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friday, 31 march

quoted: "save a horse; ride a cowboy" -los angeles, via ccc.

christine says it's shameful that i have no quotes, so she sent that one my way. speaking of ccc, i made chocolate chip cookies yesterday afternoon. definitely the best cookies i've ever made. but they definitely decreased my enjoyment of the ben & jerry's chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream at the baby shower i went to with my parental units later in the afternoon. in between, of course, i went for a bike ride.

no bike rides today. it's awfully rainy out. an appropriate day for a funeral. incidently, i'm helping my cousin jeff with catering the funeral of a family friend. sad day.

other news is rather thin on the ground. catch you in april.

thursday, 30 march

quoted: i got nothing today. again. i blame allison d, really.

and i apologize. i haven't had my ears tuned to embarassing things people say. i've also had rather limited contact with people outside my family. which isn't all bad.

i went to jack and dan's yesterday for lunch with my mother and grandmother. lovely. and then gramma took us out for ice cream. hurrah. we drove past a billboard that read "counterfeit marriages endanger children". i'm generally opposed to vandalism, but i really do hope someone blacks out "counterfeit marriages" and replaces it with "bigotry". just for the record.

did you know that americans spend $30 billion a year on weight loss regime...roughly equal to the official military budget of the people's republic of china. yes yes, the US department of defence claims true expenditure on the people's liberation army is closer to $90 billion. even if that's a more accurate number, its proportion to the revenue of the atkins set is truly shocking.

wednesday, 29 march

quoted: i got nothing today.

my acquaintances are all famous: my friend allison D's mom is in a photo in the paper today, and the piece that the today show just did on swearing included a very short interview with somoeone i know. the problem: the show didn't say where they were interviewing people, and i can't remember how i know the guy. i would have initially guessed seattle or portland. certainly not england, but the shots looked like they were from clyde's, on M street. maybe he went to AU? GW? my memory is going in my old age.

i had the strangest dream last night: it involved printing my thesis at the chch library, picking up my gramma to go to lunch with her today, wheelchairing down a grassy hill in a park, past 3 bicyclists who were throwing cheeseburgers at a woman sitting at the bottom of the hill. hurrah for my subconscious.

i did actual work yesterday. and hopefully more today. and hopefully a bike ride, too. hopefully.

tuesday, 28 march

quoted: "someone is manipulating this game other than the teams" -mom

my brother complains that the updates are getting published far too late. that might be true, but i'm totally on home schedule by now, which means lazy mornings and lazier afternoons. highlight of the day (and almost as exciting as the $7 sweater): i got a kind-of free haircut today. this guy blaine who cuts my hair at weldon barber happens to be the hippest full time resident of spokane. he asked me to bring him back a man bag from england. i happily complied, despite not being altogether sure what a manbag was at the time. so i got him a £13 bag from h&m, and he paid for my $26 haircut today and didn't let me give him a tip. spokane really is the best place ever.

in other news, i spent almost the whole of yesterday avoiding work by watching the senate judiciary committee meetings on immigration reform. it was surprisingly non-partisan. it was also surprisingly similar to high school. sen. specter (R-PA), the chairman of the committee, was clearly losing patience with the seemingly endless stream of amendments, offered the committee members a short recess if they promised to come back. he sweetened the deal by offering to buy them pizza. it was C-Span at its finest.

monday, 27 march

quoted: "have you ever seen an old lady fall down?" -nordstrom escalator

so i was watching fox news this morning... don't ask why. it was six am and both c-spans let me down, while all the other news channels were at commercial break. anyway, they had the standard republican strategist/democratic strategist guests. it seems that even fox news has recently discovered republican vulnerability at the midterm elections... considering a 26/62 split on the right track/wrong track question, it's probably about time.

anyway, the republican strategist repeated the standard "the dems have no message" talking point. the dem strategist reminded viewers of the newt gingrich-inspired slogan: "had enough?". anyway, what got my goat was that the republican claimed that their 1994 midterm campaign was about their having a plan rather than about people being fed up with a lazy democratic incumbency in congress. his specific example: having been campaign manager for george nethercutt when he beat speaker of the house tom foley in 1994. but i remember that campaign, despite being 13. it was here in spokane, after all. nethercutt won because he said foley had lost touch with his constituents, and he pledged to retire after 3 terms in the house of representatives. then he went back on that 3 terms later. big surprise.

