Sunday, February 28, 2016

Substantialreads: Transformers

Does antiquity add length? In case that's not substantial enough, I added a supplementary shortie to keep you/me/the Gods satisfied.


Ovid, Metamorphoses

8 AD / E-book / 480 pages / Italy

****

This seemed to get referenced more than any other text whenever I've read anything classical-themed from A-level onwards, so it was about time I got around to it. I would have done that a lot sooner if I'd known it was basically a Roman/Greek mythology anthology. The theme is transformation, which barely narrows the field at all since that happens absolutely all the time, and the segues between otherwise unrelated stories are as amusingly flimsy as those in an Amicus horror film.


Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis

1915 / Audiobook / 96 pages / Czech Republic

***

I'm surprised I never properly read this one either. I did try to tackle it in the original German once, which probably put me off. It's less challenging having Benedict Cumberbatch read it to me like I'm blind or a child.

It seems that people have interpreted its metaphor for the socially repulsive, downtrodden Other all over the place, but that doesn't make any sense unless those minorities are associated with climbing up the walls. He's an insect, you idiots. Did you really not get that?


Sunday, February 14, 2016

The house that Dave "built"



...in as much as I paid local workers and distant in-laws a presumably insulting daily wage to build a house my wife designed on her own, bought all the materials for and managed day-to-day, while I sat in my air-conditioned apartelle on the other side of town playing Diablo II, watching Doctor Who and occasionally typing things to earn construction funds.

No, I'm not proud of myself. But at least by not bothering to offer any creative or practical input whatsoever, I didn't compromise my wife's dream design (yeah?) And those workers have Sundays off to travel home and see their families, rather than sleeping on cardboard in the ramshackle shack outside and showering with a bucket like they do the rest of the week. Awful, isn't it? I didn't design the system, I'm just taking advantage of it.

Even in her frantic rush to bring the house up to minimum habitable standard before our February rent payment was due, my wife conceded to take photos through every stage of construction so we'd have them for posterity and, more importantly, for this blog. And we're not done yet - "minimum habitable standard" means it's still far from complete and still pretty spooky when stomping around with the lights off, even though the only potential spirits around here would belong to the trees we cruelly butchered to spoil more of this island's dwindling nature with concrete. As I said, not proud, but I'm not going to live on the highway.

This has strengthened my argument that travelling is cheaper than staying at home. This has all been pretty expensive. But if I will insist on using durable materials that won't collapse every time there's an earthquake or typhoon.