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thursday, 31 march

overheard: i got nothing

so i understand that artists have to blow their own horns occasionally. but it doesn't have to be annoying. well, for some i guess it does. after making macaroons from scratch with brian (which took a long time), we went to meet jennifer for dinner on edgware road. it was great. she's flying to boston this morning.

i went to an archive in a scary part of islington today. i'm going again today. they're open until 7.30 tonight, so it's gonna be a long day. on the plus side, i did as much work yesterday in five hours as i got done in two weeks at home over christmas. that's a GOOD sign. so i'm heading back there now.


wednesday, 30 march

overheard: 'that will be enough for you' -royal china

ruth kelly, the education secretary, is freaky looking. and freaky generally: she's a member of opus dei. i've misplaced my IHR card, so i never made it there yesterday. maybe today. but first i'll go to the london metropolitan archives. i really did nothing else exciting yesterday. jack's family decided to extend their holiday until saturday, so i'll be chilling here in london until then. hurrah.


tuesday, 29 march

overheard: 'that is how i lost my virginity, at g-a-y (a club in london)' -oxford street at tottenham court road

did you know that 8,000 people die and 20,000 people are maimed by landmines every year? that is absolutely unacceptable. greenwich is beautiful. it didn't hurt that the day was beautiful, too. but the park there is on a big hill with amazing views. you can see all the way to the city and the dome of st pauls. the royal naval college actually looks a lot like annapolis. go figure.

does apologizing count if it happened in a dream? i think it does. other opinions welcome. today, i'm trying to hit up three libraries: brtish, institute of historical research, and the guildhall. we'll see if i'm that quick on my feet. ok. gotta go.


monday, 28 march

happy easter monday!
overheard: 'david beckham is taking it from both sides' -england football match on bbc

sorry about the lack of update yesterday. i literally spent all day cooking and cleaning. but lunch went off without a hithch. aside from almost being killed by a bottle of champagne, i mean. lunch was good. the chicken wasn't as moist as i would have liked it, but i think the quorn turned out alright for liz. no one broke, stained, or scratched anything. most amazingly: i tricked people into thinking i can cook a three course meal. ha!

in other good news, oxford won the boat race yesterday, and today is beautiful, so i may just head to greenwich. and the eastern hemisphere, where i've never been before. and of course i'll have to visit royal china on the way back. hurrah.


saturday, 26 march

overheard: 'excuse me, sir. you want sex?' -woman at the corner of brewer and rupert streets in soho

i just laughed and laughed and laughed. no. i don't want sex. thank you for asking. yesterday was amazing. i went for a run up to primrose hill and then through camden to pick up a paper. on my walk back from the newsagent's i went down park village east, a lovely little street with really pretty houses. which was cool, except at the south end it terminates in a very scary neighborhood. not really during the day, i guess. but i wouldn't walk through it alone at night.

in the afternoon, i watched that mel gibson move the passion. i thought it was timely. and then i went for a walk through town before coming back and having a roast vegetable pizza for dinner. watched two documentaries on british history in the evening (yay!) and then got woken up by cattle at 6.30 this morning. today: more preparations for lunch tomorrow, perhaps a little shopping, and wandering around in another beautiful spring day.


friday, 25 march

overheard: 'it's not a bus shelter, it's an integrated intermodal transit hub' -transport for london guy, talking about a 25.8 million...bus shelter.

literally have to run. i think it's warm outside. we'll see. just one observation: british TV may be very weird, and i may not understand how it works, but it's such a joy that shows about wagner are on broadcast television in prime time.


thursday, 24 march

overheard: i got nothing (danger of sitting in a library all day)

night one of sleeping alone in a big old house: no major problems. it doesn't actually creek very much. that's a great relief. that cat sometimes runs around, but she ended up sleeping at the end of my bed. before bed, i watched the movie emma and newlyweds on MTV.

earlier in the day, i spent 5 hours at lambeth palace library. a slow change in the types of data recorded in my manuscript there (number 3390) has changed my interest in it. at the beginning, there were tons of numbers. those are useful for getting hard data about things like poor relief and preaching. closer to 1600, fewer numbers and more parish council notes give a good idea of what actually mattered to the people living there.

ok. back to non-research news...talked to my mom on the phone and had a late lunch with mike. oh, and i think it's incredibly kinky that tomorrow is both good friday and the feast of the annunciation.