anyway, this made me think about rove & co's achilles heal: their tenacious belief in ideology. it is, after all, a problem they share with islamic extremists: both mistake the support (or resignation) they receive from their constituents is based on the population at large sharing their over the top ideologies, be they neoconservative or islamist. that, of course, is codswallop. groups who feel threatened, fearful, or powerless are generally inclined to cling to fundamentalism and the apparently strong leaders who espouse it. but fear and loathing cannot survive indefinitely, leaving those leaders three options: meet the expectations of the people, oppress the people, or get left behind.

for all the fear-mongering about the interminable war on terror, i think we'll find that terrorist actions will lose hold over the imaginations of people in the muslim nations of the near east as those people's fears subside. it's sorta like the whole gay marriage thing: in the winter of 2003-4, all the god-fearing christians in this great nation of mine convinced themselves that the sky was falling. they were so scared that the gays would go tempting every straight man out of his divinely-ordained state of matrimony into a same-sex "marriage"--the term always has to be in quotes, mind, or the gays have already won. but massachusetts still hasn't fallen into the bowels of hell en masse, and christian chicken little's cry of alarm is less effective every day. thank god.

wow. that was a long ramble. apologies. but head over to the new york times for more
evidence that the president was pretty darn intent on going to war. what a turkey.

ok. so i had a great experience yesterday. i went down to kinkos to print a copy of my thesis on some sort of fast laser printer. but when i got there it was 20 cents a minute to use the computer and 49 cents per page to print in black and white! so i left. anyway, i headed downtown to see if there was anything fun to buy. after disappointment at nordies, the gap, banana, and abercrombie, i found a supercool grey oscar de la renta cardigan at macy's. my parents say it's a grandpa sweater, but i'm pretty sure they're wrong. the little tag said $55. not unreasonable, right? well even better since the sign on the top of the rack read "50% off". $27.50 is an even better price. but when i got to the counter, i was informed that it was actually 50% off the previous sale price of 75% off. so the sweater came to $6.87, which my handy currency converter tells me is £3.93.

gosh i like spokane.

sunday, 26 march

quoted: "i don't feel like i have to toot" -mom

today is the 29th anniversary of my paternal grandfather's death. not that i was alive back then, but it does remind me that my mom was younger than i am now when her dad died. sad day.

i missed the feast of the annunciation. sorry. only 9 months until christmas!

now that gonzaga, georgetown, bc, and UW have all fallen by the wayside, the only team i have left to cheer for is villanova. go wildcats!

so this guy
jed conklin, who took a funny photograph of me for the spokane paper a couple years ago, just won an award from the national press photographers association: he's region 11 photographer of the year. as robert points out, though, region 11 includes BC and the yukon, which aren't technically part of the nation. we're just saying. nonetheless, i really like his photography. there's a narrated slideshow of it over at the S-R blog. check it out. apparently he does weddings. if only i were getting married.

finally, i would like to apologize to everyone i know for my negligence in responding to the backlog of personal emails i have. sorry sorry sorry. i'll get replies written soon. i hope.

friday, 24 march

quoted: "that's why i want to win: to show them how stupid and wrong they are." -godmother

and yet we lost. very disappointing game. let us speak no more of it. and let us look forward to the georgetown-florida and nova-bc games. the former is bound to cause a rift with joe. the latter will just be too too difficult to choose sides. brandon and tommy went to villanova, of course. but uncle steve and callie went/go to boston college. plus, it's jesuit. i'm torn.

twenty-six years ago today, salvadoran archbishop
oscar romero was gunned down in the middle of mass. he's featured on the west wall of westminster abbey among other twentieth-century martyrs.

thursday, 23 march

quoted: "i hate to sleep with clothes on" -channel 4

first things first: infinite congrats to my dear friend tom on getting into a PhD program. hurrah! but just in case anyone was keeping track, far two many of my friends are going to be dr-so-and-so. we'll go in the order that i met them: allison, becky (c), katie, bob, todd, tom, mary, mark, katie, christine, and ed. if we add my sister (mcat in a month: ack) and my cousins (karen, phil, angela and peter, christine, katie, maria, and austine), you'll see we're truly at doctor overload. or we'll see how dumb i am compared to my friends and family. either way.

exciting spokane news of the day: 50 cent is coming to film a movie here. with christina ricci. it makes one's head spin to contemplate the genre of movie that would put them side-by-side. other people are in it, too, but i forget them.

on to reader responses: christine agrees that ms knightley is annoying. and points out that she talks funny. bobbo reminded me that some people don't have the patience for the 5 hour bbc version. i think that's nonsense. it flies by. when you're a graduate student and you have plenty of knitting to do, anyway.

