Yesterday I found the above picture via twitter and then this article:
"Everyone who has ever owned a cat will be familiar with their unmannerly feline habit of walking across your keyboard while you are typing. One of the manuscript pictures tweeted by @erik_kwakkel (http://twitter.com/erik_kwakkel/status/
The marks of cat paws were neat but my favourite mention of cat on manuscript is:
"A Deventer scribe, writing around 1420, found his manuscript ruined by a urine stain left there by a cat the night before. He was forced to leave the rest of the page empty, drew a picture of a cat and cursed the creature with the following words:
Hic non defectus est, sed cattus minxit desuper nocte quadam. Confundatur pessimus cattus qui minxit super librum ostum in nocte Daventrie, et consimiliter omnes alii propter illum. Et cavendum valde ne permittantur libri aperti per noctem uni cattie venire possunt."
Paws, Pee and Mice
You can also check this article:
Cats on keyboards? It's a long ancient tradition.
This one is difficult because that is not the way I read books. I have favourite characters in films and tv shows, but in books? Not so much. Actually my favourite books don't necessarily have characters I would call favourites, or even likable, and my favourite books are not necessarily novels (this meme seems to be mostly about novels btw).
Among the most intriguing and poignant literary characters, there's Lorenzo de Médicis in the play Lorenzaccio by Alfred de Musset.
Of course I also love my damaged cops from my crime novels, especially the Harrys! Jo Nesbø's Harry Hole is a character I love to bits, just like I love Connelly's Harry Bosch. One fo the appeals of reading a new crime story is to see again those characters.
Also Paul Atreides from Dune, obviously.
And there's Victor Hugues from the wonderful El Siglo de Las Luces by Alejo Carpentier (known as Explosion in a Cathedral in English). I remember that I was very impressed by the character when I first read the novel. The neat thing is that Victor Hugues did exist, but it was one of those people that were involved in French Revolution but whom we know very little about, so Alejo Carpentier could do as he pleased when he "created" him. I was drawn to Victor Hugues much more than to Esteban who is presumably, along Sofia, the main character.
Day 16 – Favorite female character
Same problem. I don't think I have a favorite literary female character. Unfortunately my favourite writers tend to be males and they mostly write male characters, or rather they write male characters better than female ones.
The protagonist in Brazzaville Beach by William Boyd, Hope Clearwater, is a good character but I don't see myself calling her my favourite female character ever!
Of course there's Jane Eyre...or the Austen heroines (Elizabeth Benett mostly), but as strong as they are there's something about those English girls that turn me off. I guess it's the time they live in and the necessary romantic happy ending they get. If I should go British I'd rather pick Alison, the Wife of Bath, created by Chaucer for The Canterbury Tales!
If I should go French I'd choose either Phèdre from Phèdre by Racine or Camille from Horace by Pierre Corneille, strong-willed and yet tragic heroines. I have a soft spot for Mathilde de La Mole from Le Rouge et Le Noir by Stendhal.
Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book
Well it's one of my favourite books anyway. The quote is from Mendelsohn's The Lost, which I already posted it on here, years ago. Before this extract, Daniel Mendelsohn recalls Rashi's and Rabbi Friedman's exegesis of the Sodom and Gomorrah tale from Genesis, or rather of the meaning of the transformation of Lot's wife, and then he offers his own explanation here:
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And here is a quote from Les Faux Monnayeurs by André Gide :
"Dans le domaine des sentiments, le réel ne se distingue pas de l'imaginaire. Et, s'il suffit d'imaginer qu'on aime, pour aimer, ainsi suffit-il de se dire qu'on imagine aimer, quand on aime, pour aussitôt aimer un peu moins, et même pour se détacher un peu de ce qu'on aime - ou en détacher quelques cristaux."
Day 18 – A book that disappointed you
I tend to forget those. But as of late, I gave a try to G. R. R Martin's series (A Song of Ice and Fire) on kindle, out of curiosity since I watch the tv show Game of Thrones, and found the books poorly written.
Day 19 – Favorite book turned into a movie
Turning a book into a movie is some tricky business, and, actually, most of the time I fear that my favourite books might be turned into movies. I remember hating what David Lynch did with Dune for instance.
Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos is a good book, although not a favourite book of mine, and one my favourite movie adaptations is Stephen Frears' Dangerous Liaisons (or to be fair it's rather an adaptation of Christopher Hampton's play). Neither Glenn Close nor John Malkovich looked the part, and both were too old to play Merteuil and Valmont (who are supposed to be in their 20's!), but it worked beautifully (and Malkovich is hot as hell in it). Sometimes a good adaptation needs to betray a little for it's more about the spirit than about the letter.
I also love what the Coen brothers did with Cormac MacCarthy's No Country for Old Men (while the film based on The Road wasn't very good, in spite of Viggo Mortensen's performance) or what Debra Granik did with Winter's Bone (but in that case I saw the film before I read the book).
Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
It has to be Daniel Mendelsohn 's The Lost. A Search for Six Of Six Millions. I remember that I was wary as it was advertised, in bookshops, as the new Les Bienveillantes, and I was not a fan of Les Bienveillantes. It also won one of the Literature awards in France (Prix Medicis, that goes to non-French books) in 2007 and I thought it was just a trendy book. Actually I thought it was going to be one of those Holocaust books (what we call in French "littérature des camps"). I was so wrong. I adored the book and fell in love with Mendelsohn. It was as if I had found a living soul mate! Since then I have read everything he's written.
Oh this is difficult. I'm tempted to say The Aeneid because it made me fall in love with Virgil – I know it sounds weird and nerdish but I had a blast translating pices from The Aeneid for my Latin class when I was in highschool!–, but I have a soft spot for Sophocles' Antigone as well, and some parts of The Odyssey are just soooo wonderful...
I just love my Classics.
I remember disliking Madame Bovary by Flaubert, when I had to read it in school.
Probably something I was very fond of when I was a pre-teen or a young teenager...
Maybe Marion Zimmer Bradley's Mists of Avalon or Pauline Gedge's Child of The Morning.
This one is almost easy.
Among the dead writers, Jorge Luis Borges.
Among the living ones, Richard Powers.
I know, it's weird , I'm a European and my two choices are men from the New World...
I love many books of his (the short stories from El Aleph are brilliant and I adore his Inquisiciones) but Fictions probably encapsulates what is the best about Borges' writing.
As for Richard Powers, it's his Galatea 2.2.
It was nice to hear that of course but, to be honest, I would have rather them quibble and question things so I would have something to work on. Sometimes I wonder what they are in for. Basically, I'm on my own.
They understood that it was an "ideal plan", that some parts already had meat on the bones, others were even almost done, but some were still virtual.
We agreed to have a panel in Spring 2014, in which I would talk about the third part of the thesis (the one that is mostly only a skeleton), in order to stimulate me while giving me time to work on the documents (my Roman manuscript and an incunabulum that is in Paris but that I haven't seen yet) and see if the plan is achievable.
Speaking of the Vatican mansucript, La Sorbonne finally booked my flight for Rome so I have got my e-tickets. I was beginning to fear that I would not get them in time (or would have to buy them myself in extremis) since my new stay at l' Ecole Française de Rome was scheduled from the 2nd of March to the 11th (during the school break). I will be there in two weeks so I'll "see" the beginning of the conclave.
Now the downs...
I'm under the weather. I've caught a cold – hopefully it is not the flu – so I'm even more tired than I "should" be.
And Loukoum's condition is not great. He's been ill for 4 weeks now and is slowing losing his appetite – which could be connected to the fact that he is no longer on cortisone –; I managed to make him eat in the past two days but he has thrown up on Thursday morning, and again yesterday evening. This morning he barely ate.
I guess he's nauseous but also he's fed up with taking anitbiotics and having me harassing him with food, so he "hides" under the bed to sleep on my travel bag.
I hesitate to take him back to the vet clinic today (but of course today his usual vet isn't there, it's her replacement!), or wait, watch over him during the weekend and decide on Monday, except that I work on Monday up to 4 pm. If he weren't almost 18 years old I would wait.
If I had to pick one book in Asimov's Foundation series it would be Foundation and Empire because of the storyline about the Mule.
As for Dune, it would be Dune Messiah because it has very beautiful moments that are well written, and as soon as Paul is out of the picture, the themes and the depth remained but the whole thing is less engaging. The piece needs a Hero, even though the world may not.
Concerning my favourite crime series, The Redbreast. Harry Hole broke my heart in that one, and I found myself crying while reading.
So here's a book meme:
So this is Day One:
The best book I read last year was Augustus, A Novel by John Williams. I'm so glad that Daniel Mendelsohn convinced me to read it!
Williams' Stoner was good too (all credits to herself_nyc for recommending it), but I prefered Augustus. It is so well written, so touching, and so good at reviving historical moments.
Ethan Rayne was easily my favourite non regular Buffy characters. Robin was such an amazing and charismatic actor, and like the greatest ones he had a VOICE.
I remember seeing Robin Sachs in various things – even when he wasn't easy to recognize like in Babylon 5, and I admit that I watched that silly Dynasty mini-sequel because he played Adam Carrington! – but he will forever be Ethan Rayne the magus, the bringer of Chaos.
After Buffy/Spike, Ethan/Giles was my OTP, and the reason I found out about slash fanfiction. Robin Sachs and Tony Head had such a great chemistry, and played each other so well. "A New Man' is among my favourite episodes, and "Band Candy" was also a lot of fun.
I don't know, it does seem like the end of an era. 13 days ago my beloved cat Bastet died, after 19 years of being my faithful companion and my dear friend, and now this.
It feels that my youth is really gone for good now.
Personally, although I was a supporter of the PACS and I have always thought that it was ridiculous to ban gay couple from adopting kids – I don't believe for a minute that mother+father is the key formula to properly raise children or that parenting has anything to do with sexual preferences–, I have never been in favour of "gay marriage" per se, because I considered it to be super hetero-conformist or even just conformist. I made my point about that years ago.
But all the anti-gay marriage cliques, that have been so loud for a few months, and their retrograd rethoric and silly "fantasies", made me change my mind, or rather made me want to support "le mariage pour tous". Now I want this bill to pass!
Besides, yesterday Christine Taubira, Minister of Justice, made a historical speech (in every sense of the term) recalling the evolution of marriage in France for centuries, what civil marriage means for the Republic and the process of secularization that has been at work since 1791 :
Retrouvez l'intégralité de l'intervention de... par LCP
Of course the right wing didn't like it, hence the voices you can hear in the background. Meanwhile a fundamenalist Catholic group called Civitas (crazy homophobic people who still say that homosexuality is an abnormality) was praying outside of L'Assemblée Nationale...
That bill will be a step in the right direction, but there's still progresses to make, concerning family and rights equality, since non-married couple cannot adopt children (while single people can), and non married persons (either homosexual or not) cannot benefit from medically assisted procreation. Which is highly ironical when you think that one marriage in 2 ends with a divorce.
Someday maybe this society won't revolve around the model of two married human beings or even around the couple norm.
I dropped 3 kgs in 5 days last week and was so behind sleep that going through almost 4 hours of meeting with parents on Thursday evening and then resuming my usual teaching schedule was not easy. I know that my lectures sucked on Friday (and probably on Monday too) but it happens. When you are weak or down, this job can be one of the toughest to do.
I'm feeling more like myself now. The cocktail of antibiotics I give Loukoum seems to work so he looks more like his usual self too. Hopefully he is on the mend...
I can't believe it has been already one week since Bastet died. She has started visiting my dreams for a few nights. That is the place she inhabits now, among all my other dead, of the human or the feline variety.
I wonder if Loukoum dreams of her too.
I really didn't expect it, for I have been focused on Loukoum's illness, but she was very unwell since 4 am, and her last hour was really hard to watch. It was an ordeal, as I was all by myself and the emergency vet didn't make it fast enough to ease her passing. There was little I could do except talking to her and petting her the more gently I could.
I knew she was very old so it was going to happen soon or later, but we have been together for 19 years which is almost half of my life. Our bond ran very deep. She was both my baby and my friend. To say that I will miss her is an understatement. The grief isn't a matter of species, it's a matter of love. And we loved each other so much.
So this was the third day I called in sick. I got a sick leave from my doctor for Monday and Tuesday but not for this morning so I was supposed to return to school today, but I was drained and devastated, and unable to teach. And there was Loukoum to take care of.
He was better yesterday, and he seemed still on the right path this morning, but a couple of hours after Bastet's death, I noticed he had troubles walking and was very hot. He was running 40,3°C which is a very high fever (cats are supposed to be 38°C/38,5°C) so I took him back to the vet's. She gave him a shot of antiperytic and antibiotic and put him on a drip. When I took his temperature at 5 pm it was 37,8°C so the treatment worked (of course now I fear hypothermia). The vet asked me to come back tomorrow morning at 9 am to assess the situation.
I need him to hang on because that would be too much, and I don't want to go through the nightmare that was Bastet's death throes again.
So here I am. I live in grief and worry, and I'm completely exhausted.
My vet's office doesn't open until 2 pm aon Mondays but I didn't want to wait because Loukoum wasn't eating and was still moaning in the morning (even though his temparature was lower) so I went to see the vet around the corner. She drew blood and checked the standard chemistry to run out any uremia crisis or liver issue, observed the cat, noticed how his eyes were constantly moving and recommended to go to a certain veterinary hospital in the suburb and see a neurologist over there. She made the appointment for me. 30 minutes later we were riding a taxi and reached the hospital at noon.
So Mr Loukoum got an MRI and therefore had to be anaesthetized in spite of his 17 years and 8 months. The MRI showed nothing wrong in his brain but confirmed that he has a deep otitis (the tympanic cavity is filled with fluid) in both ear. The neurologist gave me a six week treatment of antibiotics and also corticoids but not as much as he would have prescribed to a younger cat, since corticoids are bad news for failing heart and kidneys.
Let's hope the treatment will work and won't screw his organs. We all ruled out surgery given Loukoum's age and heart problems so...
The neurologist told me that Loukoum must show improvements within 2 days max, in other words he must eat by himself.
When we finally got back from the hospital at almost 4 pm– after some twists, for they first handed me back my cat bag with a cat inside that actually wasn't my cat! –, he went to drink and accepted to eat some Hills food that is meant for senior cats (it isn't the special diet for kidney support but Loukoum is allowed to eat anything he wants as long as he eats). The texture is more mousse-like than mash-like so old cats love it, and it worked.
Let's hope it is a good sign. At the moment he's sleeping in his basket and snoring.
Now I must take care of myself for I'm exhausted.
But I won't walk in a snowed in Paris for I'm spending my Sunday in Marking Hell, and I want to watch over Loukoum who isn't well today. He didn't want to eat this morning (which never happens) and he seems very tired. I hope it isn't his heart. He's sleeping in his basket near the radiator, so hopefully he'll get up later and will be more active and hungry.
Not feeling well myself, and with an upset tummy it's better to stay inside. I hope I haven't caught a bug.
Maybe it's just worry.
I'm very satisfied. And if you want to read a good review, go to the AV Club and read Noel Murray's. ( Read more... )