tuesday, 22 march

overheard: 'i'm only overdrawn two thousand pounds. what's two hundred more?' -rah girl in hall

first things first: this afternoon i'm heading to london for, um, several many days. so no updated until i get back. sorry. that's just the way it has to be. hope everyone has a happy easter.

second things second: my battle royale (battle royale pasquale?) with the chch librarian continues. round five is today. she can be passive aggressive. but, really, in the end, i'm a graduate student. the amount of time i can spend pestering people until i get my way is practically limitless. dinner last night was yummy, if i do say so myself. other notable happenings yesterday: i stayed up until almost two editing jack's dissertation. so i'm a bit tired today. but the dissertation is really good.

in the arena of public affairs, the terri schiavo case has enraptured me. not the particulars of it, certainly. i'm not sure i have an opinion on that at all. but i do have nascent thoughts on the political circus that has recently surrounded that unfortunate woman.

yesterday i asked my friend joe whether the special legislation passed over the weekend by the congress was constitutional. he answered that it likely was. i asked the wrong questin, though, because i wasn't curious about whether the federal constitution provided congress with authority to create such a law. i meant, more specifically, whether the actions of congressional leadership (and the bush administration) were grounded in some principle or recognised precedent of "the way things are done". i blame my continued fascination with the british constitution for skewing my understanding of the term "constitutional." an editorial in today's new york times picks up on that issue.

anyway, this has gotten me to thinking about these "republicans" who are running my country. now, i disagree with their politics. i won't deny that. the bigger problem, however, is that they seem entirely unprincipled. states' rights are important to them. unless we're talking about gay marriage or terri schiavo. senate procedural rules surrounding filibusters are suddenly suspect. (it's not that republicans have never used the filibuster themselves, of course. it's just that right now filibusters are inconvenient to them. see iain duncan smith's op-ed piece). ditto for the ethics regulations in the house of representatives, which are being manipulated to shield tom delay from current heat. i see the war with iraq in the same light.

the bottom line is that political expediency--not principle--is driving the republican agenda. particularly frightening to me is their willingness to tinker with the procedures by which the government operates. that goes as much for the uber-secretive white house as the power-hungy hill leaders.

one last thing: there was a Q&A with jeff gannon in sunday's new york times. it's another good example of conservative expediency over principle. every single answer he gives seems forced. of course, he also seems to be barely literate. or barely rational. or something.

diction, anthony: diction!


monday, 21 march

overheard: 'i can't fart' -jack

i think yesterday was the vernal equinox. totally didn't appreciate that moment. darn. yesterday was boring, though dave and lauren did cook us a lovely dinner. dessert was particularly fantastic. gym was full of fit boys today. gotta get to the library now. later.


sunday, 20 march

palm sunday
overheard: 'i hurt my prostate by sitting on it for too long' -rob a

so sue meng is leaving for six months in china this afternoon. sad day. but at least she'll be back in the fall. nice, low-key going away party at all bar one on the high last night. today i should be working, but so far i've just been learning random things from wikipedia, my new addiction. but perhaps now i'll take a shower and get a start on my day.

oh, and ps: i went to the law library at college yesterday, and my new card doesn't work. (argh!)


saturday, 19 march

happy st joseph's day
overheard:
"love is like a pineapple" -crazy woman near chch meadow, addressing me
"i don't like pineapple" -me
"labour pain's a stork" -crazy woman

no. i don't know what any of that means. but it did make me laugh. of course, it's pretty easy to laugh when one is already grinning ear to ear. yesterday was the first day it felt like spring. it promised that trinity term would be here soon to erase all memory of the grey and drippy winter. so i spent a lot of time outside yesterday. even though i dislike direct sunlight. and now it's foggy.

today is st joseph's day: patron saint of fathers and italy. it's also my conception day. so today my fetus turns twenty-five years old. i know that's exciting for all of you.

the librarian at my college is certifiably ridiculous. my evidence is as follows: last year, faced with an ongoing need to consult materials related to english law, i requested access to the chch law library. on 15 jan 2004 i went and picked up my entry-card, which you press against a pad to unlock the door. flash forward twelve months, when the card has stopped opening the door. so yesterday, when i had to consult a 1733 book in the college library, i asked the woman why it stopped working. she said it may have expired, or i may have crushed it. i assured her it must be the former, though i would continue to need access to the law library until september 2006. she came back about ten minutes later to tell me the card wasn't registered to me. "it's registered to the dean", she said. "well, it's the same one i picked up here last winter", i said. "oh, no. it can't be. you must have just mixed them up sometime." said she. now, i've met the dean (the head of the college) a few times. but never in the law library. and we've never swapped law library cards. which leads me to believe that perhaps she just put the wrong cards in the wrong envelopes.

