Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Resolutions and Literary snobs

New Year's resolutions? 
Not a fan.

Well, I say that but I'll probably try and harden my resolve in finishing up some things I've been putting off for a while. Speaking of which...

Literary snobs.
I'm probably one.

Okay, okay... Definitely one. I cannot help but snigger loudly into my embroidered handkerchief whenever someone mentions the words "Code" and "Da Vinci" (not necessarily in that order) in any positive context. Similarly, other books will invoke a feeling of disdain even though I've never actually read them and they might even be rather good. (E.g. For some reason or another, Shantaram falls into this category.) It's not something I'm necessarily proud of - or perhaps even justified in feeling - but it's a hard trait to shake nonetheless.

Anyway, I have a competition going with a  friend, Bloomsboy - who I mentioned here and who's quite possibly more snobbish than me - whereby we are meant to read six epic novels. I can't remember exactly where we hit upon the idea, but it was some time while we were traveling through Africa together (which I might write more about later) and comparing the size of our literary dongs. Figuratively speaking, of course. 

The criteria are simple. The chosen books shall be a) Very long, and b) Widely considered as "classics". Our challenge thus involves the following:

1) Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
2) War and Peace - ibid
3) Don Quixote - Cervantes
4) Ulysses - James Joyce
5) Moby-Dick - Herman Melville
6) In Search of Lost Time - Marcel Proust (This was a somewhat late addition to the party and I don't think we've quite decided on how many volumes we're supposed to cover. I'm hoping it's not the whole bloody thing...)

Ingeniously enough, the winner will be decided the old navy way: First guy to die, loses! is simply the person who completes all six first. So far the score is tied at one-one. I'm down War and Peace, while Bloomsboy has got Ulysses under the belt. To be honest, I read W&P some time before our actual bet started. Still, I certainly regard it as one of the best books I've ever read and, as such, I'm looking forward to Anna K. It doesn't hurt that I've yet to hear a bad review of it... Much the same for Don Quixote. I'm less enthusiastic about numbers 4 through 6. Apparently Moby-Dick contains 90-page descriptions of whaling ships... Zzzzzzzzz. 

The aim had been to get them done before I hit the big three zero, but at, uh, current rates that might be a bit on the tight side. (The seven volumes of ISOLT alone come to a million and half words!)

I was wounded to learn that the GF is backing Bloomsboy for this title. True, he is an English major and I'm a lowly economics grad. However, you underestimate my fear of losing!

May the best snob win.

PS - Oh, happy 2011 everyone :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Quote of the Day - Idiots

"Never argue with an idiot. He'll drag you down to his level and beat you with experience."
Not sure of the original source, but spotted this pithy little piece of advice on a friend's facebook status...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Leaving Europe in a few hours

The taxi arrives in three and a half hours to be precise... And it's just gone midnight now, so you can guess how I'm going to be feeling after the 16-odd hours travelling time. Still, really looking forward to getting to SA and seeing everyone.

I plan to write some musings on my experiences here once I get settled in at home and soak up some southern hemisphere sun (and reasonably priced drinks). While that will have to wait, here's something I rather enjoyed from my time here in the Nordics. Great vocalist and really enjoy this live version...

See you soon.
UPDATE: Getting home turned out to be an absolute disaster. Flights cancelled and then rerouted. End result: Total travel time increased to 36 hours via four cities. To top it all off, our luggage was lost. Managed to get it back a few days later, but hardly the ideal start!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Merry Engerland

Exams all done and dusted :)

Went reasonably well. Some time issues for two of them, but that's nothing uncommon for me to be honest...

Anyway, just a quick update as I'm currently in England for a 10 day holiday visiting F&Fs before heading down south for the summer. I thought I might have left the cold behind in the Nordics, but fook me it's chilly over here. Seriously, "this" [-] cold. Snow everywhere and apparently all the airports have been shut. Luckily still have a few days before we're scheduled to  fly back...

In Hampshire right now with my aunt and uncle, but going up to Cambridge tomorrow to "partner" a friend for his College's Christmas Dinner. Got a couple mates studying there at the moment that I'm keen to catch up with and should be a good night. I also can't wait to try on my heels show off my 'tache. (Yes, I eventually ha-ha-hardened the hell up and partook in Movember. We actually got a nice little group at school so I wasn't stuck on a Han Solo mission this time... Anyway, I ended up grooming a real steamer. Think Errol Flynn or Zorro.)

En garde!

After Cambridge, I'm back to London to meet up with some other friends. Not too many of my old crew left standing after the great financial cull, but I have some great memories of my time in the city. Much of which was associated with music; for instance this one:

A little cheesy (read: obvious), I'll freely admit. Still. I personally think this Radio 1 'Live Lounge' version of "Fans" blows the album version out the water.

On the subject of Kings of Leon... WTF was happening with their new album? Perhaps it requires more time, but I thought it was pretty much rubbish upon first listen. Or, as friend told me he saw tweeted the other day: 
"KOL - grow back your beards and divorce your last two albums. You're stealing fans from 30 seconds to mars" 
The painful truth...