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Although a glance at this livejournal would indicate otherwise, July was actually an action-packed month for me. For your convenience and mine, I present a retelling of this eventful month in the much beloved, time-tested trope of magazine writers 'round the world: the list of faux statistics!

Games

3,328,856 was my final score in my first NetHack ascension (Päike the neutral human Wizard ascended to demi-goddesshood)

2 turns into my next game (as an orcish Rogue), I died ("A trap door in the ceiling opens and a rock falls on your head! An arrow shoots out at you! You are hit by an arrow! You die ...")

Literature

3: The number of books I read in July

4 ... if you consider that I read Everything Is Illuminated two times, back to back

5: The volume of Harry Potter which seems to have been, inexplicably and hopelessly, replaced with Lemony Snicket's Harry Potter fanfic (how else to explain why everything goes wrong for everyone in this damn book)

6: The volume of Harry Potter that everyone on the subway thinks I'm reading ("Actually, I'm still on five ... I've heard six is pretty good, though")

A dose of Mormon history

650 costumed cast members participated in the Hill Cumorah Pageant ("the world's largest outdoor pageant") in Palmyra, NY

5 members of my immediate family, including myself, were in attendance (my older brother somehow weaseled his way out of it)

0 people were anywhere near the Pageant's "Información en Español" booth, as far as I could tell

9 "protesters" stood at the entrance to the pageant, most of whom were bent on telling the Mormons that they're hell-bound cult members

267 miles separate Palmyra, NY from Kirtland, OH, our eventual destination

5,830 cubic meters of water pass every second over Niagara Falls, which we visited along the way

11.50 dollars is the amount we paid, per person, to board the Maid of the Mist, thereby getting a sizeable amount of that water on ourselves

7,432 is the measure (in MTUs, or metric tacky units) of how tacky the Maid of the Mist gift shop is (Maid of the Mist hockey sticks? Yes. Maid of the Mist boxer shorts? Of course.)

0 gift shops were to be found at the Sacred Grove (though both my little sisters expected one)

1 gift shop, however, sits in a small building next to the Kirtland Temple, which is owned and operated not by the LDS church but by the Community of Christ (formerly the Re-organized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

6 total hours were spent sitting in airplanes waiting to take off, if you include both the flight to Rochester and the flight back to JFK

My job

3 developers in my department have been thinking about polishing their resumes, due to the fact that ...

2 new managers had been put into place while I was on vacation, as ...

1 of my old managers had gotten the axe

My family in NYC

0: number of times that my dad has liked eggplant, before having eaten a dinner prepared by S's mom (a good impression was thereby made)

1 is the subway line that I took the most frequently while showing my family around New York City

2 (i.e. both) of my sisters enjoyed the Chinatown Ice Cream factory, and

3 is the Serendipity that we visited for my mom's birthday (and, incidentally, the number of hours we had to wait for a table)

Music and product placement

5 bands that I have learned to love in July (the Fall, Vibracathedral Orchestra, Teenage Fanclub, Suicide, Mojave 3) thanks to a paltry ...

40 downloads a month at emusic.com
aparrish: (Default)
1. Estonian

Josh and I have tickets to Vilnius in September, whence we will depart on a whirlwind tour of the Baltics focusing mainly on the northernmost and southernmost of the states belonging thereto. (We'll drop by Riga, but on the whole Latvia fails to interest. Ask anyone.) We decided to split the linguistic load between the two of us. Since Josh has already had the opportunity to study a Finno-Ugric language (Finnish), he let me take Estonian. I've left him to figure out Lithuanian, of which I know little except that it uses macrons.

Tolkien called Finnish an "amazing wine of a kind and flavor never tasted before", and Estonian gives me a similar heady feeling. (Those who have no patience for poetic waxings about linguistic structure are invited to take a break and rejoin me for the next section, in which I talk about bashing monsters with swords.) The pronominal system is balanced, but not perfectly symmetrical; the genitive forms are elegant but unpredictable. A regular, productive morphological diminutive! A partitive case! How can you not love a language that represents one of its vowels with the letter 'õ'?

The thirty minutes I spend doing exercises from Juhan Tuldava's Estonian Textbook often end up being the best minutes of my day. I love the textbook, aside from a few vital omissions (isn't palatalization pretty important, Tuldava?), and the "Texts," which are in most cases vapid to the point of uselessness. An example, from an early chapter. (Translated by yours truly. I need to call up the U.N. to see if they need an Eesti interpreter.)

-- Hello, who's speaking?
-- It is I.
-- Are you at home today?
-- Yes, I surely am.
-- Are you coming tomorrow?
-- Yes, I'm coming.
-- What are you doing?
-- I'm studying!
-- How's it going?
-- Fine, thanks.
-- That is good.


2. NetHack

I have been playing far too much of this game lately - specifically the Windows CE port. It's an enabler. Anywhere, anytime is now appropriate for getting killed by soldier ants or accidentally reading scrolls of fire. (In my now extensive NetHack notes file: "Don't do that.") Someone once called it "the GPA killer," but life killer is more like it. The desire-to-do-anything-else killer is even closer. I've even started playing ZAngband, to see if I can get a more satisfying fix. I'm reading the newsgroups. The newsgroups, for the love of God!

I actually ascended a character not too long ago, but I was in explore mode and playing a Barbarian. Not so much an accomplishment as reconnaissance, although I think my eventual death count was less than five, and I had a few spare wishes. I'm currently working on a promising Gnomish Ranger, although her chances of survival may have recently diminished: her dog ate a chameleon corpse and became an iguana. (Notes file: "Don't let your dog do that.")

3. Architecture in Helsinki

Their new record In Case We Die is kick-ass fun (more info from the record label, no mp3s but you can watch a video of "It'5" at their web page). Sonically they remind me a lot of Múm in their earlier, cutesier (as opposed to painfully twee) days, but with the pomo song structure sensibility of the Unicorns. Recommended.

4. That's all

I'm heading to the MC Frontalot show now. No, really. I told you this was a nerdy entry.

March 2016

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