Liz went somewhere with poetry...
I have to be very careful not to cause a temporal paradox by writing this blog as it was seen in a vision by someone combining trigonometry with orchids and roses yesterday, so if I don't write it, it will cause the Blinovitch Limitation Effect or something. Way to motivate myself - I wouldn't want the Universe to explode just because I didn't write a blog post. Even still:
Sarada is of course a poet. She has a variety of good verse, including one poem about certain venereal shrubs already mentioned in this entry in the house of Mars which is brilliant but which she won't read because it's too personal, hence my oblique reference. Nonetheless there are other poems which are equally groovy and which she is prepared to read out loud in public, one of which I find very nervewracking. It's called 'On Not Speaking A Scandinavian Language' and is mentioned here on her blog but it's looking like you're going to have to go to a live performance actually to hear it. It evolved from a series of limericks I think. The reason it makes me nervous is that most of the way through the poem, she seems ignorant of the characteristics of the languages themselves. For instance, she seems to think that Swedish has an "Ø" in it when in fact it has an "Ö" , and I'm also a little uneasy about the inclusion of Finnish among the Scanditongues because I don't think it really is. All is, however, resolved in the last verse. She, of course, would feel equally or more nervous performing the rose poem, so she doesn't. I personally think she should go there but since when have either of us had any control over what our partners do?
...there was some beer...
Indeed there was. I gave up alcohol for seventeen years until last autumn, when I decided that I was as addicted to not drinking it as some people are to drinking it, although of course the latter tends to have more serious consequences. However, I still eschew beer, on the whole, because of the hops.
Hops are martial herbs. This is a little surprising as they are oestrogenic and also liver stimulants, so one might expect them to be venereal or jovial, but apparently not, says Culpeper, and who am I to argue. They are also in the category of "popular herbs which I never use", the other two being juniper and vervain. Oddly enough, vervain was the first herb I used medicinally on myself in my early twenties. Like juniper, but unlike vervain, hops are hard to find a use for not because they're useless - they're far from that - but because their indications and counterindications tend to coincide. Juniper is a kidney stimulant which works by irritating the organs concerned, meaning that it wouldn't be a good idea to use it to stimulate reins which are already troubled and susceptible to injury through irritation. Someone m,ight want to explain how to use it to me sometime.
Hops are similar, so it's said. Hops are of course used for sleep and anxiety and are oestrogenic, but they also exacerbate depression. Besides that, they stimulate the liver and lymphatics (which is allegedly impossible). Now, the reason I find this problematic is that depression can lead to insomnia and anxiety and depression are said to be chemically similar. If my website still existed you could look that up on it, couldn't you? Ah well, never mind. It is also thought to contribute to depression among beer aficionadas/-os on occasion. Having been susceptible to depression in spades before the Catastrophe (it deserves a capital C I think), I assumed that the guzzlement or chewment of hoppiness would not lead to happiness for Mands, so although I did go back on the sauce I didn't start drinking beer again. Come to think of it I have no idea what's vegan nowadays anyway. However, I did want to experiment, so I have in fact munched quite a lot of hops over the past couple of weeks. Rather surprisingly, they didn't make me depressed at all! I'm now wondering if hops are one of the herbs which have a paradoxical effect on me, another one being lavender which used to make me irritable and stimulated - it now does the reverse. So I might be wary, but am now wondering if I'd be OK with hops.
...and she ended up with a "Star Trek" reference...
Things are about to get seriously nerdy.
As you will be aware if you look at some other entries, I've been developing a conlang called Amandese. Esperanto is said to have failed because it lacked a culture to back it up. In fact it did have a culture of sorts, but that's another story. Tolkien's languages, however, do have a culture and are more successful, and the same is of course true of Klingon. Speaking of which, Star Trek has these things called star dates, one of which cheered me up once when I was sitting despondently in a student bedroom in Oadby, pulled out a drawer and saw "Captain Kirk Stardate XXXX.X" written on it (with actual numbers I've forgotten). This had the opposite effect that hops are said to have.
The original idea behind star dates was that because Starfleet was bunging ether vessels about Ginnungagap at a rate of knots, it would end up bending time to the extent that it was the middle of last week for some of them while it was next Thursday to others, so they needed a system to mark time which wasn't anchored to any particular planet. To me this seems a neat idea.
However, here's the Memory Alpha entry on them, and as you can see that idea seems to have been completely abandoned, which is annoying.
One phrase which tends to go through my head a lot is "Yea, e'en before the Great Nova Of Gath", which I thought was from Not The Nine O'Clock News but apparently isn't, so I have no idea whence it came. It occurred to me about thirty years ago that there was in fact a "Great Nova" a long time ago, for us, namely the Crab Nebula, which even from here is the brightest X-ray source in the night sky. It's about 6500 light years away and its light first reached us on 4th July 1054. Moreover, it has a built-in time signal, the Crab Nebula pulsar which has a period of 33.5028583 milliseconds. It seems to me that we do in fact have a useful way of dating things here, and also one which depends on spatial position as well as temporal. Why not date the events in this bit of the Galaxy from when the Crab Nebula, in Amandese "Supernova De Gath", became visible to a given location and use units based on the period of its pulsar? Nothing can interfere causally with the events outside the light cone, so this is entirely feasible and shouldn't cause any problems while underlining the fact that simultaneity is illusory according to relativity.
Bringing this back to language, back in the early 20th century, less than 900 years after the Great Nova Of Gath (can't do the pulsar period thing right now), the appropriately named Whorf of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis claimed that the Hopi language had a different view of time in that it failed to recognise the concept of simultaneity, although apparently there is no evidence for it and it's like that "words for snow" myth. However, I'm entirely happy with the idea of adopting whatever the heck it was supposed to be into Amandese, provided the havoc it wreaks with my conceptual universe is entertaining and conducive to compassion rather than just a mindwobble to no real purpose.
Oh yeah, and I saw a Star Trek cross-stitch book in Oxfam the other day and I can do cross-stitch.