Monday, October 3

Buckling up some swash.

Apologies for not writing sooner, but the days go by like buddah here. Also, my camera broke*, and I was feeling guilty about not having any real visuals for you. But I figured I'd go for a quick text update... Here are the juicy bits of the last week (the way I'm doing the dates is the way they write them in Britain. Backwardsish, eh?):

*It is unknown whether my camera is actually mechanically/electronically broken, but it won't turn on for longer than 2 seconds when I put in new batteries. I hope this does not mean our good friend the camera will be the cause of many a wordy blog entry...

26/9/05 (Last Monday): I went to Julius Caesar at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, with Patti! Good times, although I was late unintentionally, and am quite worried she thinks I'm a bit of a chronologically troubled youth. The concept of Caesar was great, very modernised, but the acting was a bit dry (Patti says: what is it about modernizing Shakespeare that always translates to men in leather business jackets?) Other than that, pretty much scrambled to put together my Frankenstein research paper. It ended up alright--it's about how the monster shatters the narrative of Victor Frankenstein by speaking eloquently, and how that effects the novel. Also, about the duality of the origin story of the monster in comparison to the dual origin story situation in the bible. I didn't sleep monday night, needless to say.

27/9/05 (Last tuesday): Handed in the paper, had to get started on my presentation on Collins' The Moonstone as a sensation novel, and how that worked into the detective novel. Very rushed to get that over with. Plus, I was on my 48th hour at this point, so, a bit knackered. 3 hours of sleep.

28/9/05 (Last wednesday): Handed in my reviews of Julius Caesar and Harvest.I'll post them as soon as possible. Also, my professor mentioned my review in class and asked me about my writing it, the way he does with things that catch his eye! I'll try to get it up here soon, but no promises. I've been waiting for this, and I was proud, but I sort of felt at the end that it was less judgemental and more random who he mentioned. But still, I think my review writing skills are improved. I always try to show a "moment" from the play, like they do in the papers, because it's useful for conveying emotion, and the atmosphere of the play--which can make it a more balanced review if you've got a lot of intellectual things to say. Anyway, also gave my presentation. Rather interesting stuff, but the presentation went as such that I wasn't really sure if I had said anything worthwhile at the end. I think it was mostly because I was nervous, as a result of A) Me not doing many presentations recently and B) Me not having spent enough time preparing for it. You know how people tell you a presentation was fine, but you don't beleive them? It was like that. I got lots of sleep wednesday night. Word.

29/9/05 (Last Thursday): Read a bunch. Pretty much didn't leave the room. But, to even it out, I made banana bread from scratch! Big accomplishment for me. I have pictures of what was left of it, which I think really captured how successful it was, but...alas, the moon is in the seventh house on that.

30/9/05 (Last Friday): I went to Brighton, known as London by the sea, and had a tour the Royal Pavilion in the center of the city, as seen right here. Also, it was getting kind of cold, but I did go swimming, as I wasn't going to let this side of the Atlantic get away so easily. Thanks to Liz for taking the pictures (at this point, my camera was broken), I'll definitely have some visuals soon enough on this! I can still scan, ye damnable gods of silicon! Aside from that, I had a great day, having packed myself a lunch in my new tupperware from Woolworths (They're like Odd Job or Christmas Tree Shoppes for most of your guys in the US), and got a bunch of reading done. I did learn some Greek dancing from my friends Nikki and Kosta at night; however, I'm not going to talk about that until I have a signature move. Right now I Greek dance like a club-footed drunken bunny rabbit. No pictures of this, so don't ask. Cheers!
30 days have september, april, june and ohh.... I always miss it at the beginning there.
1/10/05 (Saturday): I spent most of this day reading. But then, at night, I went to the English National Opera (ENO) and saw The Bitter Tears Of Petra Von Kant, my first somewhat classical opera! It was in English (with supertitles above the stage), and apparently taken from a film, which was originally taken from a stage play. I found it hard to appreciate how abrasive the music was in comparison to the singing, it wasn't meant to harmonize at all, but it certainly worked. Everything was meant to be very 1970s gawdy, so the set was a little like Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. Mix that with the weird Lolita-esque plot, and you've got yourself one ugly/delicious to watch opera cake. Speaking of cakes, there were none at this party I went to in my dorm afterwards, but I did have some of what is known as "jungle juice" for the first time. That stuff is serious.

2/10/05 (Yesterday): Big day including viewing the new Studio Ghibli film Howl's Moving Castle, and going to another GoodBooks concert, both with Ollie. The film was a bit weird, and while I'd advise you see it strictly on the principal that Ghibli is my favorite movie studio and it's an extremely pretty animation, it's a bit sinister at times. Half of the movie is this kind of very new age Disney flick garnished with Japanese/Victorian culture, and the other half is this kind of creepy sci fi war movie that seems reminiscent of Hiroshima. I know this is a horrible thing to say, but at ttimes, it's like the people who wrote the movie were trying to show children what Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have been like if it had been western culture. Maybe it's the movie trying to express something similar to a moral like "when you hurt others, you're hurting yourself", but I'm not sure. The point is that the movie didn't really resolve any of the problems it addresses outside of the just kind of ended. Anyway, I think it's a really good rental. Not as good as Princess Mononoke or Spirited Away, though. I did enjoy going to the concert afterwards with Ollie as well, although GoodBooks played most of the same songs. I've learned a lot about the professional dynamic and problems of being in a band from going to this show and the last one. There's not much I can say as I'm so far away from actually participating in band culture as it is, but basically my opinion is that to sign with a record label when you're young, as GoodBooks has done, is a career decision made in a time when you really don't know anything about what you want out of your career--hence, a high chance of unhappiness. This kind of plays into my worries about careers, which I'll expand on later, as I want as much feedback on it as possible.

Now we're talking about last night: After Ollie and I got back we made some Spinach pie that was rather successful in going from ad lib idea to execution, some tiny apple pies, played some chess, and Ollie slept on the couch (It's a rather deluxe couch). I tried to read a little, but fell asleep. The book (Baumgartner's Bombay, reading it for Postcolonial Lit, about a German Jew in India, very surreal) fell out of my hand, and I found it on the floor in the morning.

3/10/05 (Today, Monday again): Woke up this morning, watched some thirty seconds of British news TV while we ate breakfast, and then walked with Ollie to the British National History Museum. That place is amazing, and pictures will definitely be taken when I go back the second and third times. We went to see the marble parthenon statues, and walked briefly by the Rosetta Stone (HAH! That's what I did this morning). I had to say goodbye for the time being, as I've got loads of homework to do. He's stayed on with his sandwiches in the museum. I've come here, to Bedford Square, to do homework and update the blog. Here I sit. A quick found poem (your comments appreciated, guess where it's from), and I'm off to the races again:


is an area
of Greece, traditionally associated
with an unspoilt
rural paradise.

In this print, Finlay
draws an iconic parallel
between this idea
of a natural paradise
and the camoflauge patterns
on a tank.

There is also
an echo of the Latin phrase
'Et Arcadia', used
by the seventeenth-century French artist
Nicolas Poussin, in a painting of
a group of shepherds,
a tomb.

Like Pouissin,
Finlay reminds us
that death
is present everywhere, even
