Matinee

We shall all pretend this is dark and mysterious, and not just a bad photo.

As part of my resolutions (of course I’m writing because it’s my duty, not because I’m procrastinating, why would you ever believe such a thing?) for the year, I’ve decided I’ll write a little, just a little, every day. I have another blog which I might use for more science-y things, but here’s-what-I’m-thinking-today might be a good enough start.

N and I went to see Double Indemnity today, which I’d been meaning to see for a while. It’s a lovely little forties noir drama of murder and adultery — don’t you just love those — at the SJ Rep. Prices were relatively steep (I doubt the $10 student mentality will depart any time soon), but I thought it was worth it. The characters were complex, the story riveting and the dialogue snappy. I do wish though that we could’ve gotten seats closer to the front. The balcony isn’t the best of places to catch the expressions on the characters’ faces, and there were certain plot twists during which I’d have loved to see the characters respond.

There’s something about the 40s which I find oddly compelling. I wouldn’t go for the dark lipstick personally, but I like the whole tailored, fedora-d, outdoor coat-ed appearance. It’s not just the fashion, though — I think it’s the entire package, a certain restraint shot through with drama. I’m not surprised it’s making a comeback. It’s a nice balance between primness and elegance.

Though I have to say, whoever wrote the screenplay for DI seems to have a grudge against all womankind. Perhaps that’s an attitude from an earlier era I could do without? … Just saying.

Dune remains as compelling as it ever was. I’ve guiltily abandoned the book on the history of language I’m reading to plow through sci-fi instead. Which reminds me — Empires of the Word is pretty damn cool in its own right. It’s essentially a book tracing the history of some of the major languages of the world, and exploring the reasons why some survived and some didn’t.

It’s incredibly interesting, from a history perspective, to see the connections between various groups of people and then trace their lineage through to the present day. One thing that fascinates me about sci-fi, by the way, is that you have to do some extrapolation of past-present to present-future, and I’d love to be able to come up with a model of language in the future, simply as an exercise. Hey, think about it: Firefly has all its main characters cursing in Chinese. It’s become a sort of outlaw, vernacular tongue that, as mispronounced as it is, is very much used on a daily basis. In Empires of the Word, Nicholas Ostler explains how Chinese, unlike Egyptian, has remained in use for about three millennia now in some shape or form. Whatever words the Chinese assimilated were converted to pre-existing Chinese words, for instance, and aggregated into longer words if necessary, instead of different words and phrases being added to the language, thus changing it. So the longevity of the language is no joke. I can completely see why Firefly adopted Chinese.

Interesting tidbit of the day.

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