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monday, 20 june

overheard: 'you're really attractive, but i didn't mean to do that' -jack.

england knows just how to send one away. the weather this trinity term wasn't as nice as last year, but saturday, yesterday and today have been absolutely stunning. unbelievably nice. and what a great way to wipe away the memory of 8 months of rain and gloom. not that i mind those. they're mighty useful for getting work done. but they lack the magic of the english summer, with its obscenely long days, pimms and lounging on unnaturally green lawns, the dreaming spires just peeping over the leafy trees that line the bank of the cherwell.

i packed up all my stuff between eleven and four last night. and now it has been taken away by the storage company. so i must head into college to return some library books, eat some lunch, and try not to sweat myself to death. and maybe see mike.

sunday, 19 june

overheard: 'but i told you, i am wearing underpants tonight' -guy in doughnut line at the ball.

another year at oxford over. today is sunday of 9th week. the ball last night was, in a word, amazing. i had secretly dreaded that it would be awful. it was obscenely hot yesterday, particularly when one queued in the sun for 20 minutes waiting to go in to the pre-dinner reception. in a wool suit. the suits that jack's parents hired for us, by the by, were absolutely great. very very very nice. for too generous of them. and his mother wore an amazing full-length, cream-colored dress.

a few thoughts on white tie:
-it's designed to be comfortable during a winter ball in vienna, but not necessarily in the chch hall in midsummer.
-it does look a lot more formal than a tuxedo. and my butt looked really good in those trousers, if i do say so myself.
-while an undone bowtie and open shirt has a certain jaunty air with a dinner jacket, it just looks lazy in white tie.

that's really all i have to say about that. the champagne reception after dinner was a perfect opening to the ball: a thousand people in tom quad. the sun low enough that the quad was bathed in indirect evening light. mercury blasting away. strange mimes everywhere and copper-painted men on stilts rolling a 15-foot diameter inflatable ball around the quad. whimsical and lovely.

the intermediary string quartet in the cloisters was very nice as well, though the scaffolding covering the cathedral spire was totally déclassé. and the gardens all looked lovely. the music was solid, if not spectacular. the swings were the best thing that has ever, ever happened to me. the hot air balloons didn't go high enough. the carriage rides weren't long enough. and there should have been lanterns lighting the broad walk and the new walk. but those are just details.

one last observation: when i go to bed at 3, my body still tries to get me up at 7. when i go to bed closer to 6, my body let's me sleep until 12.30. so perhaps that's for the best.

saturdy, 18 june

overheard: 'anything is tolerable, for a night' -mike

i apologize to everyone (particularly jack) who had the misfortune of crossing paths with me yesterday. i was, for whatever reason, a wholly miserable git all day. i'm a tad stressed about this end of the year stuff, i suppose. for example, i'm now officially homeless come autumn. so that's cool...or not. maybe something will come through before i leave for the US on wednesday morning.

today, of course, is the chch ball. which runs from 6.30 this evening until 6.00 tomorrow morning. all my stuff for storage is being picked up on monday early. perhaps i should sort all my stuff into "going" and "staying" piles today, just so that tomorrow, when i'm absurdly tired, i'll be able to figure it all out.

friday, 17 june

overheard: 'potential for orgy: wasted' -pete

another short entry today. yesterday was a crazy day in london. today i'm wandering around trying to tie up loose ends. still don't have a place to live when i get back in september. should i be worried about that?

wednesday, 15 june

overheard: 'you repulse me' -jack

oh dear. it's a dreary day out. all that matters, though, is that saturday's forecast is looking good. congrats to jack (and pete) on finishing exams yesterday! and congrats to mike and lara, who are both finishing today. i need to get some shower in so i can get some breakfast in before going to spend the morning at the bodleian. ciao

monday, 13 june

overheard: (at the law library)
me: "excuse me. do you have a microfilm reader?"
librarian: "yes"
(awkward silence)
me: "may i use it?"
librarian: "do you have your own microfilm?"
me: "yes"
librarian: "i suppose i'll have to unlock the machine for you."

not the best of days yesterday. have to run to london immediately. hopefully it will be my last full day playing with the repertories. eek.

anyone else flabbergasted by the top article in yesterday's washington post? are we really so reliant on the british intelligence services that we need them, two years on, to tell us that the "U.S. lacked full postwar Iraq plan"?

sunday, 12 june

overheard: 'she's my friend. she's never opposed to having sex with anyone' -thea

the black tie dinner last night was fantastic. by which i mean that the food was actually decent, the people i was sitting near were thoroughly interesting, and the whole experience came off without a hitch. after dinner and a brief stop at the undie, there may have been some frolicking in the master's garden, which included climbind and jumping off several things. but now my knee hurts. am i getting old? it's possible, i guess.

this afternoon, you'll be able to find me in the SSL, hunched over a microfilm machine muttering to myself and generally looking crazy. that's because my eyes are rather displeased with me for spending so much time on those awful machines. my mom says i should wear my glasses (i told you about my "prescription" glasses which are really just ralph lauren reading glasses, right?). so maybe i'll heed her advice.

saturday, 11 june

happy birthday, stephen!
overheard: 'microfibre pants don't breathe like they're supposed to' -jack

so how is it that i can spend five profligate days in new york, but having two beers last night still took me to the far side of tipsy? am i doomed forever to be a cheap date? oh well.

unexpectedly, i'm going to the GCR black tie dinner tonight. so i should go iron and things. and i should probably be doing some work, but i'll do plenty of that tomorrow. and two archive trips in the past three days may mean i'm taking the day off.

you know how alcohol affects different people in different ways? some people get weepy; others get in fights; many people drunk dial. i've developed an altogether more dangerous drunk behavior: online purchases. last night i bought a plane ticket to san francisco. hurrah!

friday, 10 june

happy birthday, unc!
overheard: 'why don't you ask for a vagina?' -5:1

yesterday wasn't my day. i lost £40 somewhere. probably doing laundry. which i'm going to chalk up to some sort of karmic justice for having escaped paying for laundry since michaelmas term. but it's still, aggravating, eh?

meeting with supervisor yesterday = i have tons and tons and tons of work to do before i leave for the summer. which isn't that much fun. so now i'm off to london for another day of archives. hopefully i won't try to fall asleep today. if i do, i'm having a latte with lunch.

wednesday, 8 june

overheard: 'should i dampen their experience' -a very drunk stu

emma and stu finished their exams yesterday. good for them! while stu needed no help in that direction, i'm proud to say that i helped emma get very drunk, by making sure that her glass of champagne was always topped up. today i'm going to london to play with archives. and avoid spending too much money. i may have been payed last week, but i'm already poor again, which doesn't bode well for this summer.

i also realise that i forgot a few of the other random people who were at my conferrence thing last week: queen rania of jordan, john irving, sam donaldson, that mother/daughter country music team, roger bannister, and michael j. fox.

i've received word that i should not call the cock dirty. i'd like to say, however, that i stand by that description. it was by no means a value judgment. or a complaint. when have i ever complained about go-go boys?

i was going to talk about spokane today, but i'm in a rush to get out the door, so maybe another time.

tuesday, 7 june

overheard: 'i mean, i just won a nobel prize. how tough can it be to find me on google?' -ridiculous conferrence

ok, so about not updating for 3 weeks: sorry. i was on vacation. and i'll tell you all about said vacation over the next few days. it was broken up into three parts, of about a week each: washington DC, home, and new york city. since the new york part is freshest in my mind, you'll have to suffer through it today. i'm sure there are tons of political things that happened in the last 3 weeks that i had very strong opinions on. but now i'm jet-lagged and mildly grumpy, so we're going to overlook them and fast forward to my ridiculous time in new york.

aight. new york: i flew into JFK late on the 31st of may. i stayed with my friend mike in the west village (thanks!). well, more accurately, i stayed at his apartment while he went to spend the night with his boyfriend uptown. and sadly i didn't get to see any more of mike. the next morning, i got up by 9 and headed up to the peninsula hotel, where we stayed during the conferrence. now, this was a very nice hotel. the service was impeccable. the bathrooms were amazing (love the tv over the bath-tub. very nice). the sheets were satiny. the wifi was operational. in particular: the rooftop pool/sun deck/spa was amazing. i don't think many of the other students took advantage of it (for example, by skipping symposia to read in the sun), but you can be sure i did. i'm not good for much if not knowing the limits of my ability to sit in a chair sanely.

wednesday night we had some talks at the met by the likes of bill clinton, katie couric, and yogi berrra, followed by dinner in the temple of dendur and a private reception and viewing of the impressionism section of the museum. very impressive. dinner was veal cutlets with gravy. the wine was good, but the reception was a bit rushed.

on thursday, we had a great breakfast at the st regis hotel where most of the talks happened. i feel like that was the morning of george tenet and christ matthews, but i could be mistaken. sally field may have spoken then too. later we had a rushed lunch of bad wine and overly dry chicken at gracie mansion, where we heard from tim russert and michael bloomberg before heading to a broadway theatre for talks from edward albee, stephen sondheim, tony kushner, denzel washington and james earl jones. this last trip earned us a blurb in the gossip column of the new york daily news. ooh la la. more talks in the afternoon (i skipped the one with george lucas and others, preferring to read and relax before the talent show). it was, of course, a ridiculously good show in an auditorium at jazz at lincoln centre, with a five-story glass wall giving the audience a view of the sunset over the city and central park while we were seranaded by the likes of Nicola Benedetti and Winton Marcellus and heard from Eli Weisel and a few others. dinner, at the st regis, featured an avacado salad, exquisite lamb chops, and some sort of desert that was clearly not very memorable. but the wine was better than lunch.

friday was probably my favorite day. we spent the morning at the united nations hearing the presidents of senegal and botswana speak about development issues in africa. the president of latvia talked to us about something or other, and we had the pleasure of meeting Paul Rusesabagina (of hotel rwanda fame) and Shirin Ebadi, winner of the nobel peace prize (way too many nobel laureates running around with our group over the weekend. anyway, lunch was back at the st regis, and was much to rushed for my tastes. friday's speaker line up was jam-packed: tony morrison, tom woolf, alberto gonzalez, tony mineta, justice kennedy of the supreme court, colin powell, um, and a couple others. dinner was the "banquet of the golden plate" at the waldorf, where i got thoroughly drunk, ate a wonderful filet, and had the pleasure of listening to B B King and Tom Fogerty. the reception after the banquet was the drunkest i've been in a long time. i think i was peeing champagne for 24 hours afterwards. a cute ensign spent a long time flirting with me, but the next night jeremy and i were able to determine he's not gay. jeremy's useful that way.

saturday, after the summit ended with my trying to lose my passport (you know you're at a good conferrence when the organizers just have the secret service milling around help you sort out what to do about your last passport) and therefore missing breakfast, sam donaldson, and the ever-annoying tom friedman, a guy called cameron and i tracked down our mutual friend jeremy in brooklyn and dragged him to a late brunch. then jeremy and his flatmate britton and i headed back into manhattan for cupcakes, thai food, a house party and two bars (the lovely starlight and a dirty, dirty bar called "the cock". i kid you not.

sunday i tried to miss my flight home, but somehow i made it. and now i need to run to the library. tomorrow: notes on my trip home.

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rob - gtown
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