Archive for July, 2003

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July 12, 2003

Book review first, then, as it’s been a few days since I finished it.

The Merlin Conspiracy is a large book. A lot of books are, but even so it felt unusually large, since Diana Wynne Jones doesn’t usually write quite so long novels. It took a little while to get into it, too; the story is told in two parallel tracks and when the first shift from one track to the other happened I lost interest somewhat; as usual with DWJ’s books and me, though, I fell into the book after a while and it was very hard to let it go. There are the usual confused teenagers and odd grownups, as well as the completely idiosyncratic magic that is so much DWJ’s own — nobody else could get away with it — and a plot that doesn’t get in the way too much and manages never to feel contrieved in spite of the extraordinary things that keep happening. I like the parallel worlds theme, and this was a nice twist on it, too. What I still find difficult is to like or feel any kind of affinity or recognition (good or bad) for any of the characters. Don’t get me wrong — I don’t need to like or identify myself with any of the people in a book to be able to like it; still, it is nice to recognise something about the characters, to think you understand their motives in some way… but DWJ tends to write really strange people. In a lesser writer this would bother me more; as it is, I don’t even think about it, I’ve become so accustomed to it. And her characters are never dull or boring; like her language, they are interesting and unique. A very, very good book, plain and simple, which left me feeling thoroughly satisfied.

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July 12, 2003

To follow later today or within a few days: Book review of The Merlin Conspiracy, movie review of Complicity, web site review of Homestar Runner.

At least the introductory part of my conference presentation is starting to make sense. I think.

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July 11, 2003

I have changed my visitor counter, by the way. Bravenet no longer offers the services I want, so I went to Sitemeter instead. And made a new counter, transferring the previous count: 11972 visitors, which is plain incredible, even if many of the hits do come from a group of people who keep returning. It’s still weird and wonderful, it is.

The new Blogger isn’t really working as well as it should, though it’s rid itself of some of the more annoying bugs. I can’t use it with IE but that’s a minor thing and not really a problem; what does annoy me is that I now have to type the html codes for non-ASCII characters like ä and — to make sure they come out OK. I’ll have to convert all “special” chars in my archieves as well.

[Edited to add: OK, it was a problem with my old version of Mozilla, it would seem. Once I update it should be OK. Thanks to those ( 3 people since I published the post 25 minutes ago!) who came with helpful suggestions!]

Apart from that, I think it is an improvement to the old version. I’m not going to change, I don’t think, unless it starts acting up the way the old Blogger did.

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July 11, 2003

All work and more work makes Néa a non-blogging girl. Sorry about that.

No, actually, I won’t apologise; I have a lot of obligations right now and this blog won’t become another one. But I still don’t like to leave it unattended for this long.

So, the main thing right now is the conference I’m going to in a month’s time. I haven’t attended a linguistic confrence before, so have a rather hazy idea about what to expect; I’m the only one going from my department and won’t know anyone there, and it’s the biggest historical linguistics conference there is…. and they expect me to give a presentation?? I won’t know what to say, how to say it, or how to defend myself after I have said it! So that kind of takes precedence over everything else right now.

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July 5, 2003

And now I wonder what I hope to accomplish by random whining in my web log. I’ll go write down things on paper instead and see if I can make them make sense. And then I’ll maybe write my supervisor and ask her if she thinks they make sense. Yes, that must be a better course of action than running around in circles wondering why I don’t get anything done.

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July 5, 2003

I wish I had a more definite notion of what I am doing. I think the investigation I want to conduct is meaningful, but I am not sure how to delimit it, for after all it’s just a pilot study, not the basis for my thesis. And I’m not completely sure it is meaningful, or even that the model is possible to use for these texts. Or, rather, if these texts can yield any results within the framework of the model.

I know what I want to do, I just can’t phrase it well enough to ask meaningful research questions. As a result I ask random questions in the hope that some of them will give interesting answers. . .

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July 3, 2003

In December this year, it will be 100 years since Sven Adrian Lindberg was born in Lövånger in Västerbotten county. In 1927 he married Agda Salomonsson from Hjoggböle and they lived in Bureå, raising ten children. Sven Adrian was a farmer and forester, he was a good horseman and he loved motor bikes. He was devoted to his children and later his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was my grandfather — my mother was his fourth child — and he became the patriarch of a large family with a wealth of descendants. Agda died in 1974, and I have no memories of her, although I have seen a photo of myself sitting on her lap, a chubby, confused-looking nine-month-old baby — but Sven Adrian lived until 1992 and I remember him very well. Indeed it would be difficult not to remember him. He was a colourful person, full of anecdotes; he’d tell his stories in different voices, enjoying himself immensely. I remember his quiet, chuckling, infectious laughter. And I remember his dialect, which as a young child I couldn’t understand, it was the genuine bondska with a grammar and vocabulary sometimes very different from Swedish. There are speakers of bondska still; my mother can speak it, for instance; but it is hardly used as a native tongue any longer and the dialect is today an accent which, while quite distinct, isn’t difficult for a southern kid to understand.

In 1986, one of my cousins made a tape recording of Grandfather talking about himself and telling anecdotes about the family and other people. The other day, I got the CD of that recording in the mail: my cousin produced it for the 100th anniversary of Sven Adrian’s birth. It’s a wonderful trip backwards through time, and here is Sven Adrian Lindberg come alive again.

This link leads to a short extract from the CD (MP3 file 624K)