i stopped by the library a few hours later: "any news on the law library card?" i asked. "oh, yes," she said, "i discovered your not even listed in the computer system". "excuse me?" said i. "the only thing i can figure is that you turned in your card last year and i deleted your from the computer," she countered. "that must be it," i said. sometimes it's best not to fight with crack-fiends. that's something i learned in JVC.

but now my university card is missing. gr. where has it gone?


friday, 18 march

overheard: 'but i did see shark vaginas' -amanda

yesterday evening was dominated by two things. the first was the horrifically depressing movie sideways, which was well-made, but not at all my style. when i want ennui, i look for it in literature. somehow it makes me squirm less that way. post-film dinner at the aziz, the best curry house in oxford. and that was amazing.

other news of the day: i did end up writing almost 3,000 more words. or whatever it is i do. today i should finish up the transcribing process. jack bought a printer yesterday, so i can use that to print up the quotes, which i'll then cut up and rearrange in a desirable order. then writing will be a snap. i hope.

i spent a good 250 yesterday. ouch. theoretically, much of it will be reimbursed to me. soon, i hope. oh, the life of a student.

the president of italy dined at the House last night. so they were flying the italian flag in one corner of tom quad, and the union jack in another. mistaking the italian flag for the irish flag, i felt there was ridiculous political tension in the quad. and i was worried i'd be stabbed. or something. crazy irish.


thursday, 17 march

overheard: 'your stork came and gave my mom one from behind.' -you should be able to guess

i'm sorry to push it in your face, but yesterday's get fuzzy was officially brilliant. best one in ages. today is st patrick's day. if you're not wearing green, you may get pinched. in related news, what's the deal with ireland?

we finally have beautifal vernal weather. long overdue. last night was offically the first beautiful evening of the year. it would have been a beautiful night for a walk. too bad oxford is so scary. what else is new? i wrote 3,000 words of my minories chapter yesterday. don't bank on similar progress today. i need to get some cash. i'm going to see sideways with mike today. looking forward to that. otherwise, it's just work work work, isn't it?


wednesday, 16 march

overheard: "If you believe God created that baby, it makes it a whole lot harder to get rid of that baby," Fox said. "If you can cause enough doubt on evolution, liberalism will die." (from the scary anti-evolution article in monday's w-p).

yes yes. the death of liberalism. but i'd rather people just stopped whining about other people's not believing in the same god they do. whatever. more pressing matters: the ides of march stole amanda's favorite nalgene yesterday. which is too bad.

yesterday i successfully avoided work. all day. i watched 4 hours of pride and prejudice, instead. which was immensely satisfying. but now i must do a bunch of work today. which i'll go do. now.


tuesday, 15 march

overheard: 'substantive due process is a constitutional anomaly' -joe's favourite quote from college

and according to early 20th century formulations of the british constitution, courts here have a vital role in protecting procedural due process, but no role in substantive due process. which didn't make any sense until joe explained it to me. but it's a moot point anyway, because from the 1970s on, british courts have taken on the burdens of substantive due process. in some ways, anyway.

so i often have dreams about being trapped back in high school. i'll still be 24 or whatever, and so will all my friends, but we'll be back at gonzaga prep, and we'll just have to sit through a year there. which is actually kinda fun when you realize how much what you learn in high school doesn't matter. i've never had a similar dream about college, but as of sunday night, i have had a similar dream about the jesuit volunteer corps. there's no dread, there. me and all my fellow mac housers were back in jvc, though we all had different, weird jobs. i had to walk up and down the halls of a hospital singing constantly. not an appealing thing, if you've ever heard me sing. julie was a tiger-tamer in the circus. more fun, but more scary.

last night, meanwhile, i dreamt that i was on a plane with my family, and they thought we were going to have a rough landing, so they brought us each a bowl (the type they used to have at uncle gordy's house when we were little: too shallow to do anything but spill) with salt in it, and they told us that if anyone lost his sight during the landing, to throw a bowl of salt in his face, and that would fix the problem. i'm still sceptical.

last thoughts: watched eternal sunshine of the spotless mind last night. weird. very weird. i liked garden state better. also, good news from california and freaky news from the rest of the country.

oh, and PSs: hurrah for amanda's laser eye thing going well. and it's finally warm here. weather.com (where the forecast is dependent on the quality of the crack, as best i can tell) says it will even hit 60 degrees on thursday. be still my heart.


monday, 14 march

overheard: 'and then you put it on and...' -magdalen bridge. i didn't get to hear the end, but i'm sure it was good

running late. more later. busy busy 9th week.


sunday, 13 march

overheard: 'eighteen months old and ten feet across' -amanda

some sort of floaty fish. not robert. he only ate salad when he was 18 months old. strange little baby. now he's eighteen years old. which is scary. everyone's old. in more pleasant news, my flu-like illness has been downgraded from "oh goodness i hate being sick" to "this level of mucus is rather inconvenient, all things considered". a much more pressing problem right now is the untidy state of my room. it's oppressing me. is it time for breakfast yet?

skipped hall dinner last night, on account of it looking gross. instead, it was cafe zouk. which i just misspelled. but i'm down with that. then border's. then mike's birthday party at the ccc mcr. that was fun, even sober. so that was that. today: cleaning the room and working on the chapter.

OH! i almost forgot the coolest thing about yesterday. my friend liz, who back in my georgetown days used to go to the library of congress (codename: prison of learning) with me so that we could finish our history theses, emailed me. and she's at the LSE these days doing a phd in history. but it's kinda freaky because i had been thinking yesterday morning about how i should email her to see how she'd been. and while thinking about that, i almost got hit by a bus. but i didn't. and then i got an email from her. how very exciting!


saturday, 12 march

overheard: 'i'm masturbating over the onions' -the flat upstairs

well, thus beginneth the six week easter vacation. god willing, i'll draft one chapter and get the research for another well underway. in that spirit, i'm off to the bod. then brunch. then maybe food shopping. then back here for a nap. and maybe some knitting.

the terrorism bill finally passed yesterday. i thought habeas corpus was an outdated concept, anyway.


friday, 11 march

happy 25th birthday, mike!
overheard: 'that's quite a big one, pete' -jack

well, the prevention of terrorism bill is trapped in a deadlock between the two houses of parliament. now, only having finished chapter 8 of this lovely book, i'm no expert. but i'm thrilled as buttons to see the house of lords flexing what little muscle it has left. i just read a reuters article that said, "By convention, the Lords are expected to back down and bow to the will of the elected chamber, but they appear to be in no mood to uphold tradition." by convention, of course, blair shouldn't have introduced the bill with so little time before its predecessor (which was struck down by the law lords several months ago) expires on sunday night. also by convention, the government shouldn't be introducing bills that fundamentally alter well-established principles of criminal law. and, ideally, they shouldn't be introducing bad laws. so perhaps it is the lords' responsibility to stand up to tony blair and his contempt for freedom.

in other news, i'm still sick. but i've slept about 12 hours of the past 24, and i think that's made me a little bit better. still, i don't think i'll be up for the bop tonight in college. darn. gotta save up my strength for mike's birthday party tomorrow night, instead.

i had a dream last night about HUGE house with a beautiful library. and my family had christmas there. it was very nice. ok. back to work. and mint tea.


thursday, 10 march

overheard: 'why would someone, walter raleigh for example, have black people in their household? just for the novelty of it?' -history seminar

no birthdays today. even worse news: i'm afraid i'm taking ill. sore throat. too much mucus. swollen lymph nodes. no fun at all, but it's the first hint of anything i've had all term. so i really can't complain too much. still feeling rather awful, though. donatons of fresh fruit welcome.

i bought a plane ticket yesterday: from DC-National to spokane on 24 may, and from spokane to New York-JFK on 31 may, all for less than $300. pretty impressive, eh? now i just have to figure out all those other flights in may and june. no biggie.

i'm spending the day wrapped up in my pajamas, sipping mint tea, listening to dar williams, and writing. reminds me of mac house. i might be sick, but life is still pretty darn great.


wednesday, 9 march

happy birthday, ian!
overheard: 'this is bhs, not harvey nics.' -history seminar

in a rush. more tomorrow. apologies. hope ian has a great birthday: miss you, bud!


