard, but I know that she usually stops after about a minute (real time) and that if she doesn't, I call her in.

They say that she has pulled branches off of the bushes, but I know that she doesn't usually tug on live plants and I suspect that what has happened is that the branches broke off when the bushes were buried in snow and that she simply pulled them out of the drifts.

They say that she gets too excited when our janitor is out collecting the trash from our porches, but I know that he doesn't mind her barking because I have asked him over and over whether I should bring her in and he says, "No, she's fine.  I like dogs."

They say that she shouldn't be left out alone, but I know that I never let her out unless I am able to listen to…

Time to Play

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The Dragon Baby and her buddy Maxwell share a stick. Because, you know, they can.

Photo by Maxwell's person, Barnaby Riedel.