Monday, May 28, 2007
It is true. I have officially check-out from reality. Tonight I have snapped. Oxford has won. It has broken my soul, and now like a good little horse I will prick through the field happily, stupidly, obediently.
I am so stressed that I even tore a book in half - yep....tired of the end notes being at the end, so I ripped them out.
Friday, May 25, 2007
Oh life is an interesting thing. For the last weeks, I have been a bit overworked and underpaid. I study all day, all night, and I get no reward. But things are looking up. When all else failed, the sun came out, and Oxford had some of the most beautiful days that I have seen thus far. So while classes my suck royally, at least I could do my work outside - and even get a might sunburn...haha.
Also, Tuesday through Wed., twin 2 (Allison) came to visit me. We had some fun clubbing, exploring, and picnicing time. Thanks for making me take a break!
Tonight, I just got back from a play: 6 Characters Looking for an Author. I am not going to lie - I was really looking forward to this piece, but in the end, I felt it fell flat on its face. The acting scaled from good to wonderful, but the text of the play was a hodge-podge of theory. It was a but ridiculous. I was hoping for a piece dealing with the responsibility of the author to his characters - a piece that inverted the role of author from patriarchal creator to maternal provider, or even better yet, vessal of inspiration. And while the play touched on some of these issues, it missed a lot. Additionally, the staging was in many instances just shit. I would love to read the text of the play though.
All in all, my life has still been really busy. yuck yuck yuck. At least, I only have one more week, two essays!
Thursday, May 17, 2007
You so need to read this! Zagat reviews national food-chains.
Don't forget to read the outakes.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Well it is true - the center and and founder of the Moral Majority is dead.
Sorry, Kate. Lynchburg will never be the same.
On a more personal note, this got me thinking. While I know that I am supposed to feel some type of natural connection to all of humanity, and as such, feel bad, in this one particular instance, I have a sense of ambivalence. Obviously, some people, like Dan Savage see no reason to respect the dead, but I would not go so far as crucifying Falwell - give him a break. Still, part of me is refreshed to see him go. I am so tired of mindless bigotry, and well his religious beliefs were just that. Moral Majority Reganism has killed much of this country.
Yet I also know that just because Falwell is gone - his breed of hate is not. America is swinging back to the exact same kind of conservatism. Even though Bush has annoyed most of his base, the reason he got reelected was not Iraq or even the economy. No, Bush got reelected because he appealed to a fairly radical and (throughout the 90s) disenfranchised moral conservatism. After years of rights rallies and marches, America seems to be closing the door on liberalism, on equality, and, most importantly, on diversity. Who cares if you are not black, female, gay, trans, etc...why in the hell does it matter to you if these people live there lives as they want?
The future too looks bleak. In many ways, there are good signs, such as Newsweek's most recent cover story, which granted is not perfect, but it is a step in the right direction. Yet, these good signs are overwhelmed with bad ones. Our next president is most likely to be a Democratic candidate - although definitely not guaranteed - but the current options from that party tend to be fairly socially conservative. I think it is time to tell Americans to wake the fuck up - if you don't want abortions, provide better systems for helping parents instead of outlawing them; why can't same sex couples get married; why the hell are you trying to censor the internet - porn exists, deal with it. So many issues, so much stupidity. The worst part is that I understand this conservatism - I was raised in it - heck I believed it.
Well, let me just step off of this soapbox - luckily a rare occasion.
Monday, May 14, 2007
On a lighter note, I have a great tale of adventure to share.
Friday night was the PEMBROKE CRYSTAL MAZE BALL. I did not go. For the 74 pound admission price, I have been able to eat for the past four weeks, a noble and important cause. As such, myself and Sam (another American) decided to study all night, which I definitely needed to do.
The only problem was that if we decided to stay in college, we were locked in our rooms - while the loud, drunken fun outside made us lonely and depressed. Well, damn it, I was not going to spend my evening in. So Sam and I went to a library, dinner, and then hung out a McDonald's for three hours! You learn much about humanity after three hours of it. For instance, I learned that young boys should not taunt the large drunken English man - he will run after you.
Also, I learned the Brookes University students are overly friendly, dumb, but friendly. While Sam and I were kindly minding our own business, Ben, your local Brooke's student, asked if he could sit down in the booth with us. Now you would think this was wierd enough. And if I had needed to sit with total strangers because of a lack of seating, I would have quietly eaten and quickly left. But not our friend Ben, nope...he introduced himself and then got into a fairly heated discussion with Sam about Bush and Iraq. All I can say is thank God my drunken friend Mark arrived. He is quite funny after having enough gin & tonics.