i've also been corrected: apparently it was the pilsbury (not betty crocker) bake-off. apologies.

i have to go get my teeth cleaned now. hurrah!

wednesday, 22 march

quoted: "i'm not sure we were supposed to show that before the watershed" -six nations

the cause of that comment was a naked french rugby player walking very slowly behind another french rugby player being interviewed in their locker room on the BBC. jack's quick-witted younger brother responded with "i wish they wouldn't show that ever". but poor england lost to ireland. sometimes i like to watch sports.

the bulldogs face the bruins tomorrow night in the sweet 16, btw. go zags.

i just watched the awards ceremony for the annual betty million dollar crocker bake-off. who knew such a thing existed? wonderful.

i watched the new pride and prejudice on the flight monday. in whole this time. and i know some of you will disagree, but it's simply awful. awful. the characters are all so two dimensional. the story line is choppy. everything feels so rushed. and therefore contrived. there were a few things that i did like, of course: the post-engagement discussion between lizzie and mr bennett was much better than the bbc one. and i thought the actor who played wickham was better suited to the image of him as a handsome, grasping would-be dandy. but he certainly did seem to be a minor character in this adaptation, didn't he? oh, and it was good to see a convincing homely version of charlotte lucas.

on the other hand, it would be difficult for me to list all the things i thought were awful. bingley comes off as a bumbling idiot. the original dialogue lacked austen's brilliance. in the end, i guess it all comes down to the problematic fact that keira is to jennifer ehle is as a rock is to an orange.

sunday, 12 march

quoted: "i would have f___ed that rooster up" -high street

today is rowan and bailey's 8th birthday, which must be very exciting for them, but it makes me feel awfully old. nevertheless: happy birthday, ladies!

speaking of ladies, i got to have dinner with gretchen (inter alia) last night at carluccio's. she reports that her first year at harvard med has made a huge dent in her alcohol consumption. then she regaled us with a story of chugging wine from a nalgene bottle in an ATM booth. perhaps just for contrast.

i got another amazing amount of work done yesterday. i also packed for a week in london and a month at home. i'm always afraid i've forgotten some category of clothing. like clearly i've forgotten any sweaters. but hopefully that won't get in the way of my editing like a mofo.

jack is recovering slowly from that horrific virus that's been going around...possibly the same one i had three or four weeks ago, which laid me out for whole days. that was rough. here's hoping he's recovered enough to enjoy my phat hotel room tonight.

now, since i'm going to london for a week, i beg that you'll forgive me for not updating until the 21st of march. i'm flying home on the 20th, which (for everyone keeping track at home) is the vernal equinox slash the first day of spring. hurrah!

saturday, 11 march

quoted: "i FELL in DIOR" -carrie. SaTC.

today is our very own oxford cowboy's birthday. many happy returns, mike!

the past 24 hours have been prety great. as of yesterday afternoon, i'm a confirmed bachelor reprobate doctoral student of the university of oxford. huzzah! for those uninitiated to the jargon associated with oxford, confirmation of status is one of three oral examinations designed to prove that doctoral candidates are both alive and capable of stringing together two consecutive sentances that make sense. other fun oxford terms include battels (pronounced like 'battles', meaning college bills), sub fusc (academic dress), leave to supplicate (the point at which they acknowledge you've earned your degree, which differs from actually taking that degree). there are more, but it's saturday morning, and i'm feeling lazy.

christ church, of course, needs to have a set of jargon that differs from that of other colleges. other colleges have deans (generally graduate students who look after discipline and the social welfare of the undergraduates). at christ church, the dean is the head of college (and cathedral), so we call them censors. and we don't let postgrads do it. more confusingly is the fact that "students" at chch actually means fellows (to differntiate them from the members of the governing body who are canons of the cathedral), which leaves the rest of us plebs to be...um...not students.

anyway, back to my lovely day: ed made me a delicious dinner (though he and his flatmate eat far too fast), and when i returned home, i had 2 (TWO!!) emails about panda bears. one from christine linking to a
woman who bribed someone into letting her hug a panda. even better was the email from susie with video of panda kindergarten i think if everyone in the world got to hug a panda once a month, there would be no more. then again, that's what they said about extending suffrage to women.

friday, 10 march

quoted: i got nothin today

so: short update this morning. apologies. i have confirmation of status viva today. but first laundry and more hours in the library. what a fun way to spend the final day of my next-to-last term at oxford. but then ed has kindly invited me to dinner, so that should be fun.

