Sunday, February 27, 2005

Buddies (finally)

It took quite a while for Luci to take to Phil. She was firmly established when he arrived into our lives, just nine weeks old, whereas Luci was a mature five months! She loudly proclaimed her annoyance with this rambunctious little upstart, by growling every time he got within a few feet of her.

Even though it took a while, she started realizing that he wasn’t totally terrible, and it might actually be fun to have a playmate once in a while. Even though Phil is still, occasionally, a tad too playful for her they’re now quite good friends.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Katabasis Ahenobarbi

Here's another blog on why I can't wait for winter to end. This photo (taken, again, by Teisha) shows a crowded conclave in the uber-cool canyon of Subway in Zion Nat'l Park. It was an amazing hike, full of slickrock, waterfalls, good friends, and a beastly ascent out the other side. Facilis descensus deorsum in Subviam... sed revocare gradum superasque evadere ad auras, hoc opus, hic labor est. Good times.

Bree in Sepia

Here's a recent photo of our little Bree. This was taken just a few days ago by our good friend, Teisha, an extremely talented photographer. She has an eye for form and framing. And, well, let's just face facts here: Bree's about as photogenic as infants come (no bias on my part, of course), so it's hard to screw up. I like the bubbles.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Fourth Age

Last night we had another fun night of gaming. It snowed food and rained drink, duels were fought, parties betrayed, companions badly injured, halflings won the day, and we now begin a new leg of our campaign.

I’ve been gaming with Harles, on and off, for about fifteen years now. This is Pulcheria's first time playing an RPG, and she says she likes it. I'm not sure whether BillyCheese has played a non-virtual RPG, but it's fun having him involved in this campaign, as well. As always, I enjoyed myself, even if there was not as much action as I would have liked… Right up until Turlin (grrr) had help betraying us from a skilled assassin. We fought through and won that skirmish, but are still a long way away from figuring out what’s going on.

What fun, eh?

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Veni, O Ver!

Some day it'll be spring again. Ah, the good old days. Until then all I can do is look at pictures of the times when I could just go out and play when I wanted. This pic is of me at "the breaks." If you drive up Millville canyon to the top, right before turning North to Mt. Logan, there's a huge, steep drop-off. I'm standing fairly close to the edge, as you can see. I can't wait to get back up there. Melt, snow, melt.

Lofty mountaintop
Snow drifts ban our reunion
We must wait 'til spring

Monday, February 21, 2005


I think it's time I introduced my whole household. You've already met my wife, Jan (a.k.a. Pulcheria) and Brielle Maia [initials: BMW (therefore, a.k.a. Beamer)]. Here we see (her picture has been in here before—see Mini-Holsteins) our little Lucifer (a.k.a. Luci). She is our second cat after Maximus Barca. In this picture she is playing with the cord that's hanging down from the camera. She's a great mixture of black & white (both in looks and personality).

Next, here's Mephistophilis (a.k.a. Phil) and my foot. He's named after Lucifer's lieutenant in Medieval tradition (cf. Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus). Don't his eyes look like a demon's in this picture? He's really a sweet little guy.

And, finally, here is my entire cute little family (minus the photographer) in our little yellow house on the little hidden hill with the really long driveway.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Saturday, February 19, 2005


We just couldn't resist taking this shot of our two little dairy cows.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Lessons from the Past

I’ve been reading a book on Ovid by a scholar named Molly Myerowitz, who brings up a few fascinating points about her subject. It took a while for me to get into it, since I started right in the middle (that’s the chapter that I was assigned), and it was very abstract, especially since I hadn’t been prepared by the earlier 3 chapters.

In 8 AD Ovid was exiled from his beloved Rome by Augustus, because of what Ovid calls Carmen et Error (a poem and a mistake) up to a BFE little town on the Black Sea populated by the Getae, where he was constantly on guard against barbarian invaders, and horribly uncouth language. Until that time, Ovid had been celebrated as one of the great poets of the golden age of Roman literature, sharing the empire with other greats such as Vergil and Horace (both of whom are mocked in his poetry).

One of Myerowitz’ points that deeply struck home is her analysis of what Ovid said about his own work after his relegatio (a mild form of exile). Up until that point, Ovid had likely not paid much attention to his otium (leisure time), and likely considered it, if he considered it at all, to be a privilege. His writings from the Pontus bewail his condition, the weather, the barbarians, the uncivilized inhabitants, the lack of a sophisticated and discriminating audience to give him useful feedback—basically everything that he loved was in Rome, whither he would never return.

Now, here is the interesting part. He writes frequently of how his talent is failing, due to the lack of otium he is now forced to deal with. He seems to be genuinely distraught that his ability to write good poetry has vanished, and his work will be received only with mockery and derision. Yet, at the same time, Myerowitz noted, to us as modern readers, his post-exilic corpus is quite the opposite of his expectations. His works Tristia (Sadness) and Epistulae Ex Ponto (Letters from the Pontus) are exquisitely beautiful, and heart-wrenching. Perhaps more than any other works of his, these have the power to evoke strong emotive responses in the reader. All this was totally absent from Ovid’s imagination. What irony. Here is a great poet thinking that his trials have taken away his talent, all the while he is writing some of the greatest poetry of his life.

