1. 2. 10. 11. 12. 13. 16. 17.
18. 19. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25.

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saturday, 25 february

quoted: "if you want your boyfriend to want you back, you'd better hang out with me." -manda

best thing ever: someone clearly has even more time on his hands than I do.

short update today because i have to get to london for dim sum lunch with steve and some other gtown jya kid. and tea with jack's family. and the suits ans suspenders party tonight at lara's. i won't be back until wednesday (i.e. next month) after my interview. eek.

don't forget: christmas is just 10 months from today.

friday, 24 february

quoted: "lincoln probably only has one wine cellar" -chch black tie dinner, of course

so yesterday was quite nice. i got a fair bit of work done. i saw professor steve hindle present a paper on the dearth of the late 1640s. fascinating (no really!). after that, i tried to occupy myself until the start of the wine tasting.

all in all, then, it wasn't the most fascinating of days. nothing particularly scandalous or exciting happened (other than the snow), but it was quite pleasant. i'm fairly hungry now, so i think i'll go eat something.

ok. something exciting happened after i ate breakfast, so i'm doing a little revision: why didn't anyone tell me there was a nekkid tom ford in the november issue of W? sigh. first person to track down a back issue gets to be my BFF (best friend forever, for those of you who aren't 11-year-old girls).

thursday, 23 february

quoted: "it might as well be narnia" -mark, on east oxford

speaking of narnia. i had a dream about trying to find a way off manhattan, with no luck. we went through a very scary series of underpasses, and past a startling number of subway stations whose signs i didn't understand. we ended up in the english countryside, even, but i'm pretty sure we were still on that stoopid island. i was in a taxi with amanda, even though she had a perfectly good inflatable motorcycle with her.

news: just in case anyone had forgotten that the new york times was full of pompous gits, they published
this article yesterday. my younger brother (with neither badge nor beard, incidentally) informs me that my little website comes in at number six (five now!) if one google "you should take off your pants" (in quotes). thanks to mom for saying relatively unique scandalous things.

i did no work whatsoever yesterday, but i had a great workout, and an enjoyable tea with daniel. so today i'm going to work. i'm pretty close to being done identifying the major gaps in what has already been written, which means it is almost time to start visiting libraries and archives to fill in the gaps. the first stop definitely has to be twenty-four volumes of calendars to the hatfield manuscripts. yippee!

seminar tonight, then RSSAF wine tasting at rho ho, then a beer with marty. should be a nice evening.

a quick postscript: god bless the settle post-intelligencer for its collections of photos...the daily ones, certainly, but also the ones from fashion weeks around the world and for animal photos! be warned: the fourth photo is going to give me nightmares for weeks.

wednesday, 22 february

quoted: "i just can't bend over" -jack

first, random news: the new strong bad email is from a spokanite; wingaling babies! it's shocking the number of people who read (bad) papers that i wrote in high school or college without looking at the rest of my website; i'm #2 now if you do a google search for frankish law. larry summers resigned as president of harvard; what a jerk. i thought this was pretty funny.

in much more important news: i had the most delicious lunch EVER yesterday. a little leftover red thai chicken curry mixed with a freshly pan-fried red bell pepper, allowed to cool, and then served over a delicious bed of spinach. may have been the best thing i've ever eaten in my life.

last night was the annual chch graduate dinner. katie wasn't there (boo!), but it was still a lot of fun. we started with asparagus, potato and griddled pepper salad with a dijon and olive oil vinaigrette, followed by sugar-coated cod on a warm potato pancake with beetroot vinaigrette. the main course was roast best end of lamb with wild mushrooms in marsala sauce and polenta grain with ricotta (the polenta was the only gross bit of the dinner; it had the consistencly of jello). the pudding was very good: apple galette with crème chantilly. oh. i lied. the cava they served before dinner was kinda gross, too. anyway, the best thing about the meal was that it was free (yay!) and graduate students come out of the woodwork for free dinners. got to see and chat with tons of people, and even got a little drunk out of it.

i had a strange dream last night in which my brother became a police officer. and grew a beard. very disturbing.

