Thursday, October 07, 2004

French Speak, and All That

I'm finishing up Angela Carter's Heroes & Villains (which I enjoy because it's - because it's Angela Carter), and there's this quote at the beginning:

"Ou fuir, dans un pays inconnu, desert, ou habite par des betes feroces, et par des sauvages aussi barbares qu'elles?"

Now, my grandmother is from France (she was a war bride, straight out of formerly-occupied Nancy), my father was born there and lived there for seven years and used to speak fluent French, and I've taken two years of college French, but because I'm an American, I'm not fluent in any second language like, say, everybody else in the rest of the world. However, I do know that this says something about deserts, and living, and savages, but I can't lick it out, so I engaged the help of these... um, not-so-helpful translators:

From Babble Fish:

"Or to flee, in does an unknown country, desert, or live by betes feroces, and qu'elles such cruel savages?"

From Google:

"Or to flee, in does an unknown country, desert, or live by betes feroces, and savages as cruel as they?"

From Free-Translator:

"Or to flee, in does an unknown country, deserted, or live by wild animals, and savages as cruel as they?"

I'm assuming this is an expansion of Nietzsche's "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster," quote.

Likely, it means something like this: "Or in fleeing into an unknown country, desert, or place of wild beasts, does one become as cruel as they?"

Reminds me that I should be taking French classes on Saturdays. And reminds me just how lacking all of these online translators still are.

Outta Here

I'm taking tomorrow off work to do some less distraction-filled fiction writing.

Just got back from lunch, where I was told that my credit card had expired ::insert a moment of mind-numbing terror here:: Gave over my bank card. Unfortunately, my bank card only had $10 on it, and lunch came to $11.53.

To my surprise, said card went through - Dell hasn't cashed my $100 computer payment yet. But when they do, guess who's getting double check-bouncing charges! Me! Me!

I have $1 in my wallet. I'm going to the bank tomorrow morning and putting it into my account (which now stands at exactly $99.37 - wouldn't that be great, getting charged $60 in check bouncing fees for 53 cents?). And then I'm going through all my stuff so I can figure out where I put my new Master Card.... otherwise, I'm not buying any groceries this week.

Credit: a liberal arts major's best friend.

The Way to Run a Debate

This is how the debate should have run. Now *that* would have been a smart, informed, pissing contest.

Smart guys are hot.

Today's Mixed Bag

Wheee! The Ladies' Auxillary is going to Iraq! To teach Iraqi women how to be "real women" instead of Evil Feminists! Go Lynn Cheney!

And, for something completely different:

Be sure to check out Team America sneak peaks coming in on the 9th, with an opening day of the 15th. If you haven't heard about it (do you live in a hole in the ground?) it's the latest raunchy offering from Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park fame. They're out to put the "F" Back in Freedom - with puppets.

Here's an interview snippet, which helps illustrate why I love these guys:

"For better or worse, we don't have a manager, we don't have a publicist, we don't have a managed image, you know what I mean? We can fucking do whatever we want," Stone says.

"And sometimes it succeeds and sometimes it totally fails, but we just do what we want, 'cause you know, the times we've done what we want, it turned into South Park, which everyone told us would be a big failure.

"If we're gonna lose -- if we're gonna be fuckin' losers -- we're just gonna lose our own way."

The Writing Life, & etc.

My buddy Jenn forwarded this to me: THE SECRET DIARY OF EDITOR #19!

And, my personal favorites:




Hot Time On the Old Town Tonight

Yesterday was the third day in a row of fighting classes, and I still haven't managed to shake this cough of mine, and it appears to be culminating in the loss of my voice (this happens at least twice a year, during the changing of the major seasons).

So at about 40 minutes into class last night, I was exhausted - body shaking, sore muscles, wobbly stance exhausted. We were doing a cardio Krav Maga class, which is heavy bag work (kicking and punching techniques) cut through with ab work, lunges, and push-ups.

As we got to the very end of class, Sifu Katalin had us get into and hold a plank position. This isn't actually a very difficult thing to hold - it's basically holding yourself up into a push-up position, tightening up your core, and holding it for a minute. Doing this as part of a pilates class, or at the *beginning* of any other class, isn't difficult in the least. Doing this at the end of a cardio Krav Maga class, as the third day in a row of classes when you're used to doing two days a week... was harder.

"Hold it," Sifu Katalin said. "Twenty more seconds. Close your eyes if you have to. It'll help. Get through it."

And I closed my eyes and quite literally went away. My brain just sort of clicked off from my body and said, "See ya," and I fell back into my writerly fantasyland - I think I ran through some Delaraan plot point I'm cleaning up in book one, with dancing and dog riders.

I descended into blackness for the last twenty seconds, until Sifu Katalin said: "Time" - and then I crumpled.

Tuesday was a really frustrating boxing class. I was paired with an Amazon-like purple belt, Jai, who helped me through the uppercuts. I find throwing uppercuts to the body really awkward, and I've apparently been keeping my feet too narrow while in my fighting stance. I wasn't feeling well, and I was really fucking frustrated.

Jai said, "How long have you been doing this?"

I lied and said three months, when in fact it's been four. That's how bad I thought I was doing.

She just laughed at me. "I've been doing this three years," she said, "and I used to teach boxing at another school. Don't get frustrated. C'mon, tall girl, you've narrowed your stance again."

My friends have gotten to the point where they know me well enough to help me understand the significance of events in their lives by giving me a writing analogy. My buddy Ryan was asked by a formidable guest dancing instuctor to give an example of a form during class, and he said - without my prompting - "It would be like a really famous author holding up an example of your work to the class and saying, `this is how it's done.'" My buddy Patrick once explained how me dropping out of being a bridesmaid at my best friend Stephanie's wedding would be "on par with an editor buying your novel, getting through rewrites and bluelines and shit, and then saying, 'Oh, hey, we just had a strategy shift, and we need this all ironed out in one book -- and we need there to be at least three enormous fight scenes with riding dogs in them. You've got ten days, or else the book will never get published.'"

I love my friends.

So, coming home from class last night, sore and exhausted and knowing that I still had one more class tonight in order to hit my new four-days-a-week goal, I equated my frustration with a wannabe writer being pissed off because they wrote for an hour every day for four months, and they still weren't making a living by writing books.

And I thought of how long and hard I would laugh at that person.

I'm doing OK.