I’ve lately been feeling that since Bree was born I haven’t been able to think properly. I’ve told myself that it’s because I’m sleep deprived, or my attitude has changed to only want to live in the raw emotion of the moment, instead of thinking deeply about abstract matters, or future career moves. Well, Ovid’s example, as pointed out by Myerowitz, is one that I hope I will eventually follow, and emmerge from better than ever. Of course, that is one advantage I have over Publius Ovidius Naso: I’m loving life now more than ever, and wouldn’t trade it for anything. Even if I never make it back to the cutting-edge of academia, I will still count myself fortunate.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Way Too Lengthy

Welcome to the new edition of getting to know your friends. Okay here's what you're supposed to do, and try not to be lame and spoil the fun! Just copy (not forward) this entire e-mail and paste into a new e-mail that you can send. Change all the answers so that they apply to you. Then send this to a whole bunch of people you know, INCLUDING the person that sent it to you. Some of you may get this several times- that means you have lots of friends

1. What is your full name? Ahenobarbus Textor.
2. What color pants are you wearing? White, I hope (pants= underwear; trousers = trousers).
3. What are you listening to right now? Bree making baby sounds. They’re really cute.
4. What was the last thing you ate? A large Capone sandwich (no peppers) from the Pizza Factoria.
5. Do you wish on stars? Nope (most of them are probably extinct, anyway).
6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Silver.
7. How is the weather right now? Too bright and depressingly cheerful.
8. Last person you spoke to on the phone? January, who told me to check my email, so I could see the banned Bud advertisement.
9. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Scilicet deligo eam! Semper illam amabam. Cur?
10. How old are you today? 00011100 (binary rules)!
11. Favorite drink? Bawls.
12. Favorite sport? Canyoneering.
13. Hair color? Reddish.
14. Do you wear contacts? No, but I’ve made contacts. You know who you are. The password is “asparagus.”
15. Siblings? 1 brother, 3 sisters, one brother-in-law, 1 sister-in-law.
16. Favorite month? I vote with Jan: “September – I love fall!”
17. Favorite food? Grilled lamb kabobs, from a specific street vendor in Istanbul.
18. What was the last movie you watched? Pride and Prejudice – the BBC one, not the Mormon one.
19. Favorite day of the year? May 15 (the anniversary of Fetih Sultan Mehmet’s conquering of Constantinople… Oh, and also my wedding anniversary).
20. What do you do to vent anger? Annihilate whatever/ whomever has angered me.
21. What was your favorite toy as a child? PVC pipes. I made all kinds of things with them, from swords to water throwers.
22. Summer or winter? Oh, so definitely Summer. Winter bites.
23. Hugs or kisses? From whom? Some people I quite like to kiss, others not so much.
25. Do you want your friends to email you back? Only if they feel it absolutely necessary to redeem their honor of being the person least likely to respond.
26. Who is most likely to respond? Aliquis. (See question 23).
27. Who is least likely to respond? Nescio quem. (See question 23).
28. Living arrangements? A yellow house on an incredible property.
29. When was the last time you cried? I don’t remember. It’s been a while.
30. What is under your bed? A naughty board game.
31. Who is the friend you have had the longest? That I still keep in contact with? Hm… Maybe Aaron Preece? No, wait! It's Michael Davidson.
32. What did you do last night? Rock-climbed.
33. Favorite smell? German chocolate cake with caramel-coconut-pecan frosting.
34. What inspires you? Individuals who overcome their own apathy and lethargy.
35. What are you afraid of? Betrayal.
37. Favorite car? Jeep Hurricane.
38. Favorite Flower? Iris.
39. Number of keys on your key ring? Four. I need to reduce that number by half.
40. How many years at your current job? 4, on and off.
41. Favorite day of the week? Friday (and Monday this semester).
42. What did you do on your last birthday? I honestly don’t remember. Opened a couple of presents, most likely.
43. How many states have you lived in? 2.
44. Have many cities have you lived in? 10, maybe.
45. What time did you get up this morning? 8:30 a.m.
46. Diamonds or pearls? Neither.
47. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? The Incredibles.
48. What is your favorite TV show? Nova, probably. Oo, or maybe the Jeff Corwin Experience.
49. What did you have for breakfast? Tangy BBQ chicken bits.
50. What is your middle name? Jay. My parents wanted to give me the middle name, “Kay,” but thought I’d be made fun of, because of the actor, Danny Kay. Well, guess what, Mom & Dad!? I was made fun of for so many things that my middle name would have been the least of my worries. So, instead I got stuck with the middle name “Crow” (cf. any Old English lexicon).
51. What is your favorite cuisine? Good question. I don’t know. I’m adventurous, and my tastes change with the menu. Why? What are you cooking?
51. What foods do you dislike? Onions and peppers, although I am getting better at dealing with them.
52. What is your favorite chip flavor? Sour cream & chives.
53. What is your favorite CD at the moment? Crooked Fingers, title album.
54. What type of car do you drive? ’89 Jeep Cherokee, with a 4.5 inch lift and oversize (31") mud-terrain tires.
55. Favorite sandwich? Reuben
56. What characteristics do you despise? Manipulative, selfish, arrogant, illogical. Refusal to move on with life after a trauma, and take responsibility.
57. Favorite item of clothing? Jan just bought me a new Nike DryFit shirt that I love.
58. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Somewhere either in the Mediterranean or Australia. Then again, there's the old standby of San Diego.
59 What color is your bathroom? White.
60. Favorite brand of clothing? Used/ cheap. Fashion's stupid.
61. Where would you retire to? My own private island, and I’d make sure to bring my private jet & helicopter, too.
62. Favorite time of the day? Sleepy-time.
63. What was your most memorable birthday? My ninth. I invited only girls… There were quite a few of them, too.
64. Favorite sport to watch? Soccer.
65. Who do you least expect to send this back to you? I’m not saying. I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to reply. Or guilty for not.
66. What fabric detergent do you use? Um… This is a question about cleaning, right?
67. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Both. It sucks. I don’t recommend it.
68. What is your shoe size? 42-43 (UK)
69. Do you have any pets? Lucifer and Mephistophilis would probably say that they have us.
70. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with your family & friends? Yea! I’m going to graduate. (Someday). (Maybe).
71. What did you want to be when you were little? An entomologist. I could name the major parts of an insect (more than just the three basic sections) from about the age of 8 on.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

