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Tuesday, December 10th, 2013
5:03 pm - Ostracism
DDbDP transcription: o.bu.njem.25 [xml]
IIIspc Golas

̣ ̣ ̣ ̣ n(umerus) xḷịịịị[ -ca.?- ]
ẹx̣ ịṣ libṛ(arius) i
[optio] i
p̣ṛ[o]culcator i ̣ ̣ ̣ ̣
[ad b]alneuṃ iii
quintanari xiiị
stationari iiii
egri ii
Pacciụs Max(imus) Iul(ius) Secundarius iị
rel(iqui) repungent s(umma) xviiii balneus
accipit xii fornarius vii

There's a website full of these creatures waiting for translation. It seems like there's one ostrakon for each day. This one is in pretty good shape compared to the rest, but they seem to have basically the same formula. Some words are oddly spelled, some I'm extrapolating a meaning for based on extant words. They're counting stuff up and divvying it out: the question is, what? I think this example might help us out.

There's something, the number is 44.
From these, the secretary gets 1.
the second in command gets 1.
the scout gets 1.
three go to the bath.
the guys posted on the central street get 13.
the guys posted on the look-out posts get 4.
the sick get 2.
(Paccius Maximus and Iulius Secundarius, that is, get 2.)
The rest punch back in and the sum is 19.
The [slave who heats the bath?] gets 12.
The slave who heats the oven gets 7.

My main problem is the meaning of 'repungent,' which, over and beyond the fact that I keep wanting to write 'repugnant,' is only listed in the dictionary once, to poke or pierce a second time. pungo by itself can mean any number of poking activities, including voting by making a mark or scratch in something. So: IF Paccius Maximus and Iulius Secundus are in fact the sick people (I saw another where the sick people were listed), then their 2 is the same 2 as the 2 in the sick people line, and the sum total of units distributed is 25, which is 44 minus 19. So maybe after they're done distributing units, they count the remaining units and make a poke hole in something or a scratch for each unit they count. Possibly a process they did at the beginning to get a number to start with, so the leftovers make the hole the second time. Thus my 'punch back in' translation.

So what are they? How about pieces of firewood? All the important people get their own, plus the scout who might be out... scouting. In other examples instead of "to the bath" it's "to the water of the bath," which would need warming. The people posted in the street that runs through the center of the housing units can distribute the bulk of them to the soldiers. The look-outs need fires to keep warm. The sick obviously need warmth. And that's the only thing I can come up with that makes sense with the slave who heats the oven getting seven at the end of the day. balneus, by the way, not a word, but if I can construe it alongside fornarius (also not a word, but easily contracted from fornicarius), it makes sense. What would need more heating than the ovens but the bath?

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Sunday, November 11th, 2012
10:44 am - New Blog
Since poor LJ seems to be going the way of the dinosaur, I've been thinking for a while of putting up another blog. I finally did, though it's not just a 'what's going on with me' type of blog. It's kind of a mix between a blog and this book that's been percolating in my brain for a while, the Greek Mythology Survival Guide, a kind of take-off on the Zombie Survival Guide throwing a spotlight on the most common tropes of Greek Mythology in the form of advice to one trying to get through the world 'unmurdered, unmolested, and unmutated."

Tone is supposed to be casual/funny/approachable rather than high erudite, so the grammar is purposefully loose and colloquial. Advice on whether it's too hokey/too fake/too forced, or really any other feedback would be appreciated. Otherwise, I don't know how often I'll be able to update, but I hope it'll end up being pretty regular and at least mildly entertaining.



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Thursday, July 14th, 2011
9:16 pm - Writer's Block: Subtitles please
What is your favorite foreign film? Do you think there should be an American remake?

It's strange that this thing popped up a couple of days after I went and watched Delicatessen on Hulu's Days of Summer series. I don't usually click on random films, but this one looked intereting, and definitely delivered. From the clownish, Chaplin-esque antics of the main character (the bed-bouncing scene made me smile more than anyone should smile at a scene of two people bouncing on a bed) to the slow unfolding of the darker elements in the plot, it was just about perfect. I can't imagine it could be re-done any better.

If I could pick a foreign film to be remade into a movie in English, I'd pick Oblomov.

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Saturday, October 30th, 2010
12:15 am - So I'll sing this song from Ruddigore...
... but it really doesn't matter.

I'm glad I didn't get a chance to read through the whole libretto before going to Ruddigore. The 'punchline' of the play was hinted at just enough in advance to make the moment really gel, and the surprise twisted my mind around in all the right ways.

Of course, by intermission I had already devised how I hoped the action would resolve itself. And of course nothing of he sort happened. Mad Margaret's end especially left me hoping for something more for her. I almost hoped she'd be carried away on a cloud of wordplay and end up married to Robin, since 'he' was the one who hadtrifled with her. Then he and she could have waltzed off into a Bedlam all their own made of dead roses and the state of constantly being prepared for death. Holy crap, someone needs to write that play. And I need to go to bed.


