Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Extended Weekend (and book report)

My holiday weekend seems to have been extended, as a major storm front (that wasn't forecast at all) hit my route home at about the time I was planning to hit the road. It was supposedly very fast-moving, so I thought by hanging around an hour or so, I could wait it out. But then it seems to have hovered over my route, so that there are still spots with heavy rain and high winds I'd have to get through. So I guess I'll stay one more day with my parents (I won't accuse them of arranging this to keep me around longer). However, I really do need to work, so I've barricaded myself in my room, opened the blinds to watch it rain, and I will try to accomplish something today. Maybe by feeling like I must get something done I'll get more done than if I drove home today (but then I'll have to worry about not getting anything done tomorrow when I'm traveling).

I guess I can do a mini book report (ack! Crisis! I've almost read every book I brought with me! Now I really have to work!). Over the weekend, I read The Once and Future King by T.H. White. I've seen things based on this book, like the Disney movie The Sword in the Stone and, of course, Camelot, but hadn't read the book itself.

I must say that I liked The Sword in the Stone parts best. Those were fun and I think the writing was better and more engaging there. I tend to find the adult Camelot story frustrating because The Love Triangle That Would Not Die can get annoying. I'm already on record with my dislike of the "We love each other but we can't be together, so we'll just hang around pining and being miserable about it" plot. Fleshed out further to include the parts with Elaine (which are conveniently edited out of Camelot), it's even more frustrating, and I found myself really disliking Guenever (the spelling used in the book) for the way she didn't want Lancelot being with anyone else, even though she happened to be married. Talk about having your cake and eating it! There's also an annoying tendency in this section to have major parts of the story told rather than shown, so that we find out what happened when a character who has been involved in some action comes back to court and tells the story of what happened. Some of the most crucial moments of the story happen entirely offstage.

One thing I found intriguing about this book was that it's set up as an alternate history, so that in this world, there was Uther Pendragon instead of William the Conqueror, and William the Conqueror is the mythical kind of legend. That changes the setting from the usual Celtic Britian, with the conceit that Arthur was a Celtic king lost in time, to Norman England. However, the mention of the Plantagenet kings as being "mythical" doesn't come until later in the book, so I found myself nitpicking anachronisms and complaining "well, that didn't come about until Norman times" until it was obvious that the setting was meant to be Norman. The last part of the book, that was written later, is very obviously an analogy of WWII, with Mordred as Hitler.

If you're interested in Arthurian lore, this is definitely worth a read, and the first section is quite entertaining. I would almost recommend stopping after Arthur becomes king, though there is some fun stuff in the second "book" involving Pellinore and the Questing Beast.

And then to really wallow in anachronism, we watched Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure last night. Yeah, it's cheesy and silly, but that is such a fun movie. It still makes me giggle like crazy.

The latest radar shows that while the storms may be through Dallas by the time I would get there, yet another group of storms is heading this way and would affect my drive (and there's currently a lot of thunder here. It sounds like it's about to get nasty again). Plus, I've just about reached the point where I'd hit Dallas at rush hour, so I guess I'm here one more night.

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