Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pic related, it's me

[by jane_z]

That is the question

In school, I had problems remembering correct Shakespeare's surname spelling. I always tried to make it more logical and harder to forget - well, you know, Shakespear is the one who shakes his spear (uhm, celebrating his victory in a fight where he used the spear to win, probably?). Anyway, that was pretty easy but the closing "e" was lost from the pattern, generating mistakes.

But yesterday I discovered that my way to spell it wasn't so wrong:

Then, I was able to search for both spellings to unveil the reason of those variant readings:

Elizabethan spelling was very erratic by twentieth-century standards, though it was not (as is sometimes stated) totally without rules. Even the simplest proper names were spelled a variety of ways, but we can at least look at the range of different spellings used for a given name and see what patterns emerge.

Oh, that was exactly my dream on Grammar lessons!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Emerging to face a weekend

With days divided into working ones and weekends again, the ability to either enjoy free time you've got and use it effectively returns.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Been there, done that

Had visited event today:


Sketches are really inelegant and petrified this time. Still, that was my fist experience of capturing something while in a flickering crowd.

Strand st. (and my weird thumb)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tottenham Hale geese

Reasoning fail

Meet Mr. Robert Stevenson, a well-known civil engineer. Yesterday I saw a picture of him in the National Portrait Gallery and got suspicious immediately about the ebook I had downloaded a while ago and hasn't read yet.

The roots of my suspicion were in the fact of that autobiographic book having a self-explaining title Records of a Family of Engineers, stating Robert Louis Stevenson as an author. Of course I had an idea that an autobiography with that title much more likely belongs to an engineer than to a writer, who could be placed on the web page instead of him by mistake (because of him being more famous) - so I was glad to discover a kind of mishmash with names.

How naïve. The author of The Treasure Island turned out to be Robert Stevenson's grandson. His father was an engineer too, so that was the right and simplest reason of giving such a title to his autobiography.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"

A day or two ago I had finally finished the first book of that hyped Larsson's trilogy.

It maybe explains something about modern culture, when in the same story the negativity of some filthy character is emphasized (in addition to other facts) with a scene of him having sex with an underage girl - and only a page or two later, appearance of the positive character is described by mentioning among other epithets her "childlike breasts".

I was rather thrilled with the plot on the middle of the story, but the outcome was weak. Also, almost all the characters are flat and hence, predictable. Especially Salander is nothing more than a stereotype fair of a "vigilante girl" type: black leather, tattoos, tough childhood, autistic-but-talented (and talented in hacking computers, of course) etc.

Still, this book makes great introduction into Swedish way of life, laws and customs (well, at least for a person like me who had never been to Scandinavia). Summarizing: not a must, but probably you won't regret.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Better late than never

What I'm going to write about is rather obvious, I reckon, but I had my fun investigating this.

Today, I came across the Nedroid Comics post quoting familiar verse about an omniscient mirror: "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?"

I rushed to search engines to discover that this phrase belongs to Snow White famous cartoon. Then, I became curious about its connection with the fairy-tale by Pushkin. That's why I had started apologising - I had never realised that those two stories are almost similar before. Dwarfs or knights, not a big difference, but had I never have such an idea until today. Shame on me.

So, both those stories are based on Brothers Grimm tale. Still, in that particular case, Disney's cartoon is quoted most probably - English translations of Grimm's tale that I had managed to find, are of another meter and use "looking glass" term instead of "mirror":

"Looking-glass, Looking-glass, on the wall, who in this land is the fairest of all?"

Bonus: Brutal heavy metal fans doing their own research on the rhyme. Maybe I don't have to be so ashamed.


Happy New Year!