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saturday, 30 april

overheard: 'first you decide what you've got to do, and then you go out and do it, and maybe the most that we can do is just see each other through it' -an ani difranco song that reminds me of my senior year of high school.

so...close...to...finishing...stupid....minories...chapter. if i finish before tonight's party, i'll drink. if not, i'll go for 15 minutes and then return to my room to pull an all nighter, if need be. the precinct of the abbey of st clare will not see the light of may. har har har.

balliol bop was fun last night. sadly, there were no really really ridiculously good-looking people there. except jack. it was definitely a mistake to mix alcohols (gin, tequila, beer, vodka). i only had those four drinks, and i definitely wasn't drunk. but my head hurts today. maybe i ground my teeth in my sleep. ok. breakfast time. see you next month.

friday, 29 april

overheard: 'blowjobs aren't that intimate' -sidewalk outside the king's arms

i am officially the most inefficient graduate student in history. this minories chapter still isn't done. and i'm going craaaaazy. in other news, i watched supersize me last night. gross. and tonight is the LGB bop at balliol college. the theme is filth and fetish. anyone have any outfit ideas for me?

thursday, 28 april

overheard: 'i kind of want to vomit on them slash have rabbit sex with them.' -mike y

this morning feels a bit like those mornings at the beach when it's cloudy and cool and you need a sweater to sit outside reading until everyone else wakes up. mmmm. and then there will be bacon for breakfast. and life will be good. speaking of the beach (or something mildly related): congrats to stephen and jen on buying a new house! it looks great! and it looks like there will be plenty of room for cousins visiting from england and (later) for little feet! that's really exciting!

my bro bo had a letter to the editor in the spokane paper yesterday. well done! you know you're a house when...you cite passages of United States Code in letters to the editor.

today i'm returning to hiding in starbucks to do my work. because clearly i got nothing done yesterday. three paragraphs in 7 hours of work? pretty pathetic. but my bibliography broke the 400-item barrier. oh dear. how many pages do you think that is? 15 pages single spaced. but that doesn't include manuscripts or many printed primary sources. so we're looking at about 30 pages at 1.5 spacing. thank goodness it doesn't count toward my 100,000 word limit.

tuesday, 26 april

overheard: 'two pound fifty for all that breast?!' -jack

there's a guy at the gym most mornings who sings along to his ipod. i'm not sure whether he is aware that everyone can hear him. we can. and in something so predictable that it may be ironic, i saw him leaving the gym today in a convertible with the roof down and music blaring so that everyone could hear him. maybe he just thinks he has really good taste in music, and he wants to share it with us. that's kind.

i need to clear out of my room so that the scout can have her way with it. by which i mean vacuum and dust and clean my sink. i hope you all realise that there are fewer than 8 shopping months left until christmas.

thanks to my friend drew for the shout-out on his blog. apologies to all of you who have to scroll through all my inane thoughts to get to the post he referrenced (hint: it's on friday, 22 april). the reason that's the case is that this isn't actually a proper blog it's really just some html i put together in august 2000 followed by a whole lot of Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V. sorry.

monday, 25 april

overheard: 'it has anal in it. that's always a good sign, right?' -manda

it's awfully rainy out today. i don't feel like typing, but i have to do my work. argh. why won't this chapter write itself? on the plus side, i'm just at the cusp of feeling like i'm on the downhill side of both this chapter and the thesis as a whole. that will be a welcome moment.

saturday, 23 april

overheard: 'i find feet fascinating. not in a sexual way' -jack

how can it have been a week since brandon and laura's wedding already? i hope they're having a darn good time on their honeymoon. i went out to celebrate with jack yesterday after he finished his oral exam. mike had just submitted his MPhil thesis, and he came around for a couple beers, as well. we got him to develop a new crush. well done us. being that i had 3 beers, i probably shouldn't have been as drunk as i was, but there you have it. i came back to liddell at about 8 and was in bed by 9. i watched the end of maid in manhattan last night and the end of gandhi today. hurrah.

now i really need to do work, but i'm feeling rather uninspired. maybe my inspiration will be getting rid of this pit in my stomach, though i'm afraid it will sit there until i finish this darn DPhil.

friday, 22 april

overheard: 'anyone need to get rid of anything? i found a hanger' -totally inappropriate st louis

i've been in not the best of moods since benedict xvi was elected. sorry to any and all who have crossed my path. i feel a bit like i did after bush was reelected. maybe a little worse. i've never trusted the american voting public, but i had hoped the holy spirit would lead the cardinals in a different direction. sigh. oh well. onwards and upwards...

according to wonkette, who is in a position to know such things, the new food pyramid is totally gay. i do think it's interesting that the new food pyramid features red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple, but not in that order. i suspect that re-ordering the rainbow may be a conscious attempt to avoid making it the gay food pyramid. or maybe i'm slipping into a conspiracy-theory state of mind: bad. oh. one last thing on the pyramid...here is a link to a my pyramid. apparently i get 10 teaspoons of oil and 510 calories of solid fats and sugars every day. i love my life.

i had a meeting with dr archer yesterday. i'm feeling not too bad about my progress. one fear: it's friday of 0th week. i'm gone for at least 20 days this term, and i'm leaving in 9th week. i have to finish the minories chapter and get through all the repertories (manuscripts) before i leave for the summer. bring on the stress!

ok. just one little thing on our new pope. am i the only one who is bothered by benedict's adolescent involvement in the HJ? maybe it's just because i'm here in england, but i think it's more than that. i acknowledge that membership of the HJ was mandatory. i also acknowledge that, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, we should assume that his holiness did not and does not sympathise with the primary tenets of nazism. but i am entirely sceptical of how easily his membership has been explained away. as a child of an anti-nazi father with neighbours who bravely refused to join the HJ, benedict surely would have been aware of the possibility of refusal, and of its ramifications. nor do i see his desertion of his german anti-aircraft unit in the last weeks of the war as praiseworthy. both were moves borne of cowardice and opportunism. he may have been a teenager, but he certainly knew the difference between right and wrong. we aren't talking about the difference between registering for or dodging the draft in the vietnam war, here. we're talking about cooperating with evil. and while ratzinger admitted to such cooperation (with plentiful caveats and excuses) in his memoirs, i'm unsure whether he has ever bothered to apologise for it. even if atonement is not strictly contingent upon public apology. one last thing. i fully accept the possibilities and limits of forgiveness, and i sincerely believe that benedict's involvement, however "reluctant," in the second world war was a transgression that needs to be (and should be) forgiven. during his time at the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, though, cardinal ratzinger was not such a fan of christ's love or forgiveness when it came to gay people. he was much more inclined to decry their "strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil" and the violence that gay people, by their very nature, do to children. i doubt that cardinal ratzinger would have been elevated to the throne of peter had his memoirs disclosed that he had spent his teenage years in a monogamous homosexual relationship.

benedict has used "evil" as a pronoun for the cohabitation of same-sex partners. apparently it's worse than cooperating with the nazis.

one last thing (i promise, this time). benedict has been eager to condemn the dictatorship of relativism. what he seems incapable of comprehending is that the vast majority of liberals (and especially liberal catholics) are not relativists. we simply disagree with him. there's a very important difference.

wednesday, 20 april

overheard: 'i have a non-sexual crush on your dad. but i have a sexual crush on your mom' -john

all i have to say today is that i trust the holy spirit has a plan. or a wicked, macabre sense of humor.

back tomorrow with more on the wedding. and maybe some great quotes about how benedict xvi thinks that gay people are responsible for violence against themselves and how gay people do violence to children. i know you can't wait.

tuesday, 19 april

overheard: 'are john and james latent?' -mom

best. wedding. EVER. photos forthcoming, i'm sure. i was gone for 126 hours. i slept maybe 26 of them. returned absolutely exhausted, but not much worse for the wear. there are no end of exciting, drunken, teary stories to be told about the weekend. like all brief reunions, though, it left me thinking mostly about how much more i'd like to see the people i love so much.

as the celebrant of the wedding said, "laura looks absolutely radiant, and brandon looks presentable, too." brandon certainly set a high standard for the rest of us. he couldn't have picked a more beautiful, warm, generous person to spend the rest of his life with. and their children will have the bluest eyes in the world. bring on the babies!

