Knights and Fighting 

I've just finished reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Of course, not knowing middle english all that well, I read it in modern English translation. Overall, it is an interesting tale that I had not read before. Now I need to think about all of the elements that include the natural (and possibly supernatural world). The color green seems significant, but besides all of the traditional formalism and symbol interpretation I could do, allow me to say that I am awed by the amount of blood and death that frequently appears in these texts from the middle ages.

The thing that I keep thinking about was how this poem seems designed to show how to be a good soldier. For example, loyalty to the King, even when carrying out absurd quests is more important than protecting one's own life. I suppose the Knight would say it was for a good cause, but I really don't see it. Of course, in Gawain and the Green Knight, this sort of loyalty is rewarded by divine approval, so the death that seems so eminent does not occur. But I wonder about the Knights who admired this story and died trying to emulate the standard of honor it conveys.

I wonder if the action movies of today are meant to do the same thing in our modern wars. For example, when Arnold blows away forty or so "bad guys" and looks supercool doing it, especially when it occurs with a Rock-and-Roll soundtrack, I wonder if the result partially teaches young men how to act as soldiers in battle. I read in some books that the icon of John Wayne, the ultra-masculine cowboy shoot 'em up hero, was an image that some soldiers in the Vietnam War had to confront when faced with the fear of combat. I'm not too sure what I really think of all of this, but it is something to think about, and sometimes helps to put it in modern contexts.

19 October 2005

Notes on Progress 

Today is the day that I finally resolve some long standing difficulties with financial aid. I'm 95% sure everything will work out okay, but I am still a little worried about it anyway. After months of living on the edge with respect to bills, I am really looking forward to getting a little ahead. I am reminded by Foghorn Leghorn's observation that "two half nothings is a whole nothing," but nevertheless I remain hopeful.


The above picture should give some idea as to what I have been busy with lately. Monday is a full day from morning to night: two graduate seminars plus an evening meeting at the Baha'i Center. This past tuesday, I recuperated a little bit from some previous overwork, but now, at Thursday, I feel refreshed enough to be completely back on track. Even though it is still the third week of the term, I am going to start working on my seminar paper now (as in this week), which means I am going to be spending more time in the campus library than anywhere else. I usually waited too long to start writing, so now I am taking an early-bird approach in an effort to climb back on top of the mountain of work I have been stuck under for the past few months. Right now, I feel grateful for the second chance at doing a good job at school and work hard not to screw things up again.

13 October 2005

Chore Day 

Today, I managed to clean the house, wash the dishes, and get the laundry ready. The laundry, unfortunately won't actually get done until Tuesday, but I have enough clothing to last me until that long. Those who know me fairly well would also be shocked--SHOCKED, I tell you--to learn that I made myself dinner rather than succumb to the siren call of cheap fast food. The result of this dinner is as seen below.

Basic Chicken Dinner

Of course, if the above dinner just looks like some bland ten-minute-affair, I assure you--it is. I could have added some spices to the chicken or potatoes, or I could have used some vinegar in the peas. But I will resolutely focus on the positive and pat myself on the back for resisting the temptation of Burger King or Jack in the Box. The only thing left for today is a couple more chapters of homework. I have just finished reading Beowulf (in translation) for the second time. Tomorrow is the marathon day of classes (9-11am, 2-5pm, 6:30-9pm), but I am looking forward to it. Until next post.

02 October 2005