The last lesson of the evening. McDonald's in Oxford is not a nice place to hang out. At about 2 (they close at 3), they start cleaning up tables and barring off parts of the restaurant, for a while Sam and I were imprisoned near the horrid internet computers. Oh and after 11, all the good stuff on the menu like coffee is no longer available...wtf!?!? What late night establishment does not sell coffee? Or better yet, McFlurries!
WEll that was my Friday night.
Saturday, Sunday, and Monday were all spent at various libraries or in my room, reading about Heaney, Longley, and Blake.
I need sleep.
Monday, May 07, 2007
As you can tell, I have been lately been reading and rereading Heaney's Night Drive (sorry all I think about is work - although in this case not, as we are nearly 80 pages ahead of this piece).
Here is the text:
The smells of ordinariness
Were new on the night drive through France:
Rain and hay and woods on the air
Made warm draughts in the open car.
Signposts whitened relentlessly.
Montreuil, Abbeville, Beauvais
Were promised, promised, came and went,
Each place granting its names fulfillment.
A combine groaning its way late
Bled seeds across its work-light.
A forest fire smouldered out.
One by one small cafes shut.
I thought of you continuously
A thousand miles south where Italy
Laid its loin to France on the darkened sphere.
Your ordinariness was renewed there.
I am not sure why I like this piece. The comfort of the word ordinariness contrasted with the bleeding seeds and opened loins - this implicit ambivalence, while a common theme in Heaney, is quite strong here. His sense of home and calm is nice but not all consuming, not overbearing. While the dangers of ordinary are subtle, even common. For me, this is one of his less rough poems, giving it a wonderful balance and structure. More so, though, I think on a literal level, I really love the idea of an ordinariness linked to smell - a person, who is so essentially part of our lives, that smells become a renewal of his/her ordinariness - or to say it even better, renewal of his/her commonality in our lives. Just some thoughts.
Additionally, life in Oxford has been a bit ordinary in many ways - I am always in my room reading or in a library. But yet there is something nice in the fact that this "ordinary" is not boring - to a point, it is calming. Yes, I said it! Work is calming, structuring, reflecting. No matter how much I hate the procrastination, the essay crises, the late nights, something confirms in my mind that I will miss every minute, every person, every library and dusty book. But now I am just getting sentimental, and this blog is anything but sentimental.
I leave you with a suggestion:
Read/Watch Brian Friel's Translations...love it, know it!
Friday, May 04, 2007
A BAKER has been forced to rename her novelty pig tarts - because they don't contain any pork.
Val Temple, who runs Sgt Bun Bakery, Weymouth, says officers from Dorset's trading standards department also told her she must swap the name of robin tarts as they are not made from robins.
And she claims she was instructed to rename her paradise slice because ... it's not from paradise.
Mrs Temple has made the novelty cakes in the shape of pigs and robins as a treat for her customers for years.
She said: "It's a joke.
"The officers came in and said they had had a complaint and I must change the names because they didn't contain pork, robin or paradise.
"It's an insult to the public. Of course they don't contain pig, robin or paradise.
"The trading standards officers have been coming into this shop for 26 years and now the name has been picked up.
"It's absolutely ridiculous. Are they going to start banning Christmas cake because it doesn't have Jesus in it?
"You could apply it to everything. It's so silly.
"And as for the paradise slice, that recipe is 120 years old and it's always been known as Paradise Slice.
"They said they were going to come back in and check, so I've changed the names now.
"But people are still coming in and calling them by their proper names."
Mrs Temple said she had swapped the name of her animal-inspired tarts to novelty tarts with jam and fondant and the paradise slice to almond, fruit and nut slice.
Ivan Hancock, the county's trading standards manager, said: "The fact is that piece of food needs to be properly described so that the consumer can tell what it is.
"There's nothing wrong with using other names but it must be accompanied by the true name of the food.
"Consumers have the right to know what is in food."
But Mrs Temple, who runs the bakers with her husband Ian, denied she was told this.
She said: "The way they came in and said the names had to be changed didn't give me the impression you could keep the names.
"I'm sure other places haven't been told they should list all the ingredients. It's ridiculous having a long list of ingredients - of course customers are not going to think I put robin and pork in a cake."
Can you believe this is real???????????? Oh the English!
You better love this.
How do I just learn about this loss today? Oh Eastern Market, you will survive...fresh fruit and vegetables, local art, jewelry - you shall be sold again.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Here is a sample of said sassyness:
Dear Mr Kooistra,
While Spring evenings in Britain might be a tad bit nippley, there is no cause to have open flames in, near, around, under, over, below, out of, or especially on top of Farside cartoons. We thank you for your understanding and cooperation in this manner.
-The Ministry of Humorous Affairs,
The More You Know
This Public Service Announcement has been brought to you by the letters P, Q, and Zed. You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.