May 28, 2004


As Rethabile has rightly surmised, the past few weeks have been very busy — thanks for the kind words, Rethabile, it’s nice to know I’ve been missed. I do still plan to catch up the past few weeks with a series of posts, but for now, this brief post about today will have to do.

Today my wife and I went to see the movie Troy. You can read my wife’s more learned and informed comments, but for my part I found that the film really captured the feel and scope of epic in a way no other film adaptation of epic poetry, at least as far as I’ve seen, has. Whatever ‘inaccuracies’ or changes there may have been, I think that’s the main point. Now if only film makers would treat medieval epic as successfully.

Though romance not epic, there is a film about the Arthurian story coming out this summer, but from what I can tell from the previews I’ve seen so far, I’m not very optimistic. It seems that they’re claiming to be telling a the story behind the myth, a more realistic ‘historical’ story, but instead they seem to be using the stories from the later Arthurian legends and just stripping away all the magic and mysticism. Rather than giving an accurate portrayal of Roman Britain in the time of the Germanic invasion, they’ve included elements of the Arthur stories which are clearly borrowed from later French tradition (such as the whole Lancelot part of the story). But I should hold my judgements until I’ve actually seen the thing.

Anyway, I’m off to a barbeque with friends tonight, but hopefully I’ll blog again tomorrow with further updates and perhaps an account of this evening’s gastronomic delights.

Posted by Mark at 06:35 PM | Comments (3)

May 22, 2004


Last Saturday, along with a number of my friends I attended the Santé Bloor-Yorkville wine festival. We tried a lot of really good wines, including wines from Stoney Ridge, Miguel Torres, and Robert Mondavi Winery. One of the best we had was a 9-year-old Shiraz (anyone who was there remember the winery?). I also tried a sparkling Cabernet Sauvignon — the first sparking red I think I’ve ever had — but I found it a bit too sweet. Usually the wine festival is the same weekend as the Kalamazoo conference, so I’ve never managed to go before, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to go this time.

After trying all these fabulous wine (and while our defences were down), we went to Pusateri’s, a gourmet food store, and bought various cheeses — I bought Grand Champion Blue Benedictin sheep’s milk cheese and Chenal du Moine soft ripened cheese from Québec — and other such things, including a poached pear torte. After finally tearing ourselves away from Pusateri’s, we went to Whole Foods to buy dinner making supplies.

We then headed over to Mike Shaver’s place for dinner. Mike treated us to a duck and mango salad, fancy burgers, and the aforementioned poached pear torte, along with more wine of course. (You can read Mike Beltzner’s reaction here for further proof of the excellence of this meal.) A fine way to cap a fun day.

Posted by Mark at 05:01 PM | Comments (1)

May 17, 2004

From Kalamazoo to...

At long last an update on my activities during the last two weeks. As I mentioned before, I attended the 39th International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

My paper, “Verbal Constructions and the Structure of Old English Narrative”, went well, though there weren’t many people attending that session; this may have been because the room had been changed, and there were only two papers in the session. In any case, those who were there seemed to enjoy the session, and there was some good discussion after the papers were given. I guess I’ve delivered enough of these conference papers now — not to mention the fact that I’m used to performing in front of a class on a daily basis — that the whole process was particularly smooth and enjoyable for me.

I didn’t get to as many other sessions as I would have liked because I had to bring exams to grade with me to Kalamazoo, but I did see at least a few good papers (as well as a few not-so-good papers). I also attended quite a number of receptions with open bars — the real reason people go to Kalamazoo. And I managed to pick up a few books at the exibit hall. I bought mostly editions, and fairly inexpensive ones at that, so I didn’t spend too much money. And of course the crowning glory of the weekend was the Saturday night dance. There is little that is more surreal than seeing a room full of medievalists letting loose on the dance floor.

All in all, it was a good Kalamazoo. I’m always lethargic about going just before leaving, but I always enjoy myself. And I’m sure I’ll feel it worthwhile to submit another paper for next year.

Posted by Mark at 11:51 PM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2004

Gebyrddæg min

My apologies for the lack of blogging lately. I’ve finished all my marking and I’m back from the Kalamazoo conference. Nevertheless, it’s been an exceedingly busy week for a variety of reasons which I’ll write about later. This weekend I’ll post a slew of entries explaining my recent activities. But today is my birthday, and I’m taking the rest of the day off!

Posted by Mark at 11:57 AM | Comments (2)

May 02, 2004


I’ve just finished reading Kevin Jackson’s Invisible Forms: A Guide to Literary Curiosities, a book about paratexts such as introductions, titles, dedications, epigraphs, footnotes, and so forth. It’s quite an interesting and very entertaining read. Jackson is a very witty writer, and his book is quite well researched. Many of the chapters are filled with meta-humour (lots of footnotes in the chapter on footnotes, the chapter on marginalia covered with seemingly handwritten comments). It’s definitely a good book for anyone interested in writing, whether it be for academic purposes or otherwise. I should have read this book while writing my dissertation.

What with all the end-of-term grading I have to do and the upcoming Kalamazoo conference, my head is just not into writing a lengthy post on this very interesting book right now, but perhaps I’ll write a fuller response later.

Posted by Mark at 11:55 PM | Comments (3)

Mines cattes gebyrddæg

Yesterday was Tigger’s birthday:


Hmm, perhaps I won’t comment too much on the fact that we celebrate our cat’s birthday — he’s very beloved. He was a little confused (perturbed?) that we put a candle in his food, but once I blew it out, he enjoyed his wet food, which he doesn’t get very often, kitty treats, and catnip toy. If only my own birthdays were so straight forward.

Posted by Mark at 11:44 PM | Comments (1)

May 01, 2004


Last night I went to see the David Hein Band — David being one of my oldest and dearest friends — compete in and win the latest round of the Emergenza Music Festival. Hooray! I guess the next stop is the Canadian finals.

The band was fantastic and I heartily recommend you check out the website which has online tunes and information about upcoming events.

At the pre-show party, I was lucky enough to win a door prize, a copy of The Live of Pi by Yann Martel, which I’ve had recommended to me many times. I love getting books either through chance like this or as gifts! My pile of books for the summer grows!

Posted by Mark at 11:51 PM | Comments (1)