tuesday, 8 march

overheard: 'did it come off the tracks? more meat!' -jack

the best thing about going to london is that you get to learn what's "hip" and "fashionable" in the big city. yesterday i learned that standing outside parliament chugging jagermeister from a bottle is totally in this season. also in are short stubby horses (SSHs, for short). i'm not talking ponies, here. dog-sized horses. medium-sized dog-sized horses, even. whose shoulders barely reach my knees. those types of SSHs. and walking your SSH on a leash through st james's park.

but seriously, i was standing next to a man and his SSH at an intersection, waiting for the signal to change, and said SSH began peeing. like a racehorse. and i started laughing uncontrollably. so not hip.

today: lunch with jeremy, lots of bod-time. and back home, the washington state supreme court is hearing oral arguments regarding the constitutionality of the state's defense of bigotry act (DOBA for short). i mean marriage. and DOMA. i mean back to work for me.


monday, 7 march

happy 20th birthday, beckers!!
overheard: 'i do have a gag reflex!' -henry

ok. gotta run to london. just wanted to wish my little sister the happiest of birthdays. and to remind her that she's closer to 40 than to being born. scary. never a teenager again. so now i'm going to go read 1570s churchwardens' accounts and eat lunch with seb. and hopefully be back in time for dinner. bustle bustle.


sunday, 6 march

overheard: 'so basically you're talking about the most boring man in tudor england?' -woman to her husband in my history seminar

no update yesterday. i was bored and boring in the morning, and the afternoon was filled with little more than work and avoiding the unpleasant weather outside. today, i'm afraid, won't be much better. blah blah blah. perhaps i'll go to the gym, though. that would be nice.

happy fake (aka british) mothers' day to my mom, my grandma and my godmother. interesting editorial in the new york times today about the senate's republican leadership contemplating procedural changes which would allow a bare majority in the senate to confirm judicial nominees. this is, broadly speaking, a constitutional issue. it would fundamentally alter both the procedural life of the upper house of congress and the relationship between the executive, legislative and judicial branches. and it's one of those things that a written constitution doesn't much help with. hmmm.

oh, also...here's a link to a random story about spokane, which was printed last week in one of britain's major sunday papers.


friday, 4 march

overheard: 'i should be naked at the start of all my dates' -i honestly can't remember

in a horrifying reminder of the dangers of aging, i accidentally stood up my friend jeremy for our lunch date yesterday. and with not a penny (or a cash card) on my person, even had i remembered at the last minute, i would have been in hot water. note to self: check day planner daily to remind you of what you've agreed to do for the day. oh dear.

at the other end of the memory gamut: on the springtime CD julie made me, there's a song by the shins called "new slang", which i love. it reminds me of my first year at georgetown. but it also reminds me of that garden state movie i watched with my dad and jack over christmas break. and lo and behold: it's on the soundtrack of that film. so maybe i can remember some things after all.

my parents have had an awful cold this week. my dad missed work for the first time in 25 years. which is pretty impressive. and today they're heading to san jose for the west coast conferrence basketball tourney with my godpartents. which should be fun. amanda, meanwhile, is headed to the bahamas for spring break. safe travels to all my family today.


thursday, 3 march

overheard: 'great. i'm the only one at the table who hasn't come out' -nick

many thanks to dave and lauren for their generous (and wonderful) 21st birthday extravaganza last night. three course dinner for 45 of their closest friends? quite an undertaking, but very impressive in the end. it's always good to talk to chch'ers i don't know. i really do enjoy this college.

yesterday i worked from my room. which always makes me feel as if i've gotten next to nothing done. even though i did quite a lot. so today i'm returning to the bod. for a few hours at least. then after my seminar tonight, i'm having dinner with sue at lincoln college. and all will be good with the world.


wednesday, 2 march

overheard: 'tesco vodka is not for rich people' -chris

1) thanks to jeff and shannon for answering my questions yesterday.
2) this is the single most upsetting story i've ever read. i don't even know what to do with myself after reading it.
3) i'm sure there are things to say, but they don't really seem important after reading that article.


tuesday, 1 march

overheard: 'you let someone pee on you at the gym' -jack, of course

well, the cold has been replaced by drizzle. which is a step in the right direction. i'm quite disturbed that it is now both march and tuesday of 7th week. it's brining up all sorts of strange questions: where is this term/my life going? does my fake tan look to orange? how many dried apricots can i eat in a day without getting an upset stomach?

answers can be emailed. link to the right. i dreamt last night that my family decided we should spend easter in spain. which was nice, but bobbo was a bit of a brat, and guster kept running away. they're both still in trouble today.







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