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saturday, 24 june

quoted: "that tastes coloured" -jeremy

reminiscing about oxford: dinner with a justice of the south african supreme court of appeal. what an opportunity...i almost feel as if i missed it, but clearly i didn't. hurrah.

even at its worst, oxford is lovely. even at its saddest, oxford is candy land. and now i'm leaving. i feel as if i underappreciated this amazing place for 3 years now. i know i didn't, but it feels that way. all the smells. all the sights. all the people. if i had it to do over again, i would. only i'd spend more time meeting strangers, because (although i'm scared of them) they really are rather lovely.

mark teased me and christine about the quality of chch balls at lunch yesterday. i walked past the magdalen ball on my way back from rhodes house. those particle-board signs = sad. very sad. and forcing guests to queue on the high street = totally naff. i'm just saying...

the farther you get...the closer to me.

going down dinner (at rho.ho) was lovely. absolutely wonderful. i got to talk to chesa for a long time...longer than any time since sailing weekend in DC (in september 2003). he's great. i hope he gets a good job. cali or london. but i hope he doesn't pass out of my life for good.

i had other interesting things to say, but now it's time for me to climb onto an airplane. perhaps another time.

friday, 23 june

quoted: "she kisses everyone on the lips. you probably have herpes." -jack

reminiscing about oxford: first night in oxford, wandering bleary-eyed among the dreaming spires with a sizable portion of my rhodes class. we made a great oxford newbie mistake: going to maxwells. that was one awful hamburger. if only it had been chiang mai.

the meeting with the supervisor went well yesterday. i got him hooked on endnote, and hopefully did a decent job at explaining its primary features. he convinced me that there really does need to be a map of the city of london showing its liberties. that can go in the introduction. now i'm not a fan of overly elaborate non-verbal thesis content, but i think a map and a few tables help keep people's interest. the meeting unfortunately reminded me of just how much work i have to do while i'm in spokane this summer. sigh.

last full day in oxford. definitely a bit sad. and a full day it is, too. i had had good intentions to hit up the gym, but now i'm thinking i might be better advised to go about my other business. i have quite a lot of work to get done, for one thing. packing and shoving things in locking cupboards. lunch with ed, christine and mark (three of my favorite oxford survivors) at 12.30, and sometime in the afternoon, there are apparently other fun things to with departing rhodies. going down dinner is tonight, and i've resolved not to be so hung over tomorrow as i was after coming up dinner (which, shockingly, was on 31 october 2003). how have i been in england for 3 years?

where am i going? why am i in this handbasket?

garden party at rho.ho yesterday, followed by kathleen's 25th birthday party in the port meadow on the banks of the isis. a wonderful way to spend a summer evening in oxford.

bucky, by the way,
remains unconvinced of england's existence.

thursday, 22 june

quoted: "we're not very good at controlling that" -christine

reminiscing about oxford: the fact that i've actually learned to be a pretty good historian. tricksy.

i don't mean to be a killjoy, but you know the days only get shorter from here on out. kinda depressing, really. the bodleian was closed yesterday. closed! not that it really mattered that much. i'm totally out of practice on this working thing. i spent almost three hours in starbucks yesterday, and all i have to show for it is a somewhat incoherent attempt at a conclusion. sigh.

it is thursday. i tried to buy padlocks yesterday for to lock up my stuff in my room over the summer, but i didn't buy big enough ones, so i have to walk all the way back to robert dyas today to exchange them. grr. and then i guess i really do have to pack sometime.

when did i become so boring? i've been doing quite a lot of social stuff, i'm just feeling totally flat on describing it with wit or poise. maybe after the beach. which reminds me i'm leaving for the US on saturday around midday, so tomorrow will probably be the last update until july. hurrah for family vacation.

wednesday, 21 june

happy summer solstice!
quoted: "it tastes like eating flowers..." (me) "...or a urinal cake" (andrew)

reminiscing about oxford: my 25th birthday: from the wolseley to the four seasons (chinese, not hotel) to drinking way too much wine in the kitchen and talking to the wee hours.

i can't get ani difranco's "school night" out of my head. speaking of my noggin, i think it's getting larger and/or more defenseless. i've been bumping it on more stuff than usual lately. doors, cabinets, bookshelves, drawers, refrigerators. nothing seems safe from concussing me in recent days.

after an emotionally exhausting day, might i advise you all against watching
mysterious skin, a well made but extermely depressing film about the sexual abuse of children.

yesterday's get fuzzy declared that england is far too silly a place to be real. which begs the question of where i've been for the past three years.

there's an article in the new york times about topshop scouting locations for a new york store. topshop and i are not good friends, but i always find cross-pond retail intriguing.

monday, 19 june

happy fathers' day (one day late)!
quoted: "what was the word? love meat!" -lydia last night

reminiscing about oxford: the fact that over dinner people can say things like, "but nobody really likes lord buckhurst" and be completely serious (and not necesarily a jerk).

mediterranean peoples are craaaaaazy. in a very very good way. after a weekend of huge meals (lime friday night, cafe violeta and canfield moat saturday, and carluccio's and the four seasons yesterday) it was absolutely shocking that the greeks thought i could put back my fair share of moussaka. but i did. red wine too.