tuesday, 21 february

happy 25th birthday, brando!
quoted: "sometimes these things just happen" -dr tom

no update yesterday. i apologize profusely. i was participating in a little physiology experiment for one of my rhodes classmates. on the plus side, i doubled my net worth by participating (when do i get that april stipend payment?). on the minus side, it ended as all science experiements end. no no. not in tears. but with me being spectacularly sick while running down a hallway. makes me glad i'm an historian, really. anyway, i spent six hours in a room with 8% oxygen (compared to the normal 21%). apparently that's about the equivalent of the amount of oxygen i'd be getting at 4500 metres above sea level. so remind me not to go mountain climbing any time soon. and thanks to tom and quentin for cleaning up after me. sorry about that.

taize on sunday night was GREAT. except the song in french with tons and tons of eighth notes. because my ears were clogged, so i couldn't at all tell whether i was singing in tune. and i don't speak french, so i'm certain i wasn't pronouncing anything correctly. it was a lovely service, though. i always forget how relaxing taize is. reminds me of JVC, for one thing. oh, patty mac. one intriguing bit of sunday's service: the organizers put a number of cushions in the aisle of the church choir, inviting the participants to move about as they pleased throughout the service. i think they forgot that this is england.

stop the presses:
hot olympians is back! kind-of. yay!

graduate dinner at chch tonight. i forget if they assign our seats. i hope not. between now and then, though, i need to eat lots, work lots and work out a little. but not that last one until it warms up a bit.

sunday, 19 february

happy 23rd birthday, manda!
quoted: "i have a headache. it may just be exhaustion. from shopping" -jack

i went outside last night! hurrah! hall served us (me and mark) overcooked pasta with a bland sauce! but i thought the sausages were good. and the concert thing at the merton college chapel was very good--mozart's exultate jubilate and flute concerto number 2 in D major (K. 314) followed by Haydn's missa sancti nicolai. oh thank goodness for the catholic church, inspiring people like haydn to write beautiful music for the mass.

let's talk for a minute about the merton college chapel. what's the deal? it's beautiful, certainly. i need to go back to see it during daylight hours to appreciate its stained glass. largely dating from the thirteenth century, it's apparently the oldest college chapel in oxford--other than christ church, of course, whose chapel/cathedral largely dates to the twelfth-century rebuilding of of the st frideswide's priory (though remnants of the older, eighth-century church remain visible in the eastern wall). anyway, unlike the cathedral, merton college chapel entirely lacks all the accessories necessary to regular worship. i know the cathedral is rather exceptional in having three services a day (four on wednesdays and sundays) but still!

so there's a rather interesting
quiz on marriage in today's new york times today. i should point out that the answer to question 5 leaves out an interesting foible of english marriage law before 1754, namely, that marriage was a matter of ecclesiastical law until that year. ecclesiastical law, as it turns out, recognised marriages per verba de praesenti and per verba de futuro. so not only could you get married by saying "i marry you" to one another, with our without a witness, but you could also get married by promising "i will marry you" and then, erm, consummating that promise. yup: promise to marry someone to get them to sleep with you and BAM, you're hitched.

the rest of the answers are interesting. i didn't know about the divorce rate in the bible belt. i can't say i'm surprised, though.

speaking of weddings, a good, jesuit-educated spokane girl (or at least a girl with a father in spokane) made it into weddings and celebrations today. though she is marrying a guy whose name is moss.

even better, though, is this article on cell phone numbers in washington DC. you know how much i miss...wait for it...summer time in the 509.

saturday, 18 february

quoted: "i'm totally about to wet myself" -young woman outside univ

yes. i admit it. i didn't go outside even once yesterday. but because of that (and maybe the antibiotics?) i think i'm starting to feel a little better. not fully recovered, but a little better. unfortunately, the lack of outside-ness strictly limits my ability to say anything interesting today.

i had a dream last night that started as watching the sound of music, but quickly turned in to the beginning of a scary movie, as i was asked to babysit in a house that was ALL WINDOWS, the mother warning me that a lot of the window locks weren't working. but i quickly roused myself from that potential nightmare and started dreaming about houseboats.

by the bye,
this is hilarious.

friday, 17 february

quoted: "whoa" -doctor, on looking at my throat

hurrah for the NHS. not because i'm feeling particularly better just yet, but because when i called yesterday at 11, my doctor's receptionist agreed to squeeze me in at the end of the day. said doctor prescribed me penicillin (which is strangely unsatisfying, since every time i get sick i expect to be told "it's viral. it will clear up on its own"...my mom's standard response), which i get to take four times a day for the next week. so hopefully by this evening i'll be feeling a bit better. said doctor also told me that about half of christ church has been into the surgery in the past fortnight, so i'm gonna blame this all on my college.

