books books books.

Today I paid off my late fees at the library: $8.80. I'm happy enough to support them with my procrastination, given how much stuff I take out.

I'm trying to finish Umberto Eco's Baudolino, if only because I'm tired of reading it and I'd really like to say I read at least one of his books. As a friend said, his stories are good, his writing...maybe not so much. He's a professor of semiotics and medieval history, so it's no surprise that his novel set around 1200 C.E. is meticulously researched down to levels of detail well beyond my knowledge as a hobbyist. He does a fantastic job of getting the medieval mindset across; and maybe I've lost my sense of humor for the time being because of America's steady and insistent regression toward that anti-scientific worldview, but the Middle Ages leaves me a little sad now. One of my favorite TV shows said, "Look, we'd be colonizing space right now if it weren't for the Dark Ages"; the term "Dark Ages" has fallen out of favor, because for a lot of it we actually have very good records, and it's not as though culture stopped. The medieval period produced an incredible amount of writing and art and music. Any progress we'd made towards science did come to a standstill or go backwards, though, and we owe a lot of our current anti-intellectual, anti-sex, and anti-women cultural setting to the developments of medieval Europe. (Though Augustine did most of the damage to sex much earlier on; I hope I meet him in the afterlife so I can pop him one in the nose.)

Baudolino did get me on a kick learning about the Byzantine Empire, though, and more generally what's happened around the Mediterranean into Africa and Asia Minor over the past fifteen hundred years. For an empire that stood for about 1100 years, I think we really tend to ignore the Byzantines.

Next on the list: Brunelleschi's Dome. Which I think I meant to read years ago and didn't.

I've been temporarily re-purposed at work! One of my teammates has had too much to do for too long, and I'm helping. It's just as well, since I've been feeling a lot of head-bashing-into-wall over the past few months (the server I work on just does that to people), so I'm more than happy to not look at it for a while. Meanwhile my manager/teammate will take care of my component. Woot.

I smell change somewhere around here.