i had a dream last night about going to lunch with both my kindergarten teacher (with whom i share a birthday) and my 8th grade teacher (who was and i imagine still is fantabulous). very nice. ok. must get to work.

thursday, 9 march

happy 25th birthday, ian-julian!
quoted: "he can be...pernkickity" -supervisor

first things first: madonna's new video is pretty darn great. it involves a roller-disco, bare-chested men, dance-fighting AND (becky's favorite) a kid who dances real good. what more could one want. madonna herself looks remarkably good. for being 47. ack.

yesterday was the first day of spring: warm and rainy. in celebration, i had a two hour meeting with my supervisor. and by meeting i mean lunch at pierre victoire. i started with a goat cheese and asparagus omelette, followed by a duck confit. very pleasant.

today i'm going to start stressing about tomorrow's confirmation of status viva. and i'm going to spend most of the day in duke humfrey's library, transcribing data on aliens in elizabethan london into my computer. don't hate.

wednesday, 8 march

quoted: "what am i going to do in a submarine?" -the village people

as i was walking home from patrick's birthday party last night, i was passed by two young british women drunkenly singing "the day the music died". a crowd favorite, it always sort of reminds me of my junior year of high school when my friends ben and bekah shared a locker next door to me and brando. and then one day ben divorced bekah and she had to take all her stuff out of the locker. but that is neither here nor there. the music died on 3 february 1959. 1959! in case anyone is counting, that was 47 years, 1 month, and 5 days ago...or 17,200 days if you prefer to count that way. don mclean's song was released in 1971, twelve years after the crash. for perspective (i'm still young enough that 12 years seems like an incomprehensible period of time in the abstract), kurt cobain killed himself twelve years ago.

four years, however, is a period of time that i can wrap my mind around, and it's scary that four years ago, i was just getting back from visiting allison in england. has it been four years since i graduated from college? oxford has totally yoinked my youth, but it's given me plenty of black tie dinners. last night's was very nice. i sat across from two first year graduate students. i like this year's cohort at graduates at chch.

i had a dream two nights ago that i was back at seattle prep, in a PE class. they were making us play volleyball in teh new york subway system. with a basketball. it hurt a lot.

it's awfully rainy outside today. i have a meeting with my supervisor at noon, and then we're going to lunch. hopefully i'll get some good work done today, and ian will give me some tips on passing my confirmation of status viva, which is scheduled for friday.

tuesday, 7 march

happy 21st birthday, beckers!
quoted: "lesbians love me" -mandahouse

as ben pointed out at dinner last night, lexis nexis is not one of those optional online databases: it comes first, then jstor, then everything else. continued booing toward the university here.

my baby sister is 21 today. normally, my mom would kick her in the face, but not today. alas, becky's basketball team is still in playoff season, so no drinky drinking for her.

shannon pointed out an inaccuracy in sunday's quote of the day, so it has been corrected. many thanks! but there ends anything interesting i might have to say. i don't know why i'm so boring today. i do apologize. maybe i'm just hungry. i'll go solve that now.

monday, 6 march

quoted: from the early modern britain seminar
"if everything is representation, then taxation is representation, and clearly that's nonsense." -clive
"but is there room for taxation without representation?" -steve.

i'm still massively displeased about oxford cutting off my lexis nexis. mark put together a lovely lunch for me yesterday, and we should wish him happy trails today, as he becomes inexplicably ascetic in his quest to write the two final chapters of his D.Phil thesis.

this assertiveness thing seems to be working out well. suddenly i have an interview for a summer internship. only problem: it's in LA. which doesn't bode well for my finishing my thesis before september. but let's not count our proverbial chickens.

it's a massive work week. i have a meeting with my supervisor on wednesday and the viva for my confirmation of D.Phil status on friday. in between i have a seminar. I'm also having fiona, josh and ben around to dinner at chch tonight, and j patrick's birthday dinner tomorrow night. life is rough, and if jack would get up i'd totally make him breakfast and get to work. might take today off from the gym, though that will require that i stop stuffing my face with turkish delight.

i had a dream last night that i was driving around spokane with my parents, and we found a road that took us directly into covent garden. that was useful. then the dream slipped into an episode of
dead like me involving a bee sting and a house where the doors didn't fully fill the doorways.

sunday, 5 march

quoted: "i'm not a sissy liberal...i'm just sleepy" -satchel (aka me)

quick update today. CONGRATULATIONS to the little one for making staff at camp. my ideas for your camp name include bulldozer, attack mode, and bobb-orgasm (that last one might not be camp appropriate). yay! well done! while it will free up a car, the house will be so lonely without you this summer, bo. and you'll miss the beach? what what? sad day.

i finished reading the mill on the floss last night. i don't think it was half as good as middlemarch. i was left unconvinced by the way in which the relationship between maggie and stephen was developed. still i cried like a baby at the end, even though i knew what was coming. quotes are already up.

finally, before i head to the gym, if i read one more time that "President Bush has survived rough scrapes before...But last week there were signs that Mr. Bush's once limitless supply of political capital had few reserves left" i'm definitely going to vomit. vomit everywhere.

stop the presses: this stupid university has discontinued its subscription to the lexis nexis news service. GRRRRRRR. thank god i'm leaving in a term. this is too too shame-making. how am i supposed to get my fix of old news? i was totally going to point out previous instances of david kirkpatrick singing the president's political requiem precipitously, but now i can't. what is oxford coming to?

saturday, 4 march

quoted: "i had the strongest butt muscles after that trip" -jack

firstly, i should clear out the backlog of things that i keep forgetting to mention. it seems silly to complain about the snow now that we've had two sunny days in a row. so i won't. instead, i'll say that walking through the botanic gardens in heavy snowfall makes them even more beautiful than normal. i also neglected to mention that thursday was national book day, which i celebrated by visiting some libraries and extracting information from nine different books, published between 1811 and 2005. just barely missed the two century mark. very disappointing.

if democrats prove incapable of capitalising on the republican party's immense
idiocy in the midterm elections this november, it will be nobody's fault but their own. i've got two fail-safe talking points: fiscal responsibility and ending republican corruption. if the democrats can stick to those, frame the debate, and not get distracted by their own navels, we might get our country back on track sometime soon-ish.

today: breakfast, gym, libraries!

friday, 3 march

quoted: "chickens don't clap!" -buster

so i had totally been planning to use that quote today, which is from arrested development, the funniest show i've seen in ages. buster was angry at his brother gob for calling him a chicken, but immitating the bird badly. then i was delighted to stumble across this article on brokeback mountain spoofs in yesterday's NYT, which led me to this spoof. some families have never seen a chicken, as a clip about halfway through the spoof shows. hilarious.

there's an article in today's new york times about J J Redick (the duke basketball star to whom i'm wholly indifferent) and Adam Morrison, the gonzaga player whom i think is kinda jerky and has the ugliest facial hair i've ever seen. i'll be home for the latter half of march madness, you know.

unity dinner was fun and different last night. on account of christ church being able to keep it up (the power, i mean) for the second day in a row, college moved us at the last minute to a private room at malmaison, where the food was good (if in somewhat small portions), the service was attentive, and the bill ended up being rather less than it would have been in college. i've given up alcohol for lent, you know, so that's that.

it seems i'll be having my confirmation of status interview a week from today. scurry.

the bush administration is so thoroughly full of jerkfaces that i've become numb to their underhanded antics slash gross incompetence. examples from the national archives, the department of the interior, and that hurricane katrina travesty. the torture stuff still gets me worked up, though.

thursday, 2 march

quoted: "i said chlamydia, but quietly" -Qi. the club part.

in like a lion indeed! not only did it snow in oxford yesterday afternoon, but that snow is still around this morning! it isn't yet 7.30, but i'm still impressed. it's very sunny out, but my weather thing says its 23º, so i'm not gonna go outside for a little bit. it's back to the grindstone for me today after a rather intense interview yesterday. i think it went well, but i've always been the worst judge of these things. the woman who interviewed me was very intense...in a good way.

in rather unrelated news, i've decided to delay lent by a week this year. mostly because the rhodes shrove tuesday party was actually on ash wednesday, making the whole fast and abstinence thing tough. then i have unity dinner tonight, ben's birthday party tomorrow night, thea's graduation saturday, and JP's birthday next tuesday. so i'll start not drinking next wednesday. a also ate meat yesterday, both when jack took me for post-interview lunch at peter jones, and also at rho.ho, where they served the best chilli i've had in england. both
john hood and sir colin lucas came and sat with me and katie.

later, sue joined us, and we chatted about how oxford has made us shadows of our former selves. so i've developed a lenten resolution: to be more assertive slash less self-deprecating. deal? deal.

after pancakes, tamson dragged me to qi to test out her new board game, which was brilliant. and that was my ash wednesday.

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