if you want to see a katrillion cartoonists' responses to this prophet brouhaha...
look here. they go on and on and on. for both sides. imagine that.

someone stole my umbrella on sunday, you know, so i went to buy a new one. that sports shop in westgate has been having its closing down sale since september now. and while i'll never argue with £2.40 for a good umbrella, i'm getting a bit suspicious that they're still receiving new stock.

what else is happening? not a heck of a lot. sorry to be so boring two days in a row. i'm going to have to admit that i think the scandal-mongering over vice president cheney shooting someone is a bit OTT. there's no scandal behind it, i'm guessing, but i do hope that he'll be more careful in the future.

thursday, 16 february

quoted: "he is an historian, but you can't tell." -p

ok. i'm sick as the proverbial dog. not cool. not cool at all. but i had a lovely valentine's day 48 hours in oxford. tuesday jack had to take an online maths exam for some job thing, so we spent part of the day at cafe nero studying (after dim sum, of course) and part of the day at his friend raoul's flat so jack could use the internet. very cool flat, btw. the porters bring your car around when you need it: coolest. thing. ever. although mighty expensive, i'm sure. anyway, after jack took his online exam, we went to this cute little pub called the gun for a beer with raoul. then he kindly drove us to our romantic valentine's dinner at...one of London's four mexican restaurants. actually, being about 45 feet from ubon, it was quite chic, with small-ish portions of very fresh, delicate-tasting food. the service left a bit to be desired, but we made up for that by going for a cocktail at the four seasons afterwards. mmmmmm. a well-made martini really is a joy to drink. and a lovely valentine's day, to boot.

in other food news, before coming back up to oxford last night, i joined jack and his dad for thai food at the mango tree. it was good. i had a stir-fried chicken with garlic and peppers. delicious, though perhaps not as hot as it could have been. it was no patara, but what is?

there's really very little other news to communicate. the two big points of the day: i'm sick, and i was well-fed in london. at some point i need to rally my spirits to go to the grocery store so i can make myself a little dinner tonight.

monday, 13 february

happy birthday, bekah!
quoted: "i'm so afraid i'll say 'premature ejaculation' instead of 'premajure repatriation'." -jackson

you may have noticed that i'm putting links to specific days' entries across the top of this month's set of updates. just trying something new out. might keep it; might not. i'm constitutionally opposed to clutter, but sometimes i think it would be useful to be able to refer back to specific entries. i'm also thinking about giving each mont a short introduction to encapsulate its contents. kinda like the chapter headings in vantiy fair. last month, for example, could be in which our hero (yes, i get to be the hero. the villain role is still open, though. speak to the casting agent) mourns the death of the thames dolphin. yes yes, i know it was a whale.

i am specifically ignoring the new york times article on pandas. don't ask me about it. i'm very angry with the grey lady. as amanda said, "dead to me".

evensong last night was interesting. we sang very strange hymns. one of them was jerusalem which serves as a constant reminder of what a nutbar william blake was. dark satanic mills, you know. dinner was very pleasant. we discovered that if you put five rhodes scholars and a german together, and give them access to google, there's not much they can't figure out. among the classic rho scho moments: katie's beliefs on pickles and sue's beliefs on reindeer. the founder would be so proud.

ok. but i do have to link you to one story from the nytimes, even though we're not really on speaking terms. apparently our veep shot someone while quail hunting in texas on saturday evening. we won't even rehash how much i get shaken up by hunting mishaps. and this won't count as prophecy for obvious reasons, but it is still weird...i definitely hadn't heard anything about this accident before i went to bed last night, but i had a dream about pheasant hunting last night. i've never had one of those in my life.

i also feel compelled to mention my worries about this incident. firstly, the idea of vice president cheney shooting someone isn't particularly surprising to me. was mr whittington about to publish a damning critique of the bush administration? it would all make total sense in that case. no? well, it's still mildly bothersome to me. VPOTUS was wandering around with a bunch of people carrying a cocked shotgun. i was a hunting party, so presumably a bunch of other people had guns. did mr whittington have a gun? where was mr cheney's secret service detail? shouldn't they have warned him that a guy was approaching unannounced, gun or no gun? if they knew there was a man in the direction that mr cheney was about to shoot, why on god's green earth didn't they stop him from shooting? if they didn't know there was a man in the direction mr cheney was about to shoot, why on earth not?! very very strange.