they leave for their honeymoon today, so safe travels there. and many thanks to everyone (my family, allison, bekah, lisa, brandon and laura and their families, john, james, bob, pat, rob, bud, and the millions of dans) who made this past weekend one of the best of my life. but thank god i only have to be best man once. i'd do anything for brandon, of course, but it's a surprising amount of work! totally worth it.

oh, and ps, it was amazing weather. mid 70s saturday for the wedding. mid 80s sunday when i flew out. i only woke up drunk one morning (sunday), but i was mighty hungover for the post-bachelor party golf day friday...until the back nine, when my golf cart mate john and i threw back a dozen beers and helped brandon and james lose 30 golf balls. whoops.

tuesday, 12 april

happy 10th birthday, max
overheard: 'i'll just poke around back here' -kid on broad street walking behind me, jack and pete for a photo

yes. we were one of the items on a scavenger hunt. not us specifically, but oxford students. of which we are but a few.

meeting with dr archer in two hours. ack! and then packing for brandon's wedding. leaving tomorrow at 5 am, so no updates for a week or so. sorry.

sunday, 10 april

overheard: 'who needs principles when you've got free food?' -satchel

there's a good column by nicholas kristof today on why priests should be allowed to marry. i was particularly interested in the fact that there are already a few back-door routes into the priesthood for married men. very interesting. but i don't think he provided enough info about the desperate state the church will be in without some major changes. i also think he overestimates the ease of such a change. the church is a profoundly conservative institution. change can happen, but it will take a lot of charisma from the next pope.

i feel a bit like i've been running as fast as i can to get this minories chapter done for tuesday. looking back at what i've accomplished, i think i must have been on a treadmill. disappointing. but i think it will be the best chapter yet. hurrah.

delicious burritos for dinner last night. then tea and champagne with the flat upstairs. everyone else went clubbing. i had good intentions of working last night, but i just couldn't keep my eyes open. so more work today.

saturday, 9 april

overheard: 'yours is quite big, pete' -jack, referring to pete's cocktail

i just spent 30 on a haircut. this country is getting to me, but i still maintain that lunch at royal china is worth every penny of 18.

high street is totally the place to be today. no end of ridiculous things to be seen: woman carrying flourescent light bulbs back and forth. different woman wandering around with spray bottle of surface cleaner. yet another woman wearing a hat shaped like a turret at windsor castle. man with absurd pipe. tourist herding several ducks across the street at a crosswalk. pure joy. but my breath is stinky like coffee.

all i dreamt about last night was the pope. and cardinal ratzinger being elected to the papacy. that part was a nightmare, but then it turned out to be a joke. the holy spirit has a very biting sense of humor, you know.

the chapter is still moving along quite slowly. maybe i can make some headway tonight when everyone else goes out on the town.

thursday, 7 april

so first the pope, the head of the smallest state in europe, dies. then prince rainier, the head of the 2nd smallest state in europe, dies. if i were a co-prince of andorra or the prince of liechtenstein, i'd be locked safely in my panic room. the grim reaper seems to be in a rut. just a thought.

i'm not leaving my flat today until i finish a good portion of this chapter due next tuesday. so i'll go work on that now.

wednesday, 6 april

overheard: 'i'm good at spraying as well' -pete

on temple street, which connects iffley road to cowley road near where i live, there's a shrub with amazingly fragrant blossoms. above the shrub, there's a tree, also with wonderful-smelling flowers. i highly recommend anyone who happens down iffley or cowley road in the next few days take a detour to enjoy these indicators of spring, even if it does feel like january today.

yesterday wasn't as productive as i would have liked. particularly in the evening.

two random things to say today, both prompted by the new york times. first, they have a little interactive feature about catholics in america. apparently 43% of the american population as a whole believe that women should be able to have a legal abortion for any reason, as compared to 38% of catholics. on the the issue of homosexuality, though, 33% of all americans think there is nothing at all wrong with homosexuality, while 39% of catholics think so. good job, catholics!

the other thing is absolutely cringeworthy: i may not have mentioned that i participated in round-table discussion in january with tom friedman and a number of other rhodes scholars on the issue of US-european relations. well, i did, and it was for a documentary that is apparently airing this thursday at 8 pm on the discovery channel in the US. anyway, there's a preview of said documentary available right now at the new york times website. it doesn't involve the rhodes discussion at all, but it does set a pretty stark tone which i can only believe to be representative of the documentary as a whole.

the clip, you see, is about european union regulations. the response it's trying to evoke, as best i can tell, is anger among americans at european meddling in american business. it refers to "eurocrats" "waging war on american businesses." it mentions EU blocks on massive mergers (e.g. GE-honeywell) and fining microsoft $600 million. "the latest defeat," they say, "involved the hugely profitable cosmetics industry". cosmetics containing chemicals known or strongly suspected as being dangerous (carcenogenic, birth defect-causing, etc) have been banned from sale in the EU. according to the narrator, "that seems reasonable enough, but it turns out that includes the vast majority of beauty products made by american companies".

so basically, the emotional arguement being presented is that the EU is infringing on the rights of american businesses. what rights are those? according to the facts presented in the documentary: the right to produce products dangerous to the health of consumers and the right to stifle competition. why are we blaming the EU for doing things that the US government should be doing? ridiculous. if the rest of the documentary follows the same tone, i hope i don't appear at all. i'd be embarrassed to have my words twisted to fit the politically facile and intellectually lazy agenda of mr friedman.

tuesday, 5 april

overheard: 'i've seen my fair share of suspicious packages at 4 am' -amanda

henceforth, i will only be going to the grocery store on my way home from the gym in the morning. it's almost a joy to shop at tesco when it's empty. of course, a quick shopping trip means more time to do work today. i'm meeting with dr archer a week from today, so i need to have the minories chapter done by then. i met with the warden of rhodes house yesterday. apparently i have no difficulties. he asked me all sorts of questions about how things are going, and then declared that i'm the most content oxford postgraduate he's met in a long time.

there's an interesting op-ed piece in today's new york times by thomas cahill, who suffers not from rose tinted spectacles in his review of JPii's long papacy. i must say i agree with cahill on most points. it seems to have become a truism among commentators that his holiness may have alienated large swaths of first-world catholics, but that 'he always held up the highest moral standard', even if he knew that few could achieve it. or some such nonsense. the moral standards he chose were arbitrary, and his stubborness in forcing them down our throats meant that more pressing moral corruptions often fell by the wayside. still, he was a charismatic man, and his successor will have big shoes to fill.

onward to the minories. after a shower.

sunday, 3 april

overheard: 'who's your daddy?' -woman to her child in the produce section at sainsbury's

i'm sure just about everyone in the world has heard that the pope died yesterday. requiscest in pacem. poor guy. i saw a video montage of his reign on the news last night. you could see him getting more and more frail throughout the late 90s. it's really quite a relief that he has passed on. one of the brilliant things about papal succession (at least in the past couple centuries) is that it's rather unpredictable. which means we should all pray for a sensible, moderate, and holy man to follow john paul ii. more on that soon.

jack's family returned from barbados yesterday. we're going to mass at westminster cathedral today, and then to royal china (yay!) for lunch. random aside: i just way a bluejay flying with a stick about as wide as its wingspan. it was a bit like guster carrying a golf club.

friday night was hugely fun. brian and i went to 5 bars (mash, compton's, ____, rupert street, and the village), among which i drank 4 beers. and still got mighty drunk. i guess that's what happens when one gives up alcohol for lent. the village had table dancing. ooooooh. anyway, it was a very social end to a rather solitary week in london. contrast.

friday, 1 april

overheard: 'work is the curse of the drinking classes' -oscar wilde

that realtor seemed a bit young. like maybe he was wearing his dad's suit. i'm supposed to go to the archive today, but i'm realizing that i can't be bothered. it's kinda a pain to get to. i was miserable when i left there yesterday, and i'm thinking that i just want one more lazy day before jack and his family get back. so there it is.

the pope seems to be fading quickly. i'm more sad about it than i thought i'd be. maybe i just dislike his curia. could well be.

ok. so it's decided. i'm just going to go back upstairs and watch gosford park and bbc news 24. and maybe start writing this chapter thing in earnest.

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