whirlwinds of spectres exterminating each other

I’ve been lately toying with the idea of reading Hugo’s Les Misérables again. I was with Isaac and Greg at Barnes & Noble a week or so ago and bought a copy. (I’ve always been irritated with myself about the fact that I love the book so much and yet do not own a copy.) I got a nice Modern Library hardcover.

I’ve been trying like mad to find an electronic version in the original French, but to no avail. Plenty in English, though. I can just imagine that the French is amazing. Amazon has a copy, but I don’t want to spend the money right now.

As we sat in the café, sipping espresso-derived drinks, I flipped through the pages, each one a mine of literary gems. It’s not difficult to open to any random page and be blown away at how beautifully written the novel is (even in English! a credit to the translator as well, I suppose…).

Victor HugoI remember when I read it for the first time in high school I dreaded the sections in which Hugo digressed into descriptions of battles and other things for which my teenage mind had neither the time nor the patience. At our table at Barnes & Noble, though, I came across one part that was about the battle of Waterloo, a battle we Americans hear very little (if anything) about in our history classes (because no Americans were directly involved, I wonder?). I still am not a fan of reading accounts of battles that have taken place at any time anywhere, but a certain passage I came across was so well-written that I forced mes pauvre amis (and the other café patrons) to listen to me read it out loud (sorry guys!).

As I mentioned before, Waterloo is not well-known to us Americans. I myself don’t know much about it, other than the fact that it signaled the victory of the British over Napoleon and the French. However, to Hugo (and to the French in general, I’d imagine) the battle was of the most immense import. About twenty pages before the passage I read to my poor friends (in my spiffy Modern Library edition, of course) is an interesting statement about Waterloo:

Napoleon had been impeached before the Infinite, and his fall was decreed.
He vexed God.
Waterloo is not a battle; it is the charge of front of the universe.

All I can say is, I’d love to take a French History course from this guy! He recounts historical events in such captivating and literarily artistic ways that you forget that he’s teaching you history! That’s how history should be taught, in my opinion.

I like the passage so much, in fact, that I will post it here. This is at the very end of Les Mis “Cosette” I.XVI

The field of Waterloo to-day has that calm which belongs to the earth, impassive support of man; it resembles any other plain.

At night, however, a sort of visionary mist arises from it, and if some traveller be walking there, if he looks, if he listens, if he dreams like Virgil in the fatal plain of Philippi, he becomes possessed by the hallucination of the disaster. The terrible 18th of June is again before him; the artificial hill of the monument fades away, this lion, whatever it be, is dispelled; the field of battle resumes its reality; the lines of infantry undulate in the plain, furious gallops traverse the horizon; the bewildered dreamer sees the flash of sabres, the glistening of bayonets, the bursting of shells, the awful intermingling of the thunders; he hears, like a death-rattle from the depths of a tomb, the vague clamour of the phantom battle; these shadows are grenadiers; these gleams are cuirassiers; this skeleton is Napoleon; that skeleton is Wellington; all this is unreal, and yet it clashes and combats; and the ravines run red, and the trees shiver, and there is fury even in the clouds and, in the darkness, all those savage heights, Mont Saint Jean, Hougomont, Frischemont, Papelotte, Planchenoit, appear confusedly crowned with whirlwinds of spectres exterminating each other.

Talk about your flashback! I hope someday I will be able to write like Victor Hugo. Amazing.

So should I read it again? This will be the third time. My problem is that I’m already reading a ton of stuff!

Favorite Songs…Ever

I was just thinking about the songs and bands that I like, and I thought I’d put my list of all-time faves up. I think I’ve said this before, but if any song I talk about is available on the iTunes music store, I link to it there. If not, then I link to the album on Amazon.

I just came up with this list off the top of my head (well, with some extra thinking and revision), and I didn’t have a specific number of songs in my head from the beginning. The following are just songs that came to my head.

