Showing posts from November, 2012

Icelanders in need of daylight

My mother's brother is coming to stay the winter with her in California, arriving December 12th. He, like many Icelanders, gets very depressed over the winter months. My mom has lots of small projects for him to work on--he is a carpenter and my parents own three properties--so it works out well. Three days later, a friend of mine is coming from Iceland to stay with me for just over three weeks, who also finds winter in Iceland depressing. We'll mostly be doing a lot of sight seeing, and I will be trying to unwind from the dissertation stress, but I think it will also be a great opportunity to work out some of my ongoing grammatical issues with Icelandic, as well as catching up on political happenings over there. Needless to say, we will have a lot to talk about.

20 years

20 years ago, I was engaged to a nice guy I had met my freshman year of college in California. But before I walked down the aisle and said, "I do", I wanted to go spend some time in Iceland. I had the thought in my head, even back then, that I probably needed to share my life with someone who shared my passion for the Icelandic language, culture, history, and landscape. So I spent two months in Sandgerði, trying to be as much of a local as I could. When I didn't meet anyone special, I decided to go back and get married. I should have probably stayed in Iceland a little longer, instead.

The conclusion

...has been sent off to my dissertation advisor. I think I managed to be intellectual and analytical enough for his scholarly standards, but expository and honest enough to capture my sense of the project. Now to the bibliography and acknowledgements page. I've got people all over the world to thank.

Memory and landscape in the sagas

Chapter 3 from my dissertation is I think my favorite, perhaps because I think it is the idea most likely to generate further research in my career. In this chapter, I argue that the landscape itself served as a mnemonic for the story of Þórðar saga hreðu, and that the plot is best explained vis a vis the actual geography of the area. The chapter as is has been approved by my committee, but I want to add a reference to a recent book that dovetails so nicely with my dissertation thesis. The book is called Being Alive: Essays on movement, knowledge, and description by Tim Ingold.  What Tim means to suggest is that there is a fundamental way in which human beings do not learn anything, unless they go somewhere.  Tomorrow, I am going to vote.  P.S. I thought I could attach the chapter here, but Blogger doesn't seem to allow for that. 

X Factor

I usually permit myself an hour of television viewing a day, although this week with Hurricane Sandy I have been doing more than that. I know some Icelanders think the coverage of that event has been too extensive, but the thing is, there are not a lot of events in the U.S. that affect almost all of us, and well, Sandy happens to be one of them. I do not know anyone who does not have some connection to someone in one of the states affected by the storm. My dad grew up in New Jersey, very near where the epicenter of the storm went through, and well the Jersey shore has always been special to me and to my family. But during the last two or three weeks of occasional TV viewing, I have watched a few minutes of the show X Factor here and there, the show Simon Cowell decided to start after leaving American Idol. I have been mostly fascinated to see Britney Spears, talking and walking and thinking like a normal person. That has been pretty amazing. Today I even saw her being funny: there is