Milk and Cigarettes

Rambles about stuff I like.

A ramble about where I am in Moby Dick

I tried doing my visualization exercises this morning. It was a’ight, I guess. I have my 5 pillars: Health, Love, Math, Fortune and Fame – so I set my timer to 3 minutes, and closed my eyes and tried to visualize my goals for each pillar. I imagine as I do it more and more, the images will become more clearer. But this morning, it was tough to keep on track. My mind kept wandering off topic. I’m wondering if there’s some sort of introduction to visualization that I could do – because my way seems a little arbitrary. Regardless, I’ll keep at it and hopefully get better.

The Sens play tonight! I ‘unno if I’m gonna get any time to watch them. The article I submitted to the international journal of number theory came back – and my prof and I have until Friday to incorporate their suggestions. What that means is that *I* will have to incorporate all the suggestions of the referee, and whatever my prof tells me to do. Something tells me I’ll be short on free time for the next little while. I ‘unno if I’ll ever catch up to Gotham. I haven’t even looked to see if there’s new Simpsons/Bobs Burgers/American Dad.

I usually finish up with my day around 7:00 or 8:00 pm. Then I’ll put on a conspiracy documentary, play some Hearthstone for an hour and decompress. Then at 9:00 I’ll go to bed. Holy shit does time ever go fast.

Moby Dick is in desperate need of a ruthless editor. I was all stoked to read it, because the crew aboard the Pequod had killed two whales, and things were happening. But then Melville decided to take 4 or 5 chapters to go over how noble the Sperm Whale’s face is, and what his skeletal structure looks like. Yawn city.

There’s some excitement mixed in there, though. They were cutting up the Sperm Whale they caught – and they had cut open his head, and were bailing out the milky ‘spermacetti’ inside. The man doing the baling was an exotic native by the name of Tashtego. At one point, he slips and falls into the whale’s head. The crew panic, and drop the whale’s head overboard. Luckily, Queequeg, heroic and quick thinking, dives after the head and manages to rescue Tashtego. I tell ya, Queequeg is something awesome.

In the last chapter I read, the Pequod comes across a German ship called the Jungfrau, which is German for virgin. The Jungfrau had been out of port for so long that they were destitute of supplies. The captain of the Jungfrau rows over to the Pequod, begging for a little whale oil to start a fire. Starbuck, the first mate, shows him mercy and gives him a bit of oil. After the German captain sets off, suddenly a huge pod of whales show up. Then there’s a mighty race, as the German captain starts going after a whale. Three boats from the Pequod are thrown overboard and a race ensues as everyone chases after the whale. After a brief bit of maneuvering, our boys from the Pequod capture and kill the whale – but to everyone’s dismay, the whale refuses to remain buoyant. One of the mates has to cut her loose, less her bulk capsize the Pequod.

So far, I’d say about 50% of the book has been enthralling. The other 50% is tedious – about whale biology, whale terminology, the different kind of whales, ugh… I understand that the book is an allegory, but do we really need all this background on the whale? Especially since the information was only relevant in the mid-1800’s. Nowadays, we know that whales are mammals (stated otherwise by Melville) and that phrenology is not scientifically accurate (again, stated otherwise by Melville.) The other thing is that it does take awhile to read, since I’m often stopping and looking up all the old-timey words he uses.

I will probably read other books by Melville. Billy Budd and Bartleby the Scrivener are supposed to be really good (though the latter might be a short story.) Because when Melville gets going, he can tell an entertaining tale. It’s just too bad that Moby Dick is full of so much whale-filler.


February 3, 2015 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , ,

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