Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The War That Killed Achilles

In college I had the great fortune of translating the Iliad from Greek to English. This was in a class of 3 students with a remarkable professor, and it was the top literary experience of my college years. I adore the story, the epic, the context and the characters.

Just this morning I finished reading Caroline Alexander's The War That Killed Achilles, a great reading experience complete with a rush back through my brain and my veins of everything I love about the epic. The tragedy of war (as recognised even by the war hero), the futility of "enemies", and most of all the humanity of it all. Achilles, Hektor, Andromache, Patroklos, Priam, even Helen: the range of emotions they endure in the epic and how recognisable they are to any person, in any period of history.

The role of the gods always perplexed me slightly, and Alexander quotes Longinus' On The Sublime: "in recording as he does the wounding of the gods, their quarrels, vengeance, tears, imprisonment, and all their manifold passions Homer has done his best to make the men in the Iliad gods, and the gods men."

But most of all, the closing lines of the book. Remember that the story of the Iliad tells of the war of Troy, in which, listeners would know, Trojans were defeated and their city decimated. The Achaeans, however, did not fare so well afterwards either. Almost all the celebrated heros of the Greek armies meet violent or tragic ends and we know the Mycenaean empire did not survive for long after the end of the war. Bringing all your strongest men away from their lands for 10 years I guess could do that to an ancient empire.

And so, Alexander points out that
War makes stark the tragedy of mortality. A hero will have no recompense for death, although he may win glory. 

Friday, 26 April 2013

Monday, 22 April 2013

So much to celebrate, so little time.

It started Thursday, when I finally consumed Anthony's birthday gift of dinner at No Mas Cantina, in the company of the man himself and G, and a giant margarona.

Which looks like this:  

Friday was the double celebration of
A) having found a person in Atlanta from Rovereto, G's home town. And yes, they know the same people. And yes it is weird.
and
B) Nik's 10 year America anniversary. Complete with red white and blue cocktails. Which tasted a little bit like death by cough syrup.

And Saturday was Christina and Anthony's birthday dinner. At which it was further shown to me that in America one does not bring presents to birthday celebrations. Interesting. And then there was I: walking into The Optimist with wine and plants. You mean everyone doesn't do that?

And then G got a hold of my phone again and this happened: http://giffer.co/g/4EwBwuAg

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Better than Hercule Poirot

I have seen this image doing the rounds of Twitter, and now also on Facebook (see below).

I may be wrong - please correct me if I am - but it seems to imply that we can identify the Boston bomb culprit by the lighter-coloured fabric strap on his backpack.

This is our investigation process??

Perhaps it is him, I wouldn't know. But just to assist with the elimination process: I also have a backpack with those grey strips on the arm straps. In my case at least it is a Victorinox backpack, extremely popular piece of luggage I see on people at least several times a day. But it wasn't me.


Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The trouble with smoothies.

It's very warm and I snack a lot. Enter smoothies. Easy to make, easy to consume at my desk, packed with good elements and very refreshing.

And yet not filling.

I just drank three bananas 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and a cup of milk. Still hungry. Why?

In other news, my legs still hurt from the weekend hike. So I thought it balances out yesterday did some upper body exercise. Now I hurt all over, and feel much better for it.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Spring weekend

And a bit of a mad week.

A weekend spent all in the sunshine. Except for when it rained, at which point I simply got wet.

Saturday was a perfect day of breezy sunshine for an all-afternoon out door barbecue. And may all barbecues now follow this format of constant meat arrivals, laid onto a cutting board from which everyone grabs bits and eats with their hands. Fabulous.

And although we got rained on Sunday was a wonderful hike in Amicalola Falls state park to see the gorgeous water fall.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Accountability Group

Another great meeting with my accountability group yesterday.

My favourite thing about the group is the constant reminder that people have dreams they pursue, ideas they will make reality, and when we break these down into individual steps they are all simply doable.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Atlanta Praise

For organising a brilliant free outdoor party for the Final Four games, taking place in this city.

The final four is, apparently, the semi-finals and finals of the university basketball championships. Given that my only previous US experience was the not-known-for-athletics Vassar College, I just learnt this now.

Held in Centennial Olympic Park and entirely free of charge over the course of three days, performers included My Morning Jacket, Macklemore, Flo Rida, Muse, Ludacris, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Sting and more. Also the Dave Matthews Band whose music I don't know but who I gather are a big deal here.

Macklemore/Ryan Lewis by the way proved to be a revelation: the show was seamless beginning to end and unfolded like a fully choreographed stage production. Already a staunch fan of the music (with Same Love as a favourite), my admiration has only grown.

[Images below]

Of course my Friday night was dedicated to Mike's birthday celebrations complete with period cocktails, speakeasy and cigars. Of course.





Tuesday, 2 April 2013

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Monday, 1 April 2013

Failing my eye test

Does anybody else get worried, when at the eye doctor and he/she is asking you whether lens no.1 or no.2 is more visible, that there is a right and a wrong answer, and you want to ask the dr. for a hint? Is it just me?