In Which Distinctions are Made and Endnotes Reviled

7 February 2003

Hoo, it's cold out there.

If by "cold," you mean "not really cold at all." Or if by "out there," you mean "Saskatchewan." Take your pick, but genuinely cold, here in the Bay Area, it is not. What it is out there is chillyish. What I am in here is cold. And it's what I've been since yesterday morning. There is a stage of sick wherein I just can't get warm, and this is that stage. I haven't taken my temperature yet, so I don't know if I'm actually running low like Zak and Sharon and their L.A. buddies. But I'm wrapped in flannel and SmartWool, and I'm still cold. Yesterday I was warm iff (evidently my spellchecker doesn't know that "iff" means "if and only if") I was drinking chamomile tea or huddled under blankets.

Isn't this fun. Yesterday Timprov was being sympathetic, and he said, "I'm sorry you feel terrible!" And I said, "I don't feel terrible! I've felt terrible before, and this is not it! I feel bad!" And then I went around happy for awhile, since I feel merely bad and not terrible at all.

Hey, you've got your forms of optimism, and I've got mine.

I am about ready to track down the annotator of The Vicomte de Bragelonne and kick him in the shins. He feels it necessary to note every single historical date. He noted five or six in a row to say that they were wrong by a week or a month, and said it in such a way that implied that he thought Dumas had tried to get it right and failed, rather than it being good for the story or irrelevant to Dumas or something else. And then he noted one to say that Dumas had actually gotten it right. Harumph.

The annotator also notes when Dumas is describing something (in the authorial voice!!!) in a Romantic way that his 17th-century characters would never have done. Or when a character appears to conform to Romantic notions of beauty. As if anybody reading this book does not know that Dumas is a thoroughgoing Romantic. As if anybody picks it up to learn anything about the court mores of Louis XIV. It's not like there are millions of people casually picking this up to read on the beach (more's the pity). Everyone who reads it knows that it is not a history book, and if the annotator really needed to pick at every single date, couldn't he have done an essay that could go before or after the text, and left the endnotes for actual useful commentary?


But aside from the annotator, whose name, according to the back cover, is David Coward, The Vicomte is great fun, and I have laughed at Planchet a good bit, and actually have e-mail from Slacker because of it. Yay.

And I find that I take more of an eigenvector and less of a superposition when I'm reading Dumas. (Eigenvector is, too, a word, stupid spellchecker. The eigenvectors express the essential modes of a system. Then you can combine them with weighting factors to say to which extent the system is exhibiting which modes. Schrödinger's Cat being alive or dead has the eigenvectors "alive" and "dead." Usually they're more mathematically expressed, though. Now you know. Or else you already knew, in which case this digression was not for you.) I'm either talking, talking, talking, or silent. So far this has meant that I haven't answered a bunch of e-mails from people I enjoy talking to, because I knew I'd babble at them. And while I could babble at C.J. on the phone last night with impunity, I'm not always so sure about e-mails to people I don't actually know in person, or don't primarily know in person. Even with the Ceej, I gave him this long spiel about how did he remember the book we looked for at B&N in Maple Grove, and Timprov and I finally found it near Ridgedale and it had been in the backseat with him along with T's new harmonica and Cal's Christmas presents? (He did remember.) And so on. I couldn't just say, "The book I'm reading is making me chatty. Is that a problem?" I had to go into the details of why the book was wordy and to whom Dumas was superior, of the other paid-by-the-word 19th-century folks.

So. I guess that's by way of a warning, or an explanation if I get overly terse or chatty.

It's worked out okay with DBM, I think, because my urge is not to describe a geyser pool for three pages, but rather to do "this was the geyser and how it smelled and then they rode off and did this and there was other stuff over there and...." Only with fewer "ands." So. Not too bad an influence there, one hopes.

The paper is making me roll my eyes again: there's an article about make-up freshness, and they interviewed the "experts": people who work at make-up counters. People whose job it is to sell more cosmetics. Lo and behold, oh my oh my, these women said that you need to throw your face goop (and face gooping aids) out all the time and buy new stuff constantly. (New cosmetic puffs every two weeks at least! Literally. That's what they say.) And they see cosmetics bags as comfort zones. Of course. Some women who don't get paid for it probably do, too, but that's not really the point. It's that the newspaper has provided basically free ad space without even the possibility of a critical eye.


And then there's the rest of the newspaper. Again with the bleah.

I'm supposed to go up and have lunch with David today before he leaves for awhile, but that's sort of up-in-the-air-ish: if I shower and feel like I shouldn't drag myself farther than the couch, I'll ask him to come down here. I'm going to be such fun today, since that's even a consideration.

Okay. Shower now.

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