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My Fabulous Wednesday - Impressions and Expressions of Ijon
March 8th, 2003
09:25 pm


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My Fabulous Wednesday
Let it be known that I am very disappointed with all of you. Despite my explicit request, none of you has called me names, except for the vigilant ukelele, whom I am not disappointed with at all.

That said, here are way too many words about my fabulous Wednesday.

On Tuesday evening, I was very worried about the Greek aorist form. I hadn't had time to review the aorist in time for the quiz on it, and missed class (for the first and only time) when it was taught due to my grandmother's memorial service. The aorist is not very difficult, but somehow not learning it with everyone made it into an obstacle. That evening I realized how much of my self-confidence I had staked on success in my Greek studies. So, I decided to sit down and tackle it properly. Four hours later, I got the aorist down pat, and was prepared for the quiz on Wednesday morning. I had no trouble with the quiz, and expect a high score. That left me feeling great -- I surpassed the obstacle. In hindsight, it really doesn't seem too big, but the feeling was quite significant; again, this is probably because I'm very "emotionally invested" in succeeding at Greek.

Then I had a little discussion about art with a fellow student, and when I said I like impressionist painting, she smiled and said "well, everybody likes impressionist painting..." I was surprised to hear that, and questioned her certainty. Another student, overhearing our conversation, nodded her solemn agreement with the assertion that tout le monde likes impressionism. I vowed to put this question to the honorable jury of my peers, hence my poll. I have already e-mailed her a link to the poll results, that clearly and indisputably refute her preposterous claim :)

In my class on von Kleist, Göthe's Wanderers Nachtlied (Wanderer's Nightsong) was mentioned, and the lecturer went so far as to bring a cute little book with the poem in the original German and no less than thirty-six(!) different translations into Hebrew, by some well-known poets and translators as well as little-known translators dating back to the 19th century, before the revival of Hebrew. He passed the book around during the lesson, for people to get an idea of the poem's simplicity and beauty, but ravell decided to pass it on to the guy behind us before I had a chance to see for myself. So when class was over, I approached the lecturer and asked to look at the book for a minute or two. The lecturer, clever man that he is, smiled and said "Here, why don't you just take this and read it at your leisure, and then return it to the central library on my behalf." Seemed like a good deal, so I agreed. I did indeed read it at my leisure, compared the translations, and was inspired to stop slacking and try to translate something on my own, as antinous urges me constantly. Haven't found the time, of course. But I do want to. I've only ever translated two poems: one was Wilde's "Requiescat", into Hebrew, and the other was Byalik's "When I Am Dead", into English.

Then came the tutorial for the delightful "Elements of Poetry" class, and we discussed Nathan Altermann's first poetry book, "Stars Outside" (כוכבים בחוץ). It is impossible to discuss the whole book in ninety minutes, of course, but the little we got to do was wonderful. I really must study that book more profoundly. The tutor also pulled a cute trick: he handed out a page with several sets of three similar stanzas, and asked us to recognize the original Altermann stanza in each set. It was fun, because some of the fake Altermannian stanzas were pretty close imitations, and some were excellent parodies. It should be fun to hand out this page (or similar ones) at our poetry seminar meetings and see how well we do.

Another thing that brightened my day a little was getting 94 (out of 100) in Prof. Perry's final exam. I honestly deserve no more than 85, in my opinion, but I'm not going to argue the matter :)

Then school was over, and I drove to work, where I managed to be very productive in the mere three hours I could devote to it. Then I was due at hattie's mansion, my faithful co-editor at Project Ben-Yehuda, for a long-overdue editorial meeting. I was excited about this, as there is so much to do in the project's task-list, and felt it would be a great way to end a great day. However, while at work I realized I am famished, not having eaten anything since Tuesday evening. I offered kritzit to join me for dinner before I go to Hattie's, but kritzit, suspiciously, said that she can't make it. Post-factum investigation revealed that she was in on the plot! My own flesh and blood! Ach...

