November 27th, 2003


It's been bound to happen; it kept almost happening; it finally did happen: I am completely and utterly swamped. I have about four times as much work as I have time. Some of it crucial and some merely important; none is negligible.

Having just finished reading this week's portion of Dickens's Bleak House, I am to read the next portion (weighing 340K in plaintext, to give you an idea) by Monday.

I have about 15 articles to read for Prof. Ben-Porat's seminar to begin, and I'm only halfway through the first.

I have a few dozen more pages to go in Balzac's Pere Goriot, which would then free me (ha!) to begin Austen's Emma, and to finish Njal's Saga, which I'm halfway through but have not been reading for a couple of months. These three must be read by the beginning of December.

Aside from that, there are ongoing assignments in Greek (I've been doing only small bits of the assigned homework, and submitting none for correction) and Greek History (five more essays by the end of next week), and Latin homework (easy, not much of a time drain).

Then there's work (four days a week, a couple of hours each day), the much-neglected BY project, and preparing the glossary and notes for the third book of the Iliad by Thursday.

I just can't do it. I'm bound to drop some of these balls. So far, BY and Greek were the balls I was dropping mostly, more by inaction than by decision. I feel terrible about this, but the only relief I can think of is taking unpaid vacation from work for the remainder of the semester. Probably possible, but would cause the project some considerable strain. I'm still treating the idea as a last resort.

This entry is by way of explaining my relative inactivity in LJ, both in reading and in writing. And now, back to the books.

Oh, the title alludes to a character in Bleak House and to my situation.
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    Dexter Gordon -- Blue Bossa

Announcing techij

On some rare occasions, I feel like saying something about technical matters -- software engineering, computers, the technical sides of the Internet, that kind of thing. I don't think it would interest most of my LJ friends, and am myself interested in separating the tech stuff from my general journal.

I have therefore created techij, where I shall be posting technical entries. If you think you might be interested in my (infrequent) thoughts and rants on technical issues, go ahead and add techij as a friend.

<ObMASHQuote>That is all.</ObMASHQuote>
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    Shlomo Ydov, Shlomo Gronich, Shem Tov Levy - Shemi's Piece


Umberto Eco stole my thesis!

Well, okay, apparently he said it when I was still completely engrossed with the magic of Pascal, and long before I thought of the theory of literature, and, okay, the thesis could not have been thought up without ygurvitz's and my immersion in Eco's Foucault's Pendulum, so he would have been the godfather of the thesis anyhow, but... ni!
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    Meir Ariel -- Tsedek Tsedek Tirdof

The Divinity of Paper

"How strange a thing this Art of writing did seem at its first Invention, we may guess by the late discovered Americans, who were amazed to see Men converse with Books, and could scarce make themselves to believe that a Paper could speak. ...

There is a pretty Relation to this Purpose, concerning an Indian Slave; who being sent by his Master with a Basket of Figs and a Letter, did by the Way eat up a great Part of his Carriage, conveying the Remainder unto the Person to whom he was directed; who when he read the Letter, and not finding the Quantity of Figs answerable to what was spoken of, he accuses the Slave of eating them, telling him what the Letter said against him. But the Indian (notwithstanding this Proof) did confidently abjure the Fact, cursing the Paper, as being a false and lying Witness.

After this, being sent again with the like Carriage, and a Letter expressing the just Number of Figs, that were to be delivered, he did again, according to his former Practice, devour a great Part of them by the Way; but before meddled with any, (to prevent all following Accusations) he first took the Letter, and hid that under a great Stone, assuring himself, that if it did not see him eating the Figs, it could never tell of him; but being now more strongly accused than before, he confesses the Fault, admiring the Divinity of the Paper, and for the future does promise his best Fidelity in every Employment."
John Wilkins
Mercury; or, The Secret and Swift Messenger

cited by Umberto Eco in his first Tanner lecture
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    Meir Ariel -- Terminal Luminalt