Thursday, January 31, 2008

Strange Obsessions

Where do you go when you're not here?

I just a few days ago got over my cold...the one that came hard on the heels of the flu I was telling you about last time; I've been sick for six weeks straight. Not terribly sick, of course, not sick enough to stay home from work, just sick enough to be completely useless and to make my life a burden and a misery. But now I'm feeling normal again (more or less), and am trying to catch up on life.

But while I've been sick, I've become rather oddly obsessed with a few things that I thought I'd share with you.

A Shropshire Lad

So, while I was sick, I was all about passive entertainment. Therefore I've been spending a lot of time on YouTube. And during my travels and adventures, I fell in love with a seventeen-year-old hetero English boy:

I've watched all 58 of his videos and felt like a dirty old lech the whole time. But he's very charming, nonetheless, and I think rather entertaining. And pretty. Pretty is important. Those enormous blue eyes just kill me.

But he lives in Bath (or rather "Baff" as he says in his adorable little accent), which is in Somerset, not Shropshire; however, "A Somerset Lad" doesn't mean anything, does it, so I took liberties with the counties.


People who know me at all well are probably aware that I don't like cats. No particular reason, I just don't like them, I have an antipathy for them. One friend has suggested that it's territorial: I am rather feline in nature, and so I don't like other felines horning in on my space. It has also been suggested that I blame all cats for the scar I have under my chin that came from the tuberculosis-infected claws of a cat who scratched me when I was a kid. At any rate, I am not a cat-person. I much prefer dogs.

Those who've read this blog with any assiduity must also be aware that I am driven insane by poor grammar and thoughtless spelling. I have been called a Grammar Nazi, but I consider myself more of a Grammar Fascist...I don't wish to eradicate you, I wish to reform you (on pain of torture); and really, it's a curse of oversensitivity more than anything else: every time I hear a misuse of who/whom or a sentence ending with a preposition or someone saying "nucular" instead of "nuclear," I die a thousand painful deaths.

And so it will come as a surprise to you, much as it did to me, that I have become enchanted/obsessed with the internet phenomenon known as "LOLcats." These are pictures of cats doing funny things with captions written in garbled English. Comme ├ža:

So enchanted am I with these things that I visit the site I Can Has Cheezburger? every single day. I think I'll add it to my Daily Reads list, too.

On a related note, here's another website that I am almost ashamed to admit I love: Cute Overload. "Oooooh, that's so sweeeeet!" I croon to myself, ogling a baby bunny in a teacup (sidenote, I hate rabbits more than I hate cats). It's disgusting. But then, I have so many disgusting habits that I've stopped caring.

From Russia With Love

I have become extremely enamored of the Erast Fandorin mysteries of Boris Akunin. I've read the first three so far (The Winter Queen, Turkish Gambit, and Murder on the Leviathan), and there are two more translated into English currently available (The Death of Achilles and Special Assignments) which I intend to purchase shortly, while a third (The State Counsellor) is coming out this year.

I am hopelessly besotted with the title character, a very interesting (and very pretty...remember, pretty is important) young man who solves mysteries in late-nineteenth-century Russia (and other related locales). The books are extremely well-written and extremely well-translated, and have been popular in Russia for years; they're very slowly being introduced to the English-speaking world, there are five more existing novels waiting to be translated, and the author intends the series to encompass eighteen novels all together (one for each sub-genre of the mystery genre that the author identified when he began the series).

On an only marginally related websearch, I also discovered a figure in Russian history who has caught my fancy: Prince Felix Yussupov. He was one of the men who murdered Rasputin, and was also the instigator of those "this film is a work of fiction" disclaimers at the ends of films, which resulted from a libel lawsuit he won against MGM over their portrayal of his wife Irina in 1932's Rasputin and the Empress.

But more importantly, he was pretty:

You know how I like the pretty. In fact, I think the Prince looks a good deal like what I imagined Erast Fandorin looked like in the novels. Hence my fascination with the characters, both real and fictional.

Oh, and did I mention that he was gay (Prince Felix, not Fandorin)? At least in his youth... in his late teens, he used to get dolled up in him mother's gowns and jewels and entertained in various St. Petersburg nightclubs, about which he was quite open in his memoirs; he was rather less open about his reputed relationship with the Grand Duke Dimitri Romanov, and his various adventures in England and Paris before he married.

Anyway, I've been reading his memoirs, which are online at the website of the Alexander Palace: Lost Splendor. It's really quite fascinating, I recommend it if you're interested in such things.

So anyway, that's what I've been up to lately. In case you were wondering.

Hugs and kisses!

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