Anyhow, I did not eat anything, and showed up at Hattie's (on time, even). The Scoundrel let me in, bade me sit down, and amused me with finger-puppets (I got the dragon, he got the clown) while the Madame was nowhere to be seen. Then her voice came from some room, and the Scoundrel said softly: "That's my cue." He then turned on the stereo and withdrew. The stereo played "All That Jazz" from the Chicago soundtrack. As the groove filled the room, Hattie emerged, wearing her most ravishing dress (the famous "marketing dress"), closely followed by the Countess Belvane belvane herself! "Foul play! Foul play!" cried a voice in my head, but I immediately realized that it is too late and that recalcitrance is nugatory. I gazed on in surprise as the ladies danced around, and when the song was over, cleared my throat and said "this is preposterous." quietly, for the record.

Hugs were exchanged, and then pasta was served. And garlic bread, and salad. And wine. I was so surprised by the whole thing that I did not realize I was still wearing the dragon finger puppet. Of course, it was in on it as well, so I could not direct its deadly fire-breath at the scheming, saucy ladies. I protested again, and was instructed to shut up and eat. I did. The pasta was divine, the bread was lovely, the salad nice and juicy. We talked, read aloud bits of "Three Men in a Boat" as well as a bit of Calvino, and I even got to recite Prufrock once. The editorial meeting was, ahem, brushed aside, but I haven't seen both friends in a long time, and it was a delightful surprise.

After bidding the unruly Madame and Countess farewell, I drove home, feeling happy and loved. At some point I turned on the radio, and it had Yehudit Ravits singing Alexander Pen's "Confession" (וידוי), which is an excellent poem superbly put to music and performed. Then I got home, fell asleep, and posted the silly poll. Or the other way around, perhaps.

Current Mood: loved
Current Music: King Crimson -- Lizard

(7 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:March 8th, 2003 05:52 pm (UTC)

The aorist isn't hard, no, in its basic form. (Yay sigmas! Except when it's the other aorist.) But in the long run it turns out to do most of the things that are cool about Greek, and be the concept that is difficult and perspective-changing, and generally to symbolize for me all that is Greekiness. So the time was well spent :).

As I think about it, I don't know if it will be perspective-changing like that for you, though, because I have no idea how Hebrew does verbs (tense, aspect, stuff like that). So maybe it will not be cool and different for you. How does Hebrew do verbs?
[User Picture]
Date:March 9th, 2003 10:18 am (UTC)
I think our class pace is fairly quick. Since completing the (first) aorist in all modi, we've done futurum and the coniunctivus modus in praesens and the aorist.

As for Hebrew verbs:
Short version: Three tenses (past, present, future), no aspect differentiation, active and passive voices, indicative, imperative, infinitive, and participle moods.
Long version: The Wikipedia entry on Hebrew Language/Morphology, which I did not write, but have edited and enhanced just now, inspired by your question.
[User Picture]
Date:March 9th, 2003 12:14 pm (UTC)
Cool :). Aspect was what totally rewired my brain about Greek (and it gets much more conspicuous when you're talking infinitives and participles and subjunctives), so maybe if Hebrew doesn't do aspect, you can have that cool Greek experience too :). Except that it seems that you already know about aspect, so maybe not?

Oh well, off to read about verbs in a language family I know essentially nothing about, yay!

I like verbs.
[User Picture]
Date:March 8th, 2003 10:06 pm (UTC)

What a fabulous entry!

Enjoyed hearing about your party, almost as I enjoyed reading about it.
[User Picture]
Date:March 8th, 2003 10:40 pm (UTC)

Hee hee...

Plotting is nice...
[User Picture]
Date:March 9th, 2003 08:06 am (UTC)

And a very happy, if somewhat late, birthday from yer Un-Cle!

A good Pasta is a good cause, and let me state right here and now that all this Greek business is, for me, rather... Greek.
I consider it your fault, though.
[User Picture]
Date:March 9th, 2003 10:20 am (UTC)
Thanks :)
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