January Haiku

Hazel eyes sparkle
Like sunlight on a river
Beaming happiness

Monday, February 14, 2005


Happy Valentine's Day, everyone. Share the love.

Maximus Barca

In a few months Pulcheria and I will have been married for six years. Amazing. She gets more wonderful every day. She looks better now even than when we got married. This picture, taken in September of 2003, shows Pulcheria playing with our little Max (Maximus Barca was his name). He was our first kid, and died young, but we loved him tremendously.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Catullus 16

I was recently exploring different blogs, when I came across one that, as a student, I found quite funny. Ms-Chievous writes occasionally about a horrible English teacher, and the experiences she has had with her. Now, I have little clue what University/ College this teacher is at, but I am still hoping for his/ her downfall, all because of the writings of a fellow blogger.

This all led me to think of the immortal nature of the written word. Catullus, the ancient Roman poet, knew this well. In Carmen 12, Catullus writes to an acquaintance who thinks he's being funny by filching a sentimental napkin, but really he's just being an immature jerk. Catullus tells him, "Quare aut hendecasyllabos trecentos/ exspecta, aut mihi linteum rimitte" ("Therefore, either anticipate 300 lines of verse [i.e., to be directed at you] or give me back my napkin!"). Catullus knew that his little versified-joke on Asinius Marrucinus would far outlive Asinius' little practical-joke on him. In Carmen 16, Catullus really lays it into a couple of critics of his work, and something of the sort should be said to that horrible English teacher: Pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo (the translation of this is rather more obscene than any words that English has to offer, but runs something along the lines of "I will butt-f**k you, and face-f**k you, as well"). Those Romans really knew how to use profanity eloquently.

The point of this whole entry is to pontificate on how the written word transcends all boundaries of time, distance, and even culture. Long live writers who want to share their frustrations!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Glottal Grins

Later that night, when we were finally home, the Super-Bowl over, food eaten, drinks drunk, friends hugged, snow traversed, this picture was taken. Bree just loves to smile for us. This was the first night she began sticking her tongue out when she grinned, and she still occasionally does it. Cute, huh?

Bree's Dress, et cetera

This is a picture of Bree in her blessing dress, made by her paternal grandmother, lying on an afghan made by her maternal grandmother. The bonnet on her right was made by one of Jan's friends. Oh, she's just too adorable.

Baby Blessing

Hurray! My baby finally has a name. For those of you who may not know, Mormons have "Baby Blessings," where the child is formally given the name he/ she will be known on the records of the church. This is similar to "Naming Days" of other protestant Christian traditions. Well, our dear little Bree was blessed this last Sunday (2/6/05). It was a nice short meeting, and the party was held afterwards. This picture is of Bree being held by two of the greatest friends I have. As always, Bree was calm and smiley throughout the day, no matter who was holding her, except, of course, when she began to get hungry... in that respect, she's like her old man: perfectly genial until hungry, then watch out!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Sultanahmet Camii

My first day in Istanbul (May 3, 2004) I spent hours just walking around the Sultanahmet district. In this picture I'm standing across the street from the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii) while a friend I met there took my picture. The Blue Mosque has the most impressive exterior of any building I saw on the trip. It achieves a sense of architectural balance and upward movement that draw your eyes to its topmost dome, while appreciating the whole. At night, they light it up with blue-tinted flood-lights, and the sky fills with seabirds. This happened to coincide with the nightly call to prayer, as it often does, leading the locals to say that the birds are praying.