and while i've always known that people used shotguns to hunt birds, it seems rather odd to hunt quails at all. every spring there are tons of baby quails around my house in spokane. they're adorable. but even the adults aren't very big. i imagine after firing a shotgun at one, about half the quail's mass would be from the shot. icky. but i guess that's why this thing exists. icky.

sunday, 12 february

quoted: "god i love bacteria" -amanda

what a beautiful, warm, rainy day. it seems to promise that spring is on its way. also, since last month was apparently the driest january in a decade for southern england. so all rain is totally welcome.

everyone say it with me now: first draft.

on a related note: HURRAH! it is very rough. very rough indeed. but its there, and it's just asking to be roughed up by a bit of ruthless editing. but today i'm taking a break from the monster thesis to sip chamomile tea, tidy up my room and desk, read george eliot, and generally make myself useless. later i'll go to evensong (hopefully with katie) and then a veritable dinner party with katie, sue, antonius, shack, and cyrus. except hall is cooking.

the zags beat stanford tonight. that's a good thing. but michelle kwan pulled out of the olympics, and that's a bad thing. i spoke to my dad yesterday on the phone. and guster. but guster wasn't very talkative.

saturday, 11 february

quoted: "i'm looking pretty girly tonight, right?" -young woman on beaumont street

alright. first hung over update in a long while. i neither mixed alcohols nor drank an outrageous amount, but there it is. mark was all about the bopping last night, and ed very kindly brought scrubs for all of us (it was a doctors and nurses theme). mark fell in heart with a tall beautiful blond woman. her husband was a little jealous, even after he figured out that mark is, in fact, a gay.

it is possible that i got drunk because dinner last night was less food than gristle. way to go, chch hall! i went to the early sitting. the first years all look like they're 12 still. i'm sure they'll grow out of it.

i missed the opening ceremony of the olympics. i have no plans tongiht, though, so you know i'll plant myself in front of a television to watch the goods: curling. ice lacrosse. things like that. ok. time for breakfast. sorry i'm not interesting today. just hung over.

friday, 10 february

quoted: "he's, like, gay. but he doesn't..." -E14

back by popular demand...my updates! and by popular demand, i mean mark emailed me to ask if i was dead and my brother emailed to order more updates.

there is, of course, a logical explanation for my long absence. i was in london until wednesday (yes, since you ask, i did miss a luncheon on tuesday by accident). yesterday i was just too lazy to post. but now i'm back. until monday, anyway. i'm about two hours (of actual work) from finishing the first draft of my d.phil thesis. don't let that trick you into thinking i'm anywhere close to done. i'm still aiming for a submission date somewhere in the august range.

anyway, i returned to oxford to find my email (jack still doesn't have internet) jam-packed with emails about this offensive cartoon brouhaha. now, i have an opinion on all this, and here it is: (1) there is no grand european batttle between freedom of speech and muslim religious sensibility. (2) mass violent protests--like most arguements in romantic relationships--are never about the stimulus that provokes them. clearly there's widespread dissatisfaction within the muslim population, both in europe and in traditionally muslim parts of the world, accompanied by feelings of powerlessness and marginalisation. the most shocking bit of all this is how surprised europeans and americans seem to be at this disaffection/reaction. (think back to the race riots that happened throughout urban america in the 1960s. impotence is infuriating, and it only takes a little spark to set it off). in any case, it's clear that karen hughes has her work cut out for her. (3) the intensity of these protests therefore shouldn't be surprising, but neither is their violence excusable. (4) no one has any sense of irony. at all. (5)
this guy is just an idiot. which is exactly what his local imam said to BBC news. really. i think the exact quote was "he's always been an idiot". or something close to that. classic.

in other news, i may be famous. not really, but i have had a disturbing number of strangers acknowledging my existence in recent days. i walked into a door on monday at a mall in london, and a guy told me he still thought i was cool....one person at a time, i always say. then later monday, i was on the DLR when five 16-year-old chavettes boarded and started whispering to each other and looking in my direction more than was strictly necessary. then--get this--they all took out their mobile phones started taking photos of me! not even sneakily. i felt awkward and pretended not to notice. next time, though, i'm going to offer to take photos with them.

