Falling Leaves: the Ardes blog

Archives filed under "Personal"


Ray Drainville

Leonard Nimoy, who played Mr Spock in the original Star Trek series, has died.

How strange it is to mourn the passing of an actor because of the character he developed. But how much less strange it is when the character meant a lot to you as a child. Nimoy himself struggled with his strong association with Spock, but he eventually recognised that he became a true icon of pop culture. It’s a sad, and yet inevitable, day.

Great Book

Ray Drainville

I’ve just finished Mark Forsyth’s great book The Elements of Eloquence, a run-down of rhetorical tricks that have been taught, and used, for millennia. Under “Hyperbaton”, he writes about the 7-year-old JRR Tolkien, who wrote a story about a “great green dragon”. His mother explained that this couldn’t be, and he was so disheartened that the didn’t write another story for years (for which we are all thankful).

Why is it impossible? “Great” cannot be before “green”, it must come after. In fact, I had to read the example three times before my brain stopped putting the words in their “correct” order.

The reason for [the] mistake, since you ask, is that adjectives in English absolutely have to be in this order: opinion-size-age-shape-colour-origin-material-purpose Noun. So you can have a lovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knife. But if you mess with that word order in the slightest you’ll sound like a maniac.

The mind crackles. I love discovering new things. This book is highly recommended.

NYC 1981

Ray Drainville

A new documentary on New York in the year 1981: “A Most Violent Year” (see the trailer, below). I used to go into the city a lot in the 80s: it was insane, feral, abrasive, and I loved it. I looked forward to every imminent visit. I look forward to seeing this. It’s funny how one can feel nostalgia for the madhouse.

Riding Light

Ray Drainville

TL;DR: Warp 1 sucks.

On Earth, the speed of light seems incredibly quick. It’s actually quite slow in the larger scheme of things. This video has you travel with a photon in real time to each planet until you get to Jupiter. I dare you to get to Mercury, the innermost planet to the Sun, before you start skipping ahead.

I think the accompanying soundtrack does a splendid job setting you up for an exciting journey, but this urgency is wonderfully undermined by reality.