c o l u m b i n a

"by her keen and active wit, she [ is ] able to hold her own in every situation and emerge with ease and dignity from the most involved intrigues." ~ Duchartre

Thursday, February 10, 2005

a work in progress

finally back online. In the new apartment, newly fitted with cables so that the television and computer work properly, things are beginning to feel like normal. The kitchen and bathroom are mostly set to rights, which almost makes up for the fact that more of my books are in boxes still and not on shelves, and the fact that my monitor is currently sitting on top of a computer box for lack of a desk.

It may not be home sweet home yet, but it's getting there. And work starts Monday-- eek!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

what's in a name?

I know this practice isn't unheard of but I'm not sure how common it is: the naming of personal possessions. I have friends who name their iPods and computers, and my parents have both named their cars. Naming of cars seems to be the most common, though for what reason is anybody's guess. I bring it up mostly because the aforementioned parents have gotten a new vehicle and are currently discussing their name options. Apparently it must be female unless there is sufficient good reason to gender switch. (Naming it Josh for Mom's current favorite, for example.) The cars they have now are named Betsy (which was almost my name) and Josie (after my grandmother Josephine), so those are out.

While they're mulling over this decision, I have been making up lists of things that the new apartment will need. In all previous apartments, my mother has made a point of purchasing a small plant for my windowsill, a homey touch, if you will. Each one of these plants has since gone to the big greenhouse in the sky for various reasons. Each one also happened to be named for a character in The West Wing. I started with Toby (who of course, lasted the longest, the tough guy), followed by CJ (to keep Toby company), and then by Sam (who tried to replace both Toby and CJ but failed miserably, only to be killed off in the summer under the "care" of my brother and father). Aside from the fact that the show hasn't been up to its usual standards since season three and that there is more than enough characters to choose names from, I think a switch is needed, simply to help secure their survival.

So I'm picking out names too. I'm rubbish at it: this is why my computer and all its attachments are nameless and why my plants got their names from television. I do admit some success with persuading the family to name the dogs after Peanuts characters (Snoopy, Woodstock, and Schroeder) but naming for others is different, somehow. Easier.

I've also been threatened with the possibility of fish. Though I must say, if I should find myself in the possession of goldfish, I'll without a doubt name them after Lymond and the blind Lady Christian because of one of my all-time favorite scenes in The Game of Kings. (And all of my acquaintance save one will go "Huh? What. Ever.") I reproduce it here, simply because it's more efficient than my rambling explanation ever could be:

Christian hugged her knees. "But how did the child find you?"
He answered ruefully. "I fell asleep. Considerably more than doth the nightingale. And the next thing I knew she was sitting on my chest."
"What did you say?" said Christian, fascinated.
"She said, 'M. l'abbe' (you'll have gathered I'm dressed like a magpie) - 'M. l'abbe, you 'ave greatly insufficient of tonsure.' And I said, 'Madame la reine d'Ecosse, you are greatly in excess of tonnage.' After which exchange of pleasantries..."
"She got off?"
"Not at all. She bounced like a cannon ball and said that Dede-"
"Her pony."
"- That Dede had long yellow teeth; and did I know-"
"That," said Christian in chorus, "you can tell a person's age from their teeth. That's a favorite one."
"Oh. Well, as you say. So she opened her mouth, and I pronounced her seven years of age, and she admitted to five. (What is she- four?) Then I opened my mouth-"
"What was it, a pebble?"
"- I opened my mouth and received inside it a small fish, still resisting delivery to its Maker. After that-"
"But what did you do? With the fish?"
"I pretended to eat it," he said simply.

D. Dunnett, The Game of Kings, pgs. 82-3.

bizarre yet beautiful

Author Haruki Murakami's website, via foreword, where there's an ongoing discussion of the design of his latest novel Kafka on the Shore, cover design by Chip Kidd. I've never read Murakami, but I'm intrigued. If he can get John Gall *and* Chip Kidd to design his covers... well, he can't be that bad, can he? The site is gorgeous, and very in touch with all of the cover design: beautiful in a really unsettling, off kilter kind of way.