Mayonnaise by The Smashing Pumpkins
Engel by Rammstein
Pagan Poetry by Björk
Komm, Süsser Tod by Shiro Sagisu [鷺巣詩郎?] So dang good! Especially if the first time you’ve heard it is while watching the freaking awesome End of Evangelion! The lyrics are suicidal, but the music is so happy! Only the Japanese could have pulled off something like this…
Piggies by The Beatles
Angeles by Elliott Smith
Mish Fadilak by Natacha Atlas HEY!! This is a link to the MP3 for free on Amazon! Turn it UP!
3 Libras by A Perfect Circle
Mother Nature’s Son by The Beatles
Dalai Lama by Rammstein Weiter, weiter ins Verderben!
The Package by A Perfect Circle
Happiness Is a Warm Gun by The Beatles
Do You Love Me? by Shiro Sagisu [?]
Long, Long, Long by The Beatles
Los Peces en el Río by The Gipsy Kings
Jesus, I/Mary Star of the Sea by Zwan I love “Jesus, I.” It’s so powerful when someone like Billy Corgan is singing it. It’s cool how all that meta-info that you might have about an artist can make a song that much more awesome…
Oh Well, Okay by Elliott Smith
Rhino Rhapsody by Davka Sounds like a song a rhino would listen to as he trundles along…
Crabcraft by Björk
While My Guitar Gently Weeps by The Beatles
Prayer by Disturbed As a rule, I don’t like Disturbed, but I do really like this song and the other song of theirs that I have on the list.
Istanbullish by Davka Effing awesome.
Blank Page by The Smashing Pumpkins
Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands by Bob Dylan Beautiful. Interesting poetry, too…
St. Ides Heaven by Elliott Smith Yeah, I know what it’s about. Still good, though.
Ænima by Tool After reflecting on this song for a long time, I came to the conclusion that this is a prophetic message against LA, but of course these guys don’t know it. I might do a post on this song at some point… (Careful! Lots of F-words!!)
Hotaka (Der Dritte Raum remix) by Juno Reactor Play this one really loud. Eventually the light always fails you…
Weak And Powerless by A Perfect Circle
The Biggest Lie by Elliott Smith So good!!!
Savoy Truffle by The Beatles Okay, I just like the White Album all around…
Sunday Sun by Beck
Christmas Song by Dave Matthews
Pitseleh by Elliott Smith I’ll tell you why I don’t wanna know where you are…
Oz/The Ruined House by David Shire I love this soundtrack so much, I paid fifty bucks for the CD! (It’s not available anymore…)
Ein Sof by Davka If there ever is a Jewish ninja movie, this song has to be on the soundtrack!!
Remember by Disturbed
Rose Parade by Elliott Smith
Nar-1 Ney by Mercan Dede This guy freakin’ rocks.
HOSTILITY RESTRAINED by Shiro Sagisu Amazing, especially if you know the Eva background.
Nitrogen (Part 1) by Juno Reactor Some sweet shamisen action (I think).
Of a Broken Heart by Zwan Heart-wrenching!
The Times They Are A-Changin’ by Bob Dylan My only complaint: he says “prophesize”!! Argh!
Glitter by Morella’s Forest I’ve loved this band ever since I was sixteen! I don’t know what it is. The guitars? the voice? hours of listening to it in the back seat of the family car during one of our marathon vacations?
Zero by The Smashing Pumpkins Intoxicated with the badness…
Rei I by Shiro Sagisu
An Ode to No One by The Smashing Pumpkins Lost my innocence to a no-good girl…
To Forgive by The Smashing Pumpkins I sensed my loss before I even learned to talk… This is a song to cry to, just in case you’re looking.
X.Y.U. by The Smashing Pumpkins And in the eyes of the jackal I say… KABOOM! I’m gonna go listen to this right now!!
Bullet with Butterfly Wings by The Smashing Pumpkins Uh, yeah, Mellon Collie is just another one of those albums I need to recommend altogether before I end up putting every song on this list.
Hey Sandy by Polaris Pete & Pete was awesome.
始まりへの逃避 (whatever that says in Japanese) by Shiro Sagisu So sad! Captures the character so well, though.
No Name #1 by Elliott Smith

Yeah, I’m weird…

I think I’ll keep adding to this. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, post away!

Avoidant Obsessive-Compulsive

I took a personality disorder test. Haha. Here are my results:

Disorder Rating
Paranoid: Low
Schizoid: Moderate
Schizotypal: Moderate
Antisocial: Low
Borderline: Low
Histrionic: Moderate
Narcissistic: Moderate
Avoidant: High
Dependent: Moderate
Obsessive-Compulsive: High

Personality Disorder Test – Take It!

I definitely fit the Avoidant and Obsessive-Compulsive descriptions to an extent, and my social ineptness definitely got me those schizo ratings, but the Histrionic and Narcissistic descriptions aren’t as extreme. I think I got those because I am very self-conscious, but I don’t do all that other dramatic stuff it talks about in order to get people to like me or pay attention to me.

Well, take the test and let me know what you get.

Argh

I am grieved in my soul. Pray for me and the people I encounter on a daily basis.

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. —John 13.34,35