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Tuesday, October 19th, 2010
7:00 am - Thought of the day...
If Achilles from the Iliad had married Katisha from the Mikado, they would have had the most perfect child ever.

Also, since we're on Gilbert and Sullivan, if anyone is around/has interest in being around the Leesburg area on Friday, Oct 29, the Loudoun Lyric Opera is putting on Ruddigore. And the next morning, proverbially bright (but not actually bright, since the sun probably won't be up yet) and early, I'm planning on taking off to DC for the festivities there.

Also also, I feel like I've turned a corner at work. A week ago an e-mail from one of the assistant principles asking for a meeting got a 'sure, on my way up' reply. Now it's all, well, I've got a student coming in at seven thirty and a student coming in at eight thirty and a parent coming in at nine and I've got re-takes to administer during study hall...

Yeah. I have work. :)


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Sunday, October 17th, 2010
9:37 pm - Cincinnatus Sunday
I spent half my Sunday with my hands covered in pig shit and the other half shaking hands with politicians, and am now relaxing watching burly men assault one another in the arena. I feel like such a good Roman. Except for the part where I went all fangirl all over Tom Perriello. I spent the car ride practicing what I'd say if I got to meet him, but when we got face to face all I could manage was ZOMGI<3U!!! I am a regular Demosthenes (among the Macedonians).

Happy birthday, dad.


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Thursday, July 30th, 2009
1:12 pm - Sharing a moment with J.C.
I was listening to Ulysses (ALT) today... nothing new, I love that poem, I listen to it often enough. But today I cried. It was so pretty. I don't think I could ever write something so perfect.

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Saturday, July 25th, 2009
2:50 pm - In Which It Was Supposed To Be The Other Way Around
I have a bad case of the Poor. And so when I lost track of my poor red headphones I was looking for a place to get a set on the Cheap. The Green Zebra suggested Big Lots, and so today I betook myself there. Holy crap. I have never seen so very many Cheap As Free things. Of course, I went for a ten dollar set of headphones and came out with seventy dollars worth of EVERYTHING EVER. And the only bummer was the new flashlight I bought which... doesn't work. I should take it back later today. But I've got some cleaning to do first.

I bought two new pillows (16$) and four new pillowcases (12$). This is the first step on a path to getting myself an actual bed.


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Friday, July 24th, 2009
6:02 pm - Fiat lux...

A fuse blew in my apartment, and I all, found the fuse box, and figured out which one it was, and made the light go again.

That was at once terrifying, exciting, and... masculating? Is that a word?


EDITS: I've also noticed that Conan O'Brian says 'This Is True' and other various affirming statements a lot... when he actually means that something is true (he then goes on to add something that is, contrariwise, NOT true). You know you've been reading too many Roman Historians when the phrase 'This Is True' automatically makes you think 'This Is Not True.'

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7:18 am - Buh?
I'm not really listening to the radio, but I thought it just said that Pres./Michelle Obama ate at the Corner last night.


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Saturday, May 16th, 2009
5:55 pm - Star Trek
There's a movie theatre in Charlottesville which is ONLY playing Star Trek. Star Trek: Digital and Star Trek: Non Digital.

I'm really amused.

I'm also going to go abuse my brain with Angels and Demons. I read that book while I was in Rome, and I'd really love the good memories I have of my Rome semester trampled on.


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12:08 pm - Ha!
I just saw the season finale of 30 Rock. Best. M*A*S*H. Joke. Ever.

I had to rewind it about seven times just to listen to the line over and over again. I was like, he didn't actually just say that, did he?

Also, when looking for some movie to put on to drift off to sleep to, the Cowboy and Indian genre should be avoided. You will be almost asleep before an unending tirade of ululations and gunshots will wake you up.


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Saturday, May 9th, 2009
5:47 pm - The hair! The short!

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Wednesday, April 29th, 2009
6:20 pm - Summer themes
I know it's summer because I've stopped sleeping with blankets on. It's not that it's that hot, yet, but in the evenings it just gets unbearably warm in the apartment. Well, not unbearably, but it certainly feels better to be sleeping without a blanket. The only downside is that it's cold in the mornings, so I wake up chilly. Later in the summer this will NOT be a problem.

I started taking walks this semester; not walks to get any particular place, just walks to get me moving around a little bit every day, or, well, almost every day.

I picked out a path that's three miles long according to Google Maps, and have decided that's going to be my summertime walking route. My goal is to do the three miles every day. I've done it the last two days in approximately the following chunks: One mile to the corner for lunch, one half a mile to the Library for Greek, one mile and a half home again. We'll see if it keeps up. But two points at least establish a straight line, right? Or am I thinking of some other sort of math?


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Monday, April 27th, 2009
5:39 pm - Yikes!
So I took my Greek quiz, after much hemming and hawing. Hawwing? Anyhow, I came out from the office where I was taking the quiz and I smelled something burning, so, like you do, I poked my head into the TA office to laugh at whoever had burnt something in the microwave. They let me know that there was a fire down on JPA. I go to class. Yikes.

I take the bus home after class, and they won't go down JPA because of the fire. I get off on Stadium road and start up the hill. JPA looks fine, but imagine my surprise when the street that my apartment's on has been blocked off to traffic.

And there were two firetrucks surrounding the corner of the building in which my apartment is housed.

Yeah, there was some panic.

It turns out to have been a brush fire over by meleth's apartment. Nobody was hurt. But crap, that was scary.

I can't imagine what the day's looking like from meleth's perspective, first Neil Gaiman and then the smoke blocking out the sun outside her apartment.


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Tuesday, April 21st, 2009
2:26 pm
Exams, Day 6.

Latin Commentary.

Estimated Chances of passing: 25%

Yeah-- it was bad.

Tacitus. I thought I'd be okay commenting on Tacitus. I was wrong. The other option was Cicero, which was just ten sorts of not happening.

The other passage was okay, Catullus 64. Blah blah epyllion, blah blah disobedient ekphrasis.

But if Prof. Woodman sees how I butchered the Tacitus passage, which is a pretty good bet, I will fail.


And now am feeling sickly and crampy and need sleep. But I've got a big quiz tomorrow, of all things.


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8:36 am - Wow.
Do I ever feel unprepared for this. More remarkable is how little I mind. Still waiting for the moment of panic. Until then, one of my recent favorite poems.

Never until the mankind making
Bird beast and flower
Fathering and all humbling darkness
Tells with silence the last light breaking
And the still hour
Is come of the sea tumbling in harness

And I must enter again the round
Zion of the water bead
And the synagogue of the ear of corn
Shall I let pray the shadow of a sound
Or sow my salt seed
In the least valley of sackcloth to mourn

The majesty and burning of the child's death.
I shall not murder
The mankind of her going with a grave truth
Nor blaspheme down the stations of the breath
With any further
Elegy of innocence and youth.

Deep with the first dead lies London's daughter,
Robed in the long friends,
The grains beyond age, the dark veins of her mother,
Secret by the unmourning water
Of the riding Thames.
After the first death, there is no other.

Dylan Thomas, "A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London."

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Monday, April 20th, 2009
5:16 pm - It's worse than that...
After a momentary bout of euphoria in the wake of today's exam, by brain has crashed. I tried to talk intelligently about Lucretius today. Hell, I tried to talk intelligently about whether I was sitting down or standing up today, and failed. No wonder nobody ever passes all four exams. Three and my mind is a puddle of goo. And I had stuff I was atually counting on reviewing tonight... mrrrgh. Well, at least today's was lovely. If I suck at tomorrow's I'll be sad, but not too sad. I can take it again.

Collapse time now.


current mood: blank

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Wednesday, July 16th, 2008
2:37 pm - Ugh.
If you're not sure the salami is still good, not even a late-night craving for salami should compel you to try it.

In other news, I felt well enough yesterday to go out to a film, so I did. Stopped at Basil on the way, and got there around 6:45 to choose from among the films starting around seven. And oh, there were so many movies to choose from. Iron Man, which I was shocked was still playing, which I wanted to see when it first came out. Hellboy II, which I hear is excellent, though I never saw the first one. Several other movies that looked appealing. In the end I opted for a film I'd only heard dreadful things about, but had wanted to see ever since seeing the previews on TV at Cindy's house: The Happening.

I went online afterward to read some reviews of the film, because I was confused. I mean, it wasn't a great film, but it was certainly better than a lot of them. I'll go behind a cut, now, for those who haven't seen the movie yet and who might want to be unspoiled about it-- though there really isn't anything of note to spoil.

Why I liked the creepy, creepy movie.Collapse )


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Thursday, July 3rd, 2008
12:52 pm - Travel plans and the rest.
Travel plans keep getting pushed back and back. I was leaving yesterday morning, no, yesterday evening, no, this morning, wait, no, waiting on word whether it'll be tonight or tomorrow morning. Guess which I'm thinking?

Travel plans which are dependent upon other people are inconvenient in this manner. But that's okay, 'cause I've had laundry to do, and sitting here like 'I could be leaving ANY MOMENT' is a great excuse for me to watch House instead of do anything useful. Fortunately I'm done with season two, now, except for the last episode, which I'm hesitating looking at because it was the first episode of House that I watched in its entirety and the reason I never wanted to watch House again.

Other sad news: The webcomic Minus is finished. While I don't think drawing a piece out past artistic inspiration is a good idea, I will miss my Thursday glamour fix.

Read more...Collapse )


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