April 18th, 2006

Saiyuki: Goku live live live

Really random thoughts

(this is so my favorite icon ever)

You know, I've been feeling a bit down lately due to a whole mix of things. And then I read a friend's small write-up on turning [insert age here], how he felt like he hadn't accomplished anything, that his time here was wasted, that all he did was push papers or something.

And strangely, I started thinking that despite the move and the stress and the general feeling lately that life has been grey and unfun, I disagree.

But then, I find the thought that an entire life has been wasted quite possibly the most depressing notion in the world.

I also don't think that you need to go out and cure cancer or end world peace to have an unwasted life. Sometimes I wonder if my life is a waste, if my job doesn't do anything. I know that I'm not benefitting all of humanity or whatnot. I'm not doing anyone a great service by sitting here. But on the other hand, there are times when I get to go to a conference on something that really excites me, or there's a good brainstorming session, or I help someone out.

None of these things are world-changing by themselves, but I believe that enough of these things can be.

I knit, and I cook, and I write, and I blog, and I read, and I pet fuzzy rats, but I'm not just what I do, even though I love what I do, even though I love making things and thinking things.

I think it's odd how one single existence could be a wasted life with one person and a very fulfilling on with another.

I like that just as I am feeling very tired and very worn out, there's a beautiful spring day outside, and even though the flowering trees make me sneeze, when the wind blows through them and a shower of petals come down, there isn't room for sadness, not even the sadness of transience or of sheer manga doom. And even in my cubicle, there are nice emails from people just as I'm feeling alone.

I like being sappy and optimistic, I like caring, I like finding peace while washing dishes. I like the small moments of happiness, the feeling that it's worth it only for that one thing, even if that one thing is just a thin crust pizza or coppery-smooth branches or new Saiyuki fic.

I don't know... I think being happy is actually very hard work, even though from the outside, it always looks so easy. But it seems very worth it.
mmm books

Bradshaw, Gillian - The Beacon at Alexandria

In order to escape marriage with a man she detests, Charis dresses as a eunuch and goes to Alexandria to fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor. Assorted things happen (aka, I am too tired to summarize more plot).

I read this largely because I was looking for a quiet, deep romance, and I ended up so enthralled by the medicine that the eventual romance was a bit of a letdown in the end.

Normally, I'd run from books where the rebellious daughter dresses as a man or escapes a horrific marriage, not because I don't support that sort of thing, but because it's so often done badly, with anvils everywhere and anachronistic attitudes.

Granted, I don't know anything at all about the period, so I can't say if the attitudes are anachronistic or not, but they felt more realistic than other things I've read. Also, I like that while Charis is different and brave, she isn't the dreaded "spunky." Mostly I love her because she loves medicine so much, and that passion shone through everything she did. And while she managed to win many people over in an unconventional role, Bradshaw wrote it such that I could see that people were being won over by Charis' skill and her dedication, and that her skill and her dedication were not amazingly perfect.

It's the same thrill of happiness that I get while watching someone do something they really love; I may not love it, but their enthusiasm is infectious.

There were some elements I didn't like so much -- the rival doctor whose hatred for Charis drives him to villainy, the love story (ironically), Charis' growing fame.

But it was the medicine that won me over, and now I wish I knew more about Charis' oft-quoted and much-loved Hippocrates.

ETA:
cofax7's review
rilina's review