Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Four more sleeps 'till Christmas

I'm bummed.  Last year on Christmas Eve I went to the Dacco Christmas Live.  It was a ton of fun and just a nice way to spend Christmas Eve seeing as I was all alone in Tokyo last year.  Well, I was planning on going when they first announced their Christmas Live this year, then I hemmed and hawed about the money, and finally today I decided "screw the money, I'm going."  Well, it's on Christmas day this year. >.>  Thankfully I'm not alone in Tokyo this year, and I have plans to have roasted chicken, apple tart, cheese, crackers, and wine with Jen on Christmas day.  Still bummed about the show though.  I looked for anything else, but nobody I like is playing on Christmas eve.  One band is playing the day before, but that doesn't exactly help.  So I guess it's me and the cats that night.  Ritchie (long story summed up in two words - selfish jackass...pardon the French) has a show that night, and he invited me, after snubbing me at his last show and making me cry... again... but yeah, so not going to that one.  Even if he wasn't such a jerk, I wouldn't want to spend my Christmas eve with the type of fans his band has.  Thanks, pass.  There's one where I say I'm sure they're nice people, but they creep me out.  I'm used to being around the geeky boys who need reminders to bathe and eat something other than Mountain Dew and they creep me out.  That's saying something.

I got my kitties Christmas presents today.  I wasn't going to, but I went to Tokyu Hands to look for a hole punch, which, of course, they had for 3,000 yen, ahah, right, no.  I wandered up to the pet store just to look around.  I still want to buy them Japanese engraved tags, but then I'd have to put my name and phone number on something else... They're really pretty tags though...  Anyway, I didn't get those, but I intend to take pictures Christmas morning, so I'll be sure to post them.  I'm sure to have an unhappy Soushi (because I guarantee Ophelia won't let me get her) for all of about 30 seconds.  Maybe I should just take a video, haha.

So last week I was able to finish up Life in a Medieval Castle.  I only had one chapter left, so that doesn't count as a whole book.  Actually I'm not sure I'm counting anything until the first of the year, but we'll see.  It was good though.  I found out that the whole egg on Easter thing dates back at least to 1300.  Peasants used to give their lords eggs for...whatever reason.  The twelve days of Christmas, unless I read something completely wrong, started with Christmas and went into the new year and were days the peasants didn't have to work their lords' fields.  And I finally learned what Michaelmas was.  That kept coming up in medieval stories and I had never even heard of it before last spring.  Anyway, it was some festival that I don't know all the details of, but they killed a bunch of the livestock and had feasts so they wouldn't starve over the winter.  Fascinating book anyway.

I also read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  It was meh.  I think I've liked some of the movie versions better, which surprised me.  The writing was also not up to what I'd expected.  I think I have high expectations for Dickens considering the first (and possibly only other, but I can't remember) thing I read by him was A Tale of Two Cities.  It was certainly a quick easy read though, and maybe if you like getting into the holiday spirit you might enjoy it more.  I tried.  I'm not glaring at Christmas decorations or wanting to break speakers that are playing holiday music though, so that's an improvement for me. XD  Guess we can't expect too much.

Finally read through Shakespeare's Henry V.  I'd apparently read bits of it because I clearly recall being thoroughly annoyed at the scene with the princess and some woman that was entirely in French.  I need to learn French... it's ticking me off.  I keep coming across it, and this time I got just enough to know that I was missing the comedy parts of the play but not nearly enough to know what the heck was really going on. Grrrr.  I want subtitles!  Actually, I'm horrible about reading subtitles.  If it's just a little bit I'll read them, but if an entire movie or show is in a language I don't know I just end up getting annoyed that I don't understand it and forget to pay attention to the subtitles most of the time.  I found that out when I saw a few episodes of "The Four Gods" in Japanese after I'd watched it, oh, three times? in Korean.  Yeah, missed a lot of that in the Korean version, haha.  Anyway, good play. I'd like to see it one day.  I'd like to see a lot of his plays, actually.  The movie versions are entertaining, and I do enjoy the heck out of them, but I'd like to see them as plays at some point.  Anywho, very accessible history.  Maybe it's because I've been studying more on medieval history so I get more of it.... I really didn't like King Lear.  It was boring.  Henry V was amusing though, and of course, good speeches.

One I use every time I have to go into a class I hate:

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favor'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
(...)For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start.  The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'
That one was from King Henry during the first siege in France at a city I can't remember, but they end up winning!  I actually only ever use the first line, though I think it would certainly be epic to memorize that whole thing and use it someday... or maybe I'm just a dork who needs to find something else to amuse herself. :P

I rather enjoyed this one to, when King Henry was talking to a group of common soldiers in disguise:

He hath not told his thought to the king?

No; nor is it not meet he should.  For, though I speak it to you, I think the king is but a man, as I am: the violet smells to him as it doth to me: the element shows to him as it doth to me; all his sense have but human conditions: his ceremonies laid by, in his nakedness he appears but a man; and though his affections are higher mounted than ours, yet, when they stoop, they stoop with the like wing.  Therefore when he sees reason of fears, as we do, he fears, out of doubt, be of the same relish as ours are: yet, in reason, no man should possess him with any appearance of fear, lest he, by showing it, should dishearten his army.

This one's probably the most famous from the play, and I love it... not really sure why.  Maybe I've just heard it enough to be fond of it.  I had most of it memorized at one point.  I'm also not sure why I went about doing that.. OH! I had that Shakespeare quotes book... that would be why... Anywho, this was right before the battle of Agincourt, a while after Henry returns to his nobles.  The English were tired, sick, and outnumbered 5 to 1.  One of the nobles commented that he wished they had more English soldiers to fight with.

No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England:
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honor
As one man more, methinks, would share from me
For the best hope I have.  O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made
And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on this vigil feast his neighbors,
And say 'Tomorrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
Be he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words, -
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester, -
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd; -
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

Anyway, it was nice to finally read the whole thing.  I started Ceremony on the train because I couldn't make up my mind.  I don't know that I'll finish during break... I may since Lindsey and I will be riding the train a bunch on our trip, but we'll see.  If I'm going from last week, so... December 12th?ish, that makes two down out of fifty, so 48 left.  Otherwise they don't count at all and I'll start on the new year.  I don't know! We'll see!! :D

And with that reminder to myself, I need to book the hostel!  Six days till Lindsey, seven until MONKEYS!!!!!

1 comment:

Pauline Kiernan said...

Just read about your frustration with the French in Henry V. If you take a look at the book Filthy Shakespeare, the entry about that scene might help. It also suggests the ribald subtext of the French words.
Pauline Kiernan
Filthy Shakespeare,Henry V,Pauline Kiernan