the weekend was good. met raoul and a couple of his university friends for coffee yesterday morning. one of them mentioned that in her family they never do anything for fathers' day because her mother doesn't believe in it. which prompted me to say that henceforth i don't believe in anyonoe else's birthdays. just my own. her mother's theory was that fathers' day was invented by greeting card companies. i personally would be more inclined to pin it on the golf industry if i didn't know for a fact that
fathers' day began in spokane, washington.

the post 9/11 blues is surprisingly catchy. and this riz mc is a chch grad. of course.

gotta get to the gym so that i can get back and get my storage stuff out of my life until... october? gosh!

friday, 16 june

quoted: "be glad you're not jewish" -pink giraffe

reminiscing about oxford: all the garden parties over the past three years that have made strawberries a staple of my summer diet, and the fact that champagne bottles are the most common litter in trinity term.

you know that moment when you first hear a musician for the first time, and you can tell almost instantly that will soon know all the words to that and every other of his songs? it's a nice feeling.

do you know why i like linen? for the same reason my mother hates it: the wrinkles. i was walking down high street yesterday and saw a store display that involved a linen shirt. and of course it was wrinkled. because even in a store, where the clothing doesn't move, linen wrinkles. that's what it does. but there's still nothing as nice as putting on freshly pressed linen. it's so smooth. contrast makes everything better, even wrinkles.

today: lunch with yannis, rssaf garden party, then to london for the night, followed by canfield moat tomorrow and then (sometime) back to the ox for one last week. tear.

thursday, 15 june

quoted: "i quite like mouths" -trevor (but i don't remember who that is)

reminiscing about oxford: underwear party at St John's in first year. gretchen getting trashed and locking herself in the bathroom accidentally. getting hit on by straight guys.

i'm not hung over today. just negligent. i didn't sleep well, the inconsiderate flatmate had another party in her room...without closing her door. on the plus side, considerate flatmate came back from africa (south america?) today, so that's exciting.

i'm frightfully boring today. working on the introduction (i think it's really really good, if i do say so myself) and hopefully going to the gym here before too long. then its the going down party at the deanery, a GCR barbecue, and all-you-care-to-consume MSG'ed chinese food at pink giraffe with andrew. i'm looking forward to it.

wednesday, 14 june

quoted: "i got to come in the end" -sean

reminiscing about oxford: first year steam room conversations with jeremy, who is far far away in brooklyn now.

i've decided i really like that new song by bob sinclair, "world, hold on". it's stuck in my head right now, and i'm not complaining. mildly hung over yesterday. well, very hung over at 9 am, and fine after a three hour-floor nap until noon. despite no longer being in the job market, i went to the careers fair in the afternoon with jack and raoul (mostly to see the fit doorman...i think he's from the rugby squad. i'm sure i've seen him somewhere before). then to london (via heathrow, strangely) for dinner at royal china. mmmmmm. so delicious.

i spent the later bits of the evening working in bed (no. really) on the introduction to the monster thesis. after i take a shower and run some errands, i'm going to keep working on it, hopefully making it a proper chapter by nightfall. ed is coming around to chch for (edible?) dinner tonight, and then i'm heading toward the d of c for a cocktail. just one, though, because i want to hit up the gym tomorrow morning again.

there was an interesting article in yesterday's NYT/IHT about
google's not-so-very secret weapon, a date center in the dalles. american readers will remember the dalles from years and years of playing the oregon trail. turns out yahoo and microsoft are also building data centers on the banks of the columbia river, but farther upstream in washington (the best state in the union).

monday, 12 june

belated happy birthday, stephen!
quoted: "guess who tried to befriend me? the dirty swede!" -christine

reminiscing about oxford: afternoons in the master's garden or the botanic garden. long summer evenings in the liddell quad or peck. the moon rising over hall. seeing and doing all these things with great people.

why do all the boys in oxford have awful farmer tans? there were three guys at the gym this morning in tank tops, and every single one of them had the red neck and lower arms of someone whose job occurs outdoors.

the walk to the gym today smelled like
the beach, where i'll be lazing two weeks from today. i'm not sure if it was a certain type of tree, or just the smell of driness in a place where it's wet eight or nine months a year, but it made me look forward to 10th week (i probably have to stop numbering my weeks now that i'm leaving oxford. sad day).

also, everyone on a social networking site should read this article from yesterday's new york times.

saturday, 10 june

happy birthday, gordy!
quoted: "i hate watching men get crabs" -mom, via little brother

reminiscing about oxford: forget the three martini lunch; try the two bottle of wine lunch. definitely a favorite of mine.

well, london was quite nice. i had to drag two moderately large suitcases down there on wednesday, which is always a bit of a pain. but now my room is slowly emptying of things. i'm hoping to get the stuff for storage out by wednesday. maybe even tuesday. it will be great.

matt finished his exams yesterday, so after getting back from london i spent most of the afternoon lying about in the master's garden getting sun and thinking about having a picnic, which we accordingly had in the evening. then we watched television (rare, i know)...a show called buildings that shaped britain. it included christ church (and new college and the divinity school) as some of the best non-religious examples of gothic architecture in england.

my presentation at the IHR was, on the whole, good. reading the paper wasn't so great, but i really enjoyed the question and answer period afterwards, and the dinner. it was great to finally meet some of the london historians whose work i'm constantly reading.

i've run out of razor heads, so i think i'm just going to suffer under clippers and stubble until i go home. partially because i'm lazy, forgetful and cheap, but mostly because i think i look good with stubble. i may only think that for the former three reasons, though. who knows?

wednesday, 7 june

quoted: "what's that book? facebook!" -sean's barbecue sunday

reminiscing about oxford: how much i enjoyed seb and tash's wedding, even though i was sicker than a dog and had to sleep on the floor of the dampest cottage ever (in a village called briantspuddle).

short update today. i'm a tad overbooked, and heading to london in the evening. presenting this paper at the IHR tomorrow, which is scurry, and simultaneously trying to sort all my earthly belongings into four groups (going home, locking in the room, storing at jack's, and storing far away). i have a ridiculous amount of stuff to do today before i head out, so i'll say more on saturday.

tuesday, 6 june

quoted: "i will make a trip to canada for fries. and i am not a fat kid" -beckers

reminiscing about oxford: watching the general election in the upstairs flat's scantily-clad-man-clad kitchen. lara's confusion over conservative the adjective and conservative the party.

history society dinner was a lot of fun last night. except then i had history dreams all night. which is to say i didn't sleep all that well. not nearly as much fun as two nights ago, when i had a dream about a talking mokey king on the banks of the ganges, who had an army of spear-wielding monkey followers. let me tell you, that was a cool dream.

my room is a pit. it must be cleaned today.

meeting with the supervisor wasn't all bad. terrifying, but really good advice. i only made two or three awful gaffes in the draft, which are easily fixable. and i need to comb through it to work out where to say certain things so that i don't repeat myself. on that note, i should get to work. two long days in oxford should get a lot of the work done, and then i'm in london from tomorrow evening through friday around noon, so i can go to the BL and the GL that day.

monday, 5 june

happy 25th birthday, mike!!
quoted: "i love men" -greg's birthday party

reminiscing about oxford: pink drinks, monday, 1st week, michaelmas term 2003. somerville and OFS. best night out. EVER.

as you may have guessed, yesterday was a hangover day. barbecues followed by birthday parties are very dangerous. i really need to remember to drink water between alcoholic beverages. and not eat 3 hamburgers and 4 sausages. on the other hand, i did manage to make some final tweaks to the paper i'm presenting at the IHR on thursday. i read it out loud just now for the first time. i'm at 28 minutes (it's supposed to be 25 minutes), but that was with me making marks when i needed to change something every few paragraphs. so i should be fine.

yesterday i went to evensong at new college, where my friend mark gave a wonderful sermon on the importance of the pentecost to progressive christianity. very very good. and then i met christine for dinner at chiang mai. what a lovely evening it was.

i got the 2nd draft of my thesis back from my supervisor today. i'm meeting with him in a few hours to discuss it. i haven't actually looked through the comments yet, but i must do so shortly. hopefully i'm not in too much trouble. time is limited. also tonight: ChCh history society black tie dinner. hurrah. and the weather is lovely. so far, at least.

saturday, 3 june

quoted: "i don't like free stuff" -andrea

reminiscing about oxford: the black tie walk of shame. oxford is the natural habitat of this elusive creature. anywhere else in the world, the poor soul forced to find his way home in a dinner jacket the morning after would no doubt opt for a taxi ride of shame. but not in oxford.

i head home three weeks from today, so i figure now is as good a time as any to start getting nostalgic about the three years i've spent at oxford. they've been...interesting. good, definitely, but less meaty than my undergrad days. i've changed, i know, but it doesn't seem as drastic as during my three years at georgetown.

anyway, on to the update. the super nerdy thing i did on thursday: i saw the
river fleet. really. the river used to run from hampstead, entering the river thames at about the point where blackfriars bridge now stands. it was arched over during the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but there is a manhole cover in ray street, near its intersection with farringdon road, through which you can see and hear the fleet running beneath the streets of central london.

yes, i'm a nerd.

thursday, 1 june

quoted: "if i come out do you think my hair will be a problem" -iffley road

i'm heading to london in a few minutes, so there is unlikely to be an update tomorrow. there's an article in today's new york times about the declining acceptability of hitting on people at the gym. apparently no one at the canary wharf holmes place got the memo.

i was lying in bed today listening to music and i realised how little my musical tastes have changed in recent years. i'm not quite at the point of becoming a grouchy old man who refuses to listen to new music...yet. and i won't say i dislike my whoopty music, but the staples of my musical tastes (dar williams, ani difranco, ben harper) have all been serenading me for eight or more years now. scary thought. my cousin maria introduced me to the first two, and my friend justin introduced me to the last one. i'm definitely thankful.

ok. i must be off. happy june! and congrats to jack on finishing his last exam!

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