Sunday, 9 December 2007

In which Mme Nicholas offers Addt'l Random Facts.


I will admit that I have a hard time saying "no" to friends. Thus, when recently presented with the "tag" meme from Duchess Loch Avie, I stepped forward and laid forth eight tidbits from Real Life. And when even more recently Miss Hypatia tagged me yet again, I felt honour-bound to offer up an additional series of potentially-entertaining facts about my human.

I. I have never been able to answer the small-talk question, "what is your favourite movie?" Perhaps it is because any favourite is subject to change over time, and labelling a single film as the top of the list chances adding more gravity to that work than is intended, or deserving.

II. However, my current favourite book is Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose (or rather, the English translation by William Weaver). That has been at that position for, what, ten years or so.

III. Among other detritus, on my desk at work is a vintage glass pen (something like these) and inkwell; these sit next to my modern drafting pens, fountain pens, and an absolutely huge Staedtler plastic eraser that has been a companion since 1988. It gets the special erasing jobs.

IV. I have co-authored a chapter in a book.

V. I am not a coder or programmer by any stretch, but at one point I was made to write code in this language called "IDL", a bastard child of FORTRAN with COBOL-like verbosity. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, playing with SGI computers for one purpose (using Photoshop version 3!) and ended up doing mathematical visualisation.

VI. Were I the Imperatrix Mundi, I would make Edward Tufte's book "The
Visual Display of Quantitative Information
" required reading, under penalty of flogging. Unless, of course, the accused liked flogging, in which case the penalty would be suitably disagreeable.

VII. My Myers-Briggs type is INFJ.

VIII. On my nightstand currently, in no particular order:
Vania Zouravliov, Marie Findley: The Mediæval Bæbes: Songs of the Flesh ISBN 1898998248
John Plummer: The Hours of Catherine of Cleves ISBN 0807614920
John McWhorter: The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language ISBN 006052085X
Denise Tyler: Practical Poser 7 ISBN 1584504781

With that, I will conclude my last 8-point exposition, and will look forward to a new passtime amongst the gentry, beyond the current tagging craze.

Ite, missa est. Go; this is the dismissal.


Hypatia Callisto said...

I, too, am a fan of Umberto Eco, especially of his essays. I still count amongst one of my favourite works "Travels in Hyperreality" which presage in many ways, Second Life. (but he was talking about Disneyland in his main essay)

I still carry the quote about hidden as a gem in my profile picks.

"The pleasure of imitation, as the ancients knew, is one of the most innate in the human spirit; but here we not only enjoy a perfect imitation, we also enjoy the conviction that imitation has reached its apex and afterwards reality will always be inferior to it."

well maybe not quite yet, but it is a lofty, and I believe reachable, goal.

Hotspur O'Toole said...

I've always loved the example Tuftes gives for the reduction of the Grand Armee during the Invasion of Russia in 1812, HERE. I found the original version in one of MY favorite books, the WHOLE EARTH CATALOGUE, along with A PATTERN LANGUAGE, which I also recommend.