by far the best experience of last weekend, though, was when jack's parents took us to dinner at ubon, the nobu in canary wharf, which has roughly this amazing view. it's on the fifth floor of a building on the river (jack's gym, incidently), and its walls are entirely glass. so dinner included some delicious sushi and shrimp tempura, followed by a beef tenderloin with wasabi sauce and miso soup, followed by a lychee and berry parfait. delicious. delicious. but that's not the most exciting bit. the restaurant is just across a courtyard from the four seasons. halfway through the meal we noticed that you could see into several of the hotel rooms. nothing unusual there. and, oh, there's a man in a bathrobe. that's mildly awkward. but after we finished dessert and were walking back toward the elevator BAM! there goes the bathrobe. and we were left with a fat middle aged naked guy about fifty yards from us. that wasn't awkward at all.

thursday, 2 february

happy birthday, mom!
same to sean!
and happy day, groundhog!
quoted: "so many dinners. it's as if people in oxford can't think of any other way to mark an occasion" -dinner monday

how quickly time passes. two years ago, in celebration of my mother's birthday, i put together a list of her most (in)famous quotes of the day. they're stilly pretty classic. perhaps next year i'll post a part deux. it's also groundhog day, of course. so maybe spring is just around the corner. please god let spring be just around the corner. it's so cold here that my face hurts.

you may have noticed i'm not in london. i'm heading there post-gym. the problem is that i timed all my breakfast foods to run out yesterday morning, so as to avoid waste. so now i have access to precisely two cereal bars, lots of tea, and some delicious stuffed pastas. perhaps i'll head down to london after lunch then.

i watch the state of the union yesterday. now i think it's no secret that i'm not such a fan of our current president. i think he's exceedingly irresponsible and short-sighted. and listening to him speak is almost physically painful. but these points are immaterial to my one over-arching observation of this year's SOTU: america is not good at pomp. before the speech, someone was announcing "ladies and gentlemen, the justices of the supreme court...ladies and gentlement, the united states cabinet..." etc. but it seemed so shoddy and half-hearted. it was like watching prom royalty be announced. and not at one of those cool proms on a boat or the top of the space needle or in outer space. one of those sad proms in the school gymnasium with paper streamers.

marty and i met up for a couple beers last night. i think maybe i'm just not supposed to go to the bear. because this time, we didn't stay on account of there being no seats inside. so we went to the turf and managed to get a great table, though it was near a window, so not too warm. in any case, we had a pleasant evening discussing the stregths and weaknesses of being habitual, the difficulty in finding jobs, and the prospects of joining the circus. his seem better than mine.

ps - nang is totally the new fetch. the times told me, so clearly i'm neither. at the same time, i can't imagine the mean girls knowingly using anything from an east london comprehensive.

wednesday, 1 february

quoted: "if you'd been listening just before the big bang, you would have heard someone say, 'ah sh__!'" -dinner monday

yay! short month! and tomorrow is the birthday of my mother AND my friend sean. since i'll be heading to london either late tonight or EARLY tomorrow, i'll take this chance to wish them both a very happy birthday.

i have just returned from the gym, where i heard (yet another) remake of don henley's "boys of summer". now i like this song, but it got me to thinking how many english people know the referrence. my sample of one so far hasn't known: baseball. the boys of summer are baseball players. there. consider yourself informed, england.

the only reason i was even mildly attuned to such a cultural allusion is because of a rather depressing exercise mark and i undertook last night. mark invited me around to somerville for a DELICIOUS meal of chicken stuffed with apricots and then wrapped in bacon. it was like heaven on a plate. thanks, mark! anyway, after dinner we looked through the appendix of harold bloom's the western canon. we agreed that, while we both read quite a lot, we're horrifically illiterate by the standard of this list. jack suggests that i stop reading the same books over and over again. he might have a point.

state of the union was last night. i'm planning to watch the webcast today after i walk my confirmation of status paper up to keble, but i'm sure that it won't be nearly as entertaining as wonkette's
live-blogging of it. (that's not a permalink, for which i apologise).

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