a nose by any other name

A few weeks ago, I started reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace. I have been making slow progress (due in part to a lack of time and wakefulness, and in part due to my slow grasp of who everyone is (the first several chapters are at a soiree, and there are so many characters introduced)), and there is a long way to go, but I’m quite excited to be finally reading it.

Being such an epic novel — both in actual length and in literary importance — I knew at the outset that I would occasionally need other reading material as a break from War and Peace. It just so happened that today my partner showed me a video of a scene from Dmitri Shostakovich’s first opera, The Nose. In this particular scene, there are a number of people (maybe ten or so) dressed as large noses, and they tap dance around the stage.

We were both very baffled by what was going on, and wondered what sort of opera could feature such a strange act. In the interests of edification, as my partner moved on to other things (i.e. work), I Googled it myself, and found that it’s actually based on a novella of the same name. As it so happened, it was written by Nikolai Gogol, one of the other greats of Russian literature.

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sour summer

The weather is warming up nicely here. I’m not sure why I say “nicely” because I’m not really looking forward to summer.

But one good thing about the warmer weather is drinking sour beers. I’ve been told they’re generally a summer thing because they tend to be really refreshing. 

I keep telling people who don’t like beer that they just need to find the right beer. These people generally have only ever tried mainstream beer, and have one (bad) impression of the beverage. Continue reading

no metaphorical rain today

Today has been unexpectedly very productive. This is probably an insignificant post in the grand scheme of things, but I don’t think I’ve had such a productive non-work day in so long, so in my books it’s worth recording. Didn’t plan on writing this post, though, so it’s kind of more stream-of-consciousness than usual.

Anyway, I didn’t get to bed until about 1am last night, so I didn’t bother setting an alarm, deciding that I should allow myself a sleep-in (it’s Sunday, after all). I woke up at some point in the morning to the sound of really heavy rain outside …and then I went back to sleep. Continue reading

south for the winter

Alright, here we go… I’ve decided to start my series of holiday-related posts with what was probably the highlight of the trip: Launceston. (Keeping in mind that I’m probably not going to write a post about my cousin’s wedding, since this is not really the sort of place I’d write about it if I did.)

For those of you unfamiliar with Australian geography, Launceston is a town (or small city?) in the state of Tasmania, which is that island at the bottom of Australia, just south of Victoria (which is where Melbourne is). Being the southernmost state, I suppose it is the coldest, and, apart from seeing my friend who lives there, I was probably looking forward to that the most. Well, that, and exploring a place completely new to me.

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an open door

Back in September last year, I wrote that, hypothetically, given a year left to live, I would like to share my blog more. I must admit that, since then, I haven’t shared it to any great extent, but at least I’ve shared it more than I used to (which was practically not at all).

It’s kind of hard, though, going from pretending like my blog doesn’t exist, and not really having a solid answer for those times when people ask me what on earth I do with my spare time, to actually telling people I have a blog. I find that, of the few times I have shared this part of me with friends, that I tend to try to slip it casually into the conversation. It’s almost as if I’m hoping people won’t give it a second thought, but secretly I’m relishing the fact that people I know in real life have any sort of interest in the random things that I’m writing here.  Continue reading