June 20, 2013

Moby-Dick Readalong Chapters 16-30: Where are the pictures?

Part II of the Moby-Dick readalong, hosted by Laura over at reading-in-bed, has come and gone, but I'm still in this for the long-haul, even if I'm reading at a snail's pace!

Thoughts on Chapters 16-30:
  • 'The Ship' Chapter was a total let-down. Just when I thought we were finally getting on the ship, we don't. In fact, it takes several more chapters after the chapter titled 'The Ship' to set sail. But I thought it was interesting that Ishmael visited three different ships before deciding that The Pequod was the ship for him and Queequeg.
  • This section dragged for me. There was a lot more talk and descriptions about technical stuff, like about the ship for example, and pictures/diagrams sure would have been nice! I mean, I've watched my share of old-school Pirate movies in my day, but the inner-workings of how a ship operates is beyond me and it's hard to visualize information that is foreign to you.
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  • Does anyone actually know how to pronounce "Queequeg"? 
"We must have Hedgehog there, I mean Quohog, in one of our boats." (p. 99)
I know I find myself saying his name in my head differently each time. Sometimes it's "Kwee-keg", sometimes it's "Kee-kwog". It bugs me when I don't know how to properly pronounce a name in a book.
  • New Word Learnt this section:
1. Footmanism:  It appears this word does not appear in the dictionary, but Footman is defined as a male servant, one who waits on the table, opens the carriage door, and runs various errands (probably on foot).
The spoiled prince would be lost without his Footman

So after much, MUCH anticipation, we finally meet the captain of The Pequod, Ahab, at the end of this section. I think it's too early to know what I think of him, but I do know this: Ahab owns a lot of things that are made out of Ivory (including his peg leg!). 

June 11, 2013

Moby-Dick Readalong Chapters 1-15: Touchés, Bromances and New Words

Oh dear. I really am no good at readalongs, am I? It feels like that time when I was in University and I started to fall behind in my Spanish class. I ended up dropping the class, knowing I could never catch up. It was not my proudest moment. BUT! This isn't University and I'm not being graded on my ability to keep up with my readalong readings of Moby-Dick. (Judged perhaps, but not graded!). So, I will not give-up!

I thought about just trying to catch up with the readings and do one big post, but then I worried that that would be too overwhelming of a post to write. So, instead, I'm going to do a few quick posts covering the required break-down of chapters.

Thoughts on Chapters 1-15:
  • After this first part, we are 15 chapters in and Ismael and Queequeg aren't even on the damn ship yet. I think what blows my mind most when reading big books like this is how little can actually happen in a LOT of pages. In comparison, I read The Great Gatsby before starting Moby-Dick, and at page 74 into The Great Gatsby, I was almost half-way done.
  • I admit I am pleasantly surprised to find the writing funny and witty. I'm constantly underlining lines while smiling to myself. Even the odd "touché" has been muttered:
"Again, I always go to sea as a sailor, because they make a point of paying me for my trouble, whereas they never pay passengers a single penny that I ever heard of. On the contrary, passengers themselves must pay. And there is all the difference in the world between paying and being paid." (p. 5)
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  •  Something I didn't see coming: the serious bromance going on: 
"We had lain thus in bed, chatting and napping at short intervals, and Queequeg now and then affectionately throwing his brown tattooed legs over mine, and then drawing them back; so entirely sociable and free and easy were we..." (p. 58)
I'm not sure this is ever acceptable behaviour between two heterosexual mean. Or, our society is just way more uptight now than back then.
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  • The chapter titles are amusing. For example, chapter 15 is entitled "Chowder" and then we proceed to read 4 pages on chowder. Kind of like "there's your sign!"  Either no thought at all went into naming the chapters, or Melville purposely went with the obvious.  
  • Classics always make me feel a little dumb by reminding me of just how many words I don't know the meaning of, or in this case, haven't even heard of before. 
New word learnt this section: 
1. Noisily and stubbornly defiant.
2. Aggressively boisterous.
The unruly drunkard obstreperously resisted arrest.
So here we are, at the end of Chapter 15 and Ishmael and Queequeg have just arrived in Nantucket and enjoyed some hearty chowder. I'm pretty confident they will get on a ship soon seeing as Chapter 16 is aptly titled, "The Ship".

June 09, 2013

Saigon Sundays: Couch Wars

When Jim and I got a new couch this past Christmas, we had a mutual agreement that Saigon would not be allowed up on it. This was easier than it sounds because Saigon is pretty much scared of anything, especially anything new. And not allowing him up on the couch from the beginning set a precedent, and this was much easier than trying to break the habit months down the road.

But then one morning, I came down the stairs and was greeted by this:

See how the pillows are all down? That used to be enough to deter him from going on the couch.

He was so unfazed by being caught in action that he made no effort to get off the couch, (thus allowing me the time to get out my phone to take a picture). 

Six months of Saigon staying off the couch and all of a sudden he decides it is the spot he wants to sleep! Clearly, the pillows weren't doing the trick anymore. 

So, then we resorted to doing this before we left him in the house alone:

Big, scary, books!

Did this work? Oh, for a few days, yes. But, then today, we came home to this:

DVD's pushed out of the way and drool on the pillows.

Seems Saigon is getting braver. Well then.

No more playing games, we'll hit him where it hurts:

Saigon is severely scared of the swiffer.

While I'd be pretty surprised if he tried to move the stool out of the way, I have a feeling we might come home to this one day: