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tuesday, 31 january

quoted: "i'll follow your sweet story with a harsh one" -dinner last night

the work day went really well. i made it to six libraries (bod law, hist fac, sackler, upper bod, duke humfrey's and upper rad cam). it was exhausting. but now i'm ready to make a mad dash for submitting this thing. except that henry might be in town today, and i should probably go to that power elites seminar, and mark has very kindly invited me to dine at somerville tonight. but other than that. and being a little hung over. and going to the gym. but i'm working. i swear.

dinner last night was lovely. five courses. went from 7.30 until 11. the sweet story was as follows: a beggar was sitting on the sidewalk of a large city. beside him was a dog and in his lap was a small cardboard sign that read "i am blind". people were stepping over the man, but very few were dropping coins into his cup. another man, who had been watching, approached the sitting man and asked if he might add a few words to the sign. after doing so, he went back across the street to watch their effect. almost immediately, passers-by started to notice him and began to drop quarters into the cup. the sign now read "it is spring, and i am blind".

it's reminds me a bit of the sweet strawberry/tiger story. if anyone remembers that one.

oh. i forgot when i updated yesterday. something exciting DID happen yesterday. i found out that shannon got a job. so congrats to her! yay! and my friend amy found out yesterday that she got lots of funding to go study her classics at berkeley. well done! now back to work for me.

monday, 30 january

quoted: "you could get a rash just thinking about that" -sarah's party

today is a work day. i need to get this chapter excerpt polished and ready to submit for my confirmation of status as a doctoral student. thus far, it's actually been quite fun: synthesizing, polishing, compressing, reworking. i do believe that all the reservations i have about my research will be assuaged by the editing process: hurrah!

in other news: nothing interesting happened yesterday. i wouldn't be too disappointed if nothing interesting (i.e. distracting) happened today. but tomorrow, rumor has it, the oscar nominees are announces.

sunday, 29 january

happy 19th birthday, the little one!
quoted: "one should live on an island only if one owns that island" -sue's party

ok. may have gotten a little drunk last night. great party. it's the year of the dog now, you know. a great assortment of people four georgetowners (none of whom i'd ever met before) and a whopping NINE people from our rhodes class. very impressive. i got to hear sue's infamous j.lo story. definitely worth the wait, even if it did drive antonius from the room.

i might be mildly hung over today.

there are a few interesting stories in today's new york times. the first is the revelation of yet another scientist that the bush administration is trying to prevent him from publicising data that it finds politically unpalatable. not new, but still depressing.

substantially more fun is the article on adult siblings sharing apartments. i can imagine nothing more fun. oh. so great. i miss my siblings. sad face.

the final thing to read is the editorial board's totally reasonable response to the bush administration's defense of its domestic wire-tapping program. now: such refutations must be made. it's important to debunk the president's totally bogus claims about its necessity and effectiveness. it is. but (and this is a BIG but) the democrats really need to stop using this sort of structure for when they go on the talk show rounds. it's thorough; it's accurate; it's spot-on. but it's also clunky and almost violently unsexy. it all has to be said, but not on the air. it takes up too much time and provides no soundbites. it also gets you mired in minutiae.

an analogy: if the republicans were to claim that old north, one of the oldest buildings at georgetown, was blue, the proper response would be "don't be absurd; it's red", not "most of the building is read brick with putty-colored stone accents, grey concrete steps, windows that might appear black or yellow, and cream-colored wooden railings and columns." put that in a press release. put it on your website. write op-ed pieces explaining that. but if you force your talking heads to say all that on television, rove & co will nit pick you to death: "technically, the steps are composite, not concrete; the pillars are white, not cream; democrats would rather protect the civil liberties of the enemy than prevent al qaeda from taking more innocent american lives". trust me. that's how it would go down.

perhaps because of the president's less-than-stellar intellect, rove & co have developped a winning strategy: one talking point at a time. the president and all his aides stick to it for a day or two, or a week. then they come up with another one. so today old north is blue. don't get trapped bickering about the color of the pillars. address all that, but don't get stuck on it. and go on the offensive a bit: "this wiretapping program is unconstitutional, and the president's abuse of power makes americans less safe. end of story." the damn building is red. keep it simple, and every (reasonable) person will be forced to agree.

anyway, enough ranting from me. it's my brother's 19th birthday. awww. last year as a teenager. i remember my 19th birthday. it was just before i met john. kelly came to wake me up very early on a rainy friday morning, and proceeded to take me out for a bagel and hot cocoa. i feel like later in the day there may have been a christmas-tree-lighting ceremony that we went to on campus. that is one of my happiest birthday memories.

saturday, 28 january

quoted: "i don't think many women are interested in spending money eating and drinking in each other's company" -old man on BBC, defending gentlemen's clubs

we're talking OLD man. it looked like his jaw was about to fall off. but just to be clear: i'm not sure there should be legislation prohibiting single-sex clubs. i'm just saying.

i'm having trouble believing it's been twenty years since the challenger disaster. i still remember when it happened. that was the moment i lost all interest in becoming an astronaut. how very sad that was. not for me, i mean.

short update today. i've gotta get tot the gym so that when i eat a frightfully unhealthy breakfast later it doesn't kill me.

ps - HOORAY! despite the efforts words of local nutbar penny lancaster, washington state yesterday continued its march toward welcoming me back as a permanent resident.

friday, 27 january

quoted: "where's amy?" -jack, cleaning his oven rack after cooking smelly fish

i'm a reprobate. by which i mean sorry for not updating in a bit. i was in a sour mood tuesday through yesterday. maybe i still am, but i don't think so. i had a very entertaining conversation with my mom yesterday. i haven't talked to my dad in ages, though. and i got a pair of panties in my pigeon hole yesterday. not like that. attached to an invitation to a valentines day party. exciting! but i can't go, because it's only for single folk, so i passed the invitation (and the undergarment) along to a single friend.

kudos: congrats to ileana and christine on becoming doctors...not the doctors of tomorrow. the doctors of today. scurry. and good luck to marty in his interview today: knock their socks off! oh, and a belated happy birthday to ed, who turned 23 on wednesday. yay!

i had the strangest dreams on wednesday night. in one of them, i was shopping with my mom at nordstrom. but after i tried on some trousers, which she (soundly) rejected, i couldn't find the rack where they'd come from. and then all of a sudden i was in a gym. and most of the guys were just working out naked. it was more uncomfortable than you might think, and i've never been bothered by the showing-up-naked-at-school dream.

dream number two involved being introduced to a number of older (mid to late 60s) women, and trying to talk to them, but every time i started talking, i would notice that i had my anti tooth-grinding mouthpiece in (which i wore to sleep that night). but i kept taking it out and putting it in my pocket. then i'd try to talk again, and it would be back in my mouth. so i'm sure i was talking in my sleep. i wonder what i was saying.

in the last, strangest dream i was visiting amanda in seattle. part of her lease stipulated that for a certain number of hours each week, her apartment would be used as a children's library. and let me tell you: those kids were obnoxious. but not as obnoxious as the librarians. another part of the lease gave a certain number of hours each week over to a crematorium. so there was a very strange funeral going on. and jack joined in, of course.

ok. back to work. i have to submit my confirmation of status paperwork by next week, so i'm ske-daddling.

saturday, 21 january

quoted: "in 2006...i will eat more pie!" -satchel

i begin today's update with what i'm sure will prove to be the story of the year: london goes crazy over lost, possibly drunk whale. it's cute, i assure you. not as cute as butterstick, but what is? i was alerted to the presence of the whale of the thames not by any of my friends who live in london (you're all in SO much trouble, by the way), but by the the new york times. sometimes--mostly while reading stories like these--i worry that the grey lady has fallen a bit out of touch...the italicized text from the following excerpt was in the original version posted online, but has since been removed: "It evoked something of the magic that comes when one species meets another at close quarters - like sitting with mountain gorillas in Rwanda or stalking lions by open Land Rover in Tanzania. And it touched something, too, in the soul of a nation with a traditional fondness for waifs and strays." very proletarian. but the waifs and strays thing is also curiously condescending. hmm.

on the other hand, it offers further evidence of my theory that new york and london are slowly growing into a transatlantic twin cities. i used to thing nobu was evidence of this trend. but now there are nobu in las vegas and dallas, which are both so naff that i could vomit.

anyway, on to the next story of the day. it's kind of linked to the crazy whale story. just as new york looks up to london as a big sister of sorts, so seattle looks to new york in much the same way. the original settlement of seattle, as we all know, was at alki point, which they named new york alki. alki, being our state motto, is a word from a chinook pidgin language called wawa that means "bye and bye". anyway, the story is about crazy old paul allen and his quest to make a pottersville out of seattle. not really. he's investing billions of dollars into a new urbanist neighborhood slash biotech center just south of lake union. it sounds fabulous, but people seem a little freaked out. people startle easily. that's why you don't sneak up on them when they're eating. or get between them and their cubs.

i got an email last night reminding me to submit my confirmation of status paperwork in the next two weeks. oh crap. that's a lot of work. especially because i need to change the title of my thesis before i confirm my status. crap crap crap. why am i still writing this update?

oh, before i go, though: thanks to fiona and josh for having me around to dinner at brasenose last night. it was great. very impressive unicorn penis you have there.

friday, 20 january

quoted: "men's consciences are very large" -seminar

jack has an interview thing today: good luck! knock 'em dead! i'm sure you'll do very well.

meanwhile, i'll be spending another day wreslin' with ungainly block quotations in an attempt to get them to stay in their proper places and tell some sort of mildly compelling story about the liberty of the collegiate church of st martin le grand. i know: not an easy task. i always feel bad cutting little interesting bits out of quotes, but i'm afraid it's quite necessary at this point.

i went to the royal oak with mark last night. definitely my favorite pub in oxford. they even have canadian beer! so we had some of that and talked and talked and talked. a very pleasant way to spend an evening.

thursday, 19 january

quoted: "please don't move tables again" -grumpy waitress at Qi

in our defense, dave and i wouldn't have moved tables the first time if our initial table hadn't been in the fireplace, where i had dual fears either of being clocked in the head by something falling out of the flue or of standing up and hitting my head on the mantle. but tea with dave was good nonetheless. devi was there; it's always lovely to see her, i must do something with her soon.

i made it to the final round of interviews for this post-D.Phil job! thanks to everyone, and st cajetan. keep up the good vibes, because my final interview is all morning tuesday. hurrah.

also, i've totally forgotten to mention the strangest/best part of the dinner party i went to with jack last saturday night: every time i went to the loo, the toilet seat was up. there were more women than men at the party, which was for sarah, and yet the toilet seat was always up. what does it mean?

in much much worse news, my brother bo sent me a link to this story, about the proposal to build a walmart on the south hill. i mean, yes, it's at 44th and regal, which is pretty darn far from my bit of the south hill. by the time you get that far south, it's really more of a south plateau, anyway. the prospect of a new walmart in town still makes me gag, though. even a fancy-pants one. ick. ick ick ick.

ok. i'm off to the grocery store. later, gators.

wednesday, 18 january

"would you babysit your little cousins for two [gonzaga basketball] games?" -aunt marguerite
"which games?" -cousin christy

from the conversation at dinner last night, it seems that there's general agreement that hilary term battels were a bit of a kick in the stomach for most of us graduate students at the house. i'm not sure that makes it better, but at least i don't feel profligate. i rate profligacy on a curve, you'll remember.

i went to see brokeback mountain yesterday for a second time. this time with christine, who now joins everyone else who has seen the film in asking "what on earth was ennis saying?" i thought it was better the second time around. i found it more emotionally compelling. but that might be because the first time i see a movie based on a book i know well, i have trouble watching it as an independent work. i slip into comparing and contrasting it with its progenitor.

i had a dream last night that i'd been elected to parliament. but i hadn't stood. i just ended up getting elected, so i had no idea what constituency i represented. or party. but there was a cool train that i fell off of while carrying groceries home.

drinks last night were nice. chris and amy hosted a small graduate thing at college, and then we headed to magdalen's newly-painted oscar wilde room for uni drinks. marty and rob were there, but otherwise i didn't know anyone. there seemed to be lots of new people.

i'm meeting my friend dave for coffee this afternoon. until then, i think i'm going to work at the union library. i've never done that before. and maybe i can track down a termcard, since i never received one.

tuesday, 17 january
the feast of st anthony

quoted: "Kenny's fiance is the one Travis videotaped in the shower" -amanda

i got my hilary term battels yesterday. and then i had a heart attack. i had forgotten that those 37 days i was here before the start of michaelmas term hadn't appeared on my michaelmas battels. so this terms i may be playing the part of a jesuit volunteer again. which had better help me in the finishing up of this doctoral thing i'm working on.

my weekend was good. sarah's birthday dinner was very nice. an interesting assembly of 'delightful people'. and good food, wine and conversation. i had another dream about being attacked by a wolf on sunday night. i hope this isn't foreshadowing. but on the plus side, i've started to defend myself: this time i punched jack in the face. whoops. sorry! and then i had these interviews yesterday, and i really like the company, so i hope they work out alright. i find out tomorrow night. apparently st cajetan is the patron of job-seekers. so i wouldn't be awfully mad if any of my catholic readers took a moment or two to ask him to intercede on my behalf.

i had a dream last night that my grandmother worked at pizza hut. but that was only after having a dream in which susie and i decided we were going to bury a bunch of cinder blocks. but the cinder blocks stood quite explicitly for something else. and susie said something very witty about graves not watering themselves. which i think meant that consideration of the dead is carried out by the living for the benefit of the living. but i don't know why i'd have a dream telling me that.

at dinner last night i heard that 28% of the world's CCTV cameras are in the UK. not bad, since they're purportedly protecting a mere 0.94% of the world's population and 5.2% of the world's wealth. ok, i'm off to look at the letters and papers, foreign and domestic, of the reign of king henry VIII.

saturday, 14 january

quoted: "she's either pregnant or she didn't get housing." -amanda, of course

i had a dream last night about a wolf attacking me. well, it was trying to attack missy, and i went out to save her, and it attacked me. then i woke up. i had quite a lie in today. finally got up at 10.15. in my defense, my room this year is so cave-like that i should be forgiven for thinking it was 8 am by the amount of light coming through my window. so now i've had breakfast and all, but i think i'm going to skip the gym for tody.

i did a few hours of work yesterday--including the transcription of two statutes from the reign of Edward IV that were in french. well, bastardised anglo-french. it was rather slow going, but still much easier to understand than real, modern french.

i went out for a drink with marty last night. two beers had me pretty tipsy. we went to the castle tavern, where we ran into JP and basher. in any case, it was a very pleasant evening. i'm trying to convince him to read howards end, which i've decided is my favourite book: only connect...

congratulations to becky on contracting the anthony driving disorder: "i was driving about 27 and it really just felt fast enough. i didn't want to go much faster than that." next thing you know, beckers, you'll get yelled at by aunt marguerite for stopping at yellow lights.

i'm sorry to say that this update was a total tease. i'm heading to london this evening for a dinner party, and staying through my interview thang on monday, so no updates until tuesday. but maybe by then i'll have gotten some work done. maybe.

thursday, 5 january

quoted: "there are old people and there are old people" -my 93-year-old grandmother

dinner with gramma was GREAT. another night with almost no leftovers. it's always sad to say goodbye, but thankfully i'll be back in town in about 10 weeks. so that's good. now i just have to get TONS of work done in between.

on the way back from dropping my grandmother off last night, my brother and i were listening to dragostea din tei--the romanian dance hit of 2004. or something. it made me reminisce about last year: stu and filippo's ambiguous sexuality, lara's sleepiness, the bulletin board in the flat upstairs. for all its trials and tribulations, i have tons of great memories from the 2004-2005 academic year.

ok. i'm hungry now. have a great weekend, y'all.

wednesday, 4 january

quoted: "it's like the valley of the south hill" -allison D

no promises for an update tomrrow. or the next day. in fact, there's a good chance i won't update for about a week. i'm heading to london tomorrow, you see, and i'm not sure when i'll finally make it back up to oxford. it can't be too awfully long, i supppose, since a merchant there still has jack's christmas present.

i wanted to pack yesterday, but i didn't. i'm picking up my new suit this afternoon, though, so i'll pack after that, and get everything ready so that i can relax tomorrow. i don't leave until 2.30 tomorrow afternoon, which is just about ideal. i arrive in london at noon friday, so it's kinda a quick trip. and then i get to see jack's flat. exciting.

just in case anyone missed the journalism event of the year: the new york times ran an article yesterday on the almost painful cuteness of butterstick. and other cute things too. i highly recommend it.

tuesday, 3 january

quoted: "it's like you're the prettiest girl at prom. or the sluttiest, if you're at catholic school" -TV

munich = haunting. truly haunting. but brilliant. and, as best i can tell, an accurate depiction of the way in which engaging a cycle of hate and violence destroys the humanity of individuals. it's politcally corrupting, too, of course. but that's pretty par for the course. more depressing was the image of good people losing their souls for an empty cause: abandoning their morals in service of a violence that bring no peace. it made me want to go watch gandhi.

i just got back from costco, and i'm off to get my teeth cleaned now. and then to buy two last christmas presents, after which i'll come pack up my mac house gifts for to send, and then start cleaning my room.

monday, 2 january

quoted: "pretend this is cheese and squish it" -beckers

ok. 2006 is so yesterday. i'm ready for 2005 again. it had such a nice ring to it. still, i guess we do get some olympics this year. that's never bad. i wonder whether there'll be a new hotolympians website. oh, the memories. that was a fun summer joe: thanks! hmmm. maybe i should try to go back to ptown with y'all next summer.

just watching the end of the cotton bowl now. yes, i watch college football. sometimes. by which i mean at new year's. but bama won, and i'm pretty sure i was rooting for them. so hurrah.

Harry Potter + IMAX = GREAT! we're going to see munich this afternoon. i'm curious to see how it is. still saving up for brokeback mountain on friday. can't wait, even though i'm sad to be leaving home.

we went to mass at St Al's last night. my uncle steve was celebrating. afterwards, he told me that i should finish my thesis before i get home for the easter holiday. his plan for success: less internet/more work. a fair assessment. so i'm considering it. i'll keep you posted.

sunday, 1 january

quoted: "it's even funnier when he does it with the gun" -jeff

happy new year, everyone! woohoo. on a more serious note: i've spent twenty-five years pretending to be interested in new year's eve celebrations. but i just don't. and the experiences of the past 5 years or so has taught me one thing: going out on new year's eve is a recipe for a lame evening. henceforward, i will not be pressured by anyone into going to a bar or club at new year's. i'll host a dinner party. i'll host a real party. i'll attend a dinner party or a real party. heck, i'll even spend new year's eve in a hotel in an exotic city. but never again will i be tricked into joinging people who want to go to lame bars with bad DJs, $15 cover charges, and long lines in the rain which end up being filled with america's best answer to the british chav.

but, actually, i had a lovely evening until we decided to go out: worst. choice. ever.

the zags won last night. that helped. i went to the game with my brother, father, godfather, godmother and grandmother. per usual, about half of spokane was there. in a good way.

i'm just about to head downtown with the little bro to watch the new harry potter movie on IMAX. pretty exciting. and just to, you know, make an inappropriate comment about the dead...there's an article in the spokane paper today about the long-standing rumor that butch cassidy died in spokane in 1937 or something. there are a couple of photos in the article, and that there outlaw was HOT. i'm just sayin. oh, and there was a funny piece in yesterday's guardian about brokeback mountain, butch cassidy, and gay cowboys everywhere. silly guardian.

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