Tuesday, October 25, 2011

toutes les grandes personnes ont d'abord été des enfants

Le Petit Prince was the first book I read completely in French. Which is not much of a feat because it's a children's book. But children's book or not (I'd describe it as a children's book for adults), it's one of my favorite books -- I've read it a good five or six times.

I would love to own a first edition copy of this book. Image from here.

More than once I've encouraged friends to learn French in order to enjoy this book in its purest form. And more than once I've wanted to read it in English just to see if the feeling is the same. But each time I try I end up feeling like reading it in English would be a waste of time in comparison or that it would somehow cheapen the original French version.

In my nineteenth century French theater class* we just finished reading a piece called On ne badine pas avec l'amour by Alfred de Musset (rough translation of title: Don't Mess Around With Love). At the end of the final scene of the second act is my favorite passage from all that we've read so far this semester:

[M]ais il y a au monde une chose sainte et sublime, c'est l'union de deux de ces êtres si imparfaits et si affreux. On est souvent trompé en amour, souvent blessé et souvent malheureux ; mais on aime, et quand on est sur le bord de sa tombe, on se retourne pour regarder en arrière, et on se dit : J'ai souffert souvent, je me suis trompé quelquefois, mais j'ai aimé. C'est moi qui ai vécu, et non pas un être factice créé par mon orgueil et mon ennui.

I wish I had more French speaking friends with whom I could share such passages. So instead I'll just pretend that you all understood that and enjoyed it as much as I did.

*When I tell people I'm taking a nineteenth century French theater class they usually think it's a performance class. Nope. Sadly, it's merely a literature class.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Brian and IV

IV by Led Zeppelin

To be honest, it'd be a bit of a stretch to say that Brian and I have bonded over this album. No, our friendship was forged from a different fire, a literal fire, one that launched model rockets hundreds of feet into the air. A fire that could have gotten us in trouble with the law. Yes, I'm making vague, confusing allusions to the time that we launched model rockets at the local high school baseball field late at night (read all about it here, fourth paragraph in).

In addition to a penchant for model rocketry, Brian and I also share similar professions. We're both accountants, although our respective functions as such differ greatly.

I think
IV by Led Zeppelin was the first classic rock album I owned on CD (I didn't pick it up on vinyl until 2008). It was a sort of chicken-egg scenario: I either bought that album because I was learning how to play "Stairway to Heaven" (as apparently every budding guitarist should), or I was learning "Stairway to Heaven" because I bought the album. I was 15 or 16 at the time so I don't recall the exact circumstances.

It quickly became one of my favorite classic rock albums and remains one to this day.

Friday, October 14, 2011

committee of sleep

Today wasn't a bad day but it ended with a bit more anxiety than I would've liked (which anxiety will most likely bleed over to tomorrow). I could sure use one of these days:

And I could sure use one of those cupcakes right now.

"It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it." Thank you, Mr. Steinbeck (not sure where that's from, I'll get around to sourcing it later).

Well, we'll see how fast that Committee of Sleep can work with the four hour deadline I'm giving them tonight instead of the seven or eight they probably need.

Update:The Committee of Sleep performed far beyond my expectations, especially with the time they were given. Good job, guys.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

miles to go

When it comes to style and fit I have a hard time buying t-shirts. Style, because I can never find designs that I love. And fit, because when buying a new t-shirt, I never know how that thing will wear after I wash it.

In the past, my t-shirt wardrobe consisted solely of band shirts and thrift store finds. I'm certainly not opposed to either, but with band t-shirts -- unless it's an American Apparel t-shirt -- I run into the same how-will-this-fit-me-after-several-washes problem. And while I still love a good thrift store t-shirt more than the next guy, thrift stores are so over-picked, with the time and effort it takes to find something cool, you're almost better off heading to a vintage shop and spending five to ten times as much (notice how I said almost).

So imagine my delight when I came across Miles To Go* last week when I noticed this gem of a t-shirt on Pinterest:

I'm sure you can by deduce by the tattoos and slimmer form that this is not me. Image from here.

Miles To Go is an independent clothing line (mostly t-shirts, hoodies, and the like) by artist Greg Kerr. As someone who is influenced greatly by reading and literature, I love the premise behind his original designs: all of them are based on a novel, ranging from classic literature (see the Moby Dick t-shirt above) to more contemporary selections, like The Perks of Being a Wallflower. And Miles To Go prints on American Apparel t-shirts, so I know exactly how the shirt will fit me and how much it will shrink after washing.

After ordering the Moby Dick t-shirt above in blue, Greg sent me a personal email thanking me for the order with an update on shipping. Even better, the t-shirt arrived the next day, which, more than anything, had to do with the fact that Miles To Go is located in Phoenix and I in Mesa. Still, regardless of proximity, ordering something online and getting it the next day is the best.

I'm looking forward to seeing what great designs Miles To Go comes up with in the future while hoping that just one of them might be Steinbeck based.

Be sure to check out Miles To Go on Facebook and follow on Twitter.

*Not at all to be confused with the Miley Cyrus autobiography.

UPDATE: Just found out via Facebook that Miles To Go will be doing a To Kill A Mockingbird run in December. Looks like I know what I'm getting myself for Christmas.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Kiana and Teaser and the Firecat

Teaser and the Firecat by Cat Stevens

While it's not a surprising thing to like Cat Stevens (because what's not to like?), I wasn't aware of Kiana's affinity for the guy until she grabbed this record off my shelf for this photo. The fact that I didn't know this about her is quite indicative of her personality -- not because she's an overly private person, not because she's too shy to talk about herself, but because she is always so interested in others, perhaps at the expense of sharing things about herself. Some people are always talking about themselves; Kiana is always asking people about themselves.

This trait will certainly come in handy as Kiana leaves on her LDS mission to Michigan next week. She will be sorely missed for a year and a half.

Notes and Miscellanea:
Teaser is on par for best Cat Stevens album, right up there with its predecessor, Tea for the Tillerman. While Teaser has some of the more heavy-hitting songs of Stevens' career -- like "Moonshadow" and "Peace Train" -- Tillerman is more understated.

I'll make this a bit easier: Teaser is like Splash Mountain at Disneyland -- dramatic ups and downs -- while Tillerman resembles the Lazy River at Sunsplash -- a consistent stream of lower impact, though still poignant, folk hits.

Monday, October 3, 2011

comparative greenery

Over the past four years I haven't lived in any one house or apartment for more than eight months or so. I don't love moving -- and I certainly dislike the physical act of it -- but I still find myself doing so every six months or so.

Most of those moves were only across town, but a few of them were of an interstate nature: Arizona to Idaho, to California, back to Idaho, to Colorado, and back to Arizona. I still love Arizona, and while I thought that when I moved back here over a year ago that I'd be here for good, I really wouldn't mind moving somewhere else.

Sacred Grove
We don't get trees like these in Arizona, at least not where I live. I took this photo last July at the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York. Does the green in this photo hurt your eyes too?

I almost moved to Fremont, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area right after graduating college. I would kill to live there now. An hour away from San Francisco, the ocean, Muir Woods. And two hours away from Monterey County, the birthplace of my favorite author and the setting of his best novels. For all the things I love about that part of Northern California -- Steinbeck sites, San Francisco hills, redwood forests -- I wonder if I would begin to take them for granted, just as there is so much greatness -- being close to my family and constant sunny days -- that I take for granted while living here in Arizona.

I don't think I'm ready to live here for the rest of my life, not just yet. But I am happy to be here.

If moving were as easy as packing a bag and leaving tomorrow -- where would you go?