Monday, January 20, 2014

Tacitus the Unwitting Apostle

As part of my ongoing effort to sound more impressive when beginning blog posts, I was recently reading Tacitus' The Annals, where he lays out the history of Rome encapsulated in the reigns of Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero, respectively the second, third, fourth, and fifth Roman emperors.

As recorded by Tacitus, during the reign of the emperor Nero there was a six-day-long fire that devastated Rome.  You may have heard of this particular fire: it's the one during which, supposedly, Nero played the fiddle.

Nero, Emperor of Rome
In the aftermath of the conflagration, public opinion of Nero was abysmal.  A popular rumor went so far as to suggest that he started the fire himself, possibly to make room for a luxurious palace he had been wanting.  Desperate to find a culprit that was not him, he announced that the true cause of the fire were members of this weird foreign mystery cult--you know, Christians.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Dulcinea: On Dreaming and Ally McBeal

I hate packing. I hate deciding what to take and what to leave behind. I hate figuring out how to arrange everything in the suitcase(s) to optimize space so I can fit all of the things I finally decided to take into a limited space. And I hate that after successfully optimizing said space to fit all those things, that I have to take everything out and rearrange those items because I did so well that my suitcase is now overweight or too fat to fit into the approved carry-on dimensions. I hate packing.

So when packing, I try to do everything I can to distract myself from this tedious and agonizing first world problem of a task. Sometimes this allows me to catch up on podcasts I've fallen behind on. However, I usually want to defer that option to the actual time of travel, when I'm on the plane and whatnot. So more often than not, while packing, I turn to the altar of Netflix. I have taken such recourse at other times of similar tedium and frustration. Once when I constructed a bookcase from IKEA, I made it through nearly half of Matt Smith's first season as the Doctor. My second time through Battlestar Galactica started with a desire to have the comforting presence and leadership of President Laura Roslin while I worked on my taxes. Recently, I've ironed my way through various mad cap hijinks the NPH pursued on How I Met Your Mother.