Rio again

Feb. 9th, 2011 06:49 pm
marnanel: (Default)
Rio (doing homework): Would you say that "sheepish" was an antonym of "gregarious"?
(Marnanel laughs)
Rio: What?
Marnanel: Oh... um, sorry. I thought you were making a conscious pun.
Rio: Why?
Marnanel: Well, "gregarious" comes from a Latin word meaning a flock of sheep. But it is actually rather funny.
(Rio laughs)
marnanel: (Default)
(discussing wordplay)

Me; "So for example... if I was buying a fish, I could say something absolutely brill, just for the halibut, with the sole purpose of making you laugh. Sorry, I'd go on, but I'm starting to flounder."

Rio: "You really don't have a porpoise here, do you?"
marnanel: (Default)
After she had had trouble spelling a word, Rio suddenly said:

"Great Vowel Shift? Huh. I don't see anything great about it. It just seems like a nuisance."

(Further conversations showed that she was aware that "great" in this sense means important, and was making a conscious pun.)
marnanel: (Default)
Rio asked me whether Rupert Brooke was a racist, based on the lines

And Royston men in the far South
Are black and fierce and strange of mouth;
In Grantchester their skins are white;

wherein he is obviously saying that Royston folk are bad and Grantchester people are good.

This led into an interesting conversation.
marnanel: (Default)
Rio: But I thought when people said "trinity" they meant "faith, hope and charity".
Marn: Well, the Latin word "trinitas" means "three-ness", so anything there's three of can be a trinity.
Rio: Like our cats.
Marn: Right.
Rio: So what are faith, hope and charity?
Marn: Theological virtues. But when people say "trinity" they usually mean the three persons of God. I mean, in Cambridge there's a church called Holy Trinity, but it's named after God, not faith, hope and charity.
Rio: Right, and it's not as if there's a church named after our cats.
Marn: True. ...Although there is the Rothko Chapel.
marnanel: (Default)
We are on a train from Cambridge to Heathrow. Rio has just written a poem, and she says I can show it to you.

Have you seen a grucelow
walking through the woods?

Have you seen a minnague
purr as you pat its head?

Have you seen a sanika
hunting its wilful prey?

Have you seen a nakicon
running through the fields?

Have you seen me
watching all these things
do what they do when they're free?


Sep. 9th, 2010 06:08 pm
marnanel: (Default)
I love that we have this sort of conversation.  Walking home with takeaway dinner:

Marnanel: So the central question is: was Hamlet mad?
Riordon: Mad like angry, or...?
Marnanel: Heck, he was pissy out of his mind, but I mean, was he crazy mad?  I say he wasn't, others say he was.
Riordon: Why?
Marnanel: Well, why would you write a whole play where the central character was acting irrationally?
Riordon: Well, he wrote plenty about Hamlet's girlfriend.
Marnanel: Well, true, but I mean... the play's all about this tall guy in black, the gothy prince bloke, that's why it's called Hamlet in the first place... was he mad?  That's the question.
Riordon: "That is the question."
Marnanel: Ha.

marnanel: (Default)
Marn: You understand the idea of a volta in sonnet form, right?
Rio: Well, first you write about your mum.  Then you write about hot dogs.  Then you tell them your mum likes hot dogs.
Marn: ... Where did that come from?
Rio: I made it up.

(I hadn't realised Rio had grasped the dialectical idea of thesis-antithesis-synthesis, which is fundamental to the sonnet, well enough to express it that clearly.)
marnanel: (Default)
Marn: "You know how in English the spelling system is very conservative, so we spell knight K N I G H T because it was pronounced that way once, even though we don't pronounce it that way any more."
Rio: "That makes sense."
Marn: "Well, in the Chinese writing system they have that problem too, only more so."
Rio: "A more radical problem?"
Marn: "... Ha ha."
Rio: "I did that without even trying."
marnanel: (Default)
In heraldry, one person (the head of the family) owns the plain coat of arms, and their descendants mark their versions of the same design with "brisures". There are traditional symbols for the first to the ninth sons, and in Canada for the daughters as well. Here is a chart I made for Wikipedia.

For me this is quite straightforward: I use a label of five points. For Rio this is less obvious; if she had ever wanted to use a heraldic symbol of her own, I would have supposed she could mark things with a label of five points and a heart (at least, in the Canadian system), but it's not very satisfactory.

While walking in this morning, I passed the Ministry of Justice building, and on the front they have a statue of Hope. You can tell it's Hope because she's holding an anchor. (The symbolism is that hope holds fast to what is hoped for; without hope, in despair, you are thrown all over the place like a ship in a storm.)

It occurred to me that an anchor isn't one of the standard brisures, and that Riordon's name is Riordon Hope; so although the College of Arms possibly wouldn't think it was all in order, a reasonable unofficial emblem for Rio, should she ever be interested, would be my grandfather's arms defaced with an anchor:

(Possible precedent: Mary of Teck, whose use-name was May, used to use the Royal arms surrounded with may branches.)

When she wakes up, I'll ask her whether she likes the design. What do you think?
marnanel: (Default)
Some of you people recently got married. This made me remember a hymn called Come O thou traveller unknown by that great hymn-writer Charles Wesley. It's about Jacob's encounter with the angel in Genesis 32 (as recently lampooned by Married to the Sea). I sometimes wonder why it isn't more often used for wedding services:

Come, O thou Traveler unknown,
whom still I hold, but cannot see!
My company before is gone,
and I am left alone with thee.
With thee all night I mean to stay,
and wrestle till the break of day.

Today I did a ton of work. I feel satisfied with it all. Tomorrow, if I get anything at all done, it will be good enough to show you.

Last year, Rio said she wanted to study Latin. I'm quite capable of teaching elementary Latin, so I bought a second-hand copy of the Cambridge Latin Course (you know, Caecilius est pater). But then she said she'd changed her mind, and I let it drop. I'm now thinking I shouldn't have done so, and maybe I'll tell her she has to study at least the first unit (a couple of months of evenings) with me.

Tonight I have to write the blurb about myself for the back of the book. I'm still not sure what I'm going to write. I'm also a little nervous in the back of my mind that the peer reviewers are going to come back and say "You've written a load of bosh, away with your nonsense". I know this is unlikely, but it's easy to worry.


Jul. 6th, 2010 09:48 pm
marnanel: (Default)
Gregory put the pistol slowly down, still staring at Syme as if he were a sea-monster.

“I don’t believe in immortality,” he said at last, “but if, after all this, you were to break your word, God would make a hell only for you, to howl in forever.”

Rio: "That's like saying 'I'm not racist, but...'"


Jun. 25th, 2010 11:44 am
marnanel: (Default)
marnanel: You are in a bedroom.  There is a bed, a computer, and a bookcase.
Marnanel appears.
Marnanel says, "What would you like for lunch?"
> _
riordon: I don't know
riordon: maybe  grlled cheeze
marnanel: I don't understand the word "don't".
Marnanel says, "I like grilled cheese."
> _
riordon: what is wrong with you're computer
marnanel: my computer is fine!
riordon: oooookaaay
riordon: then why are you talking like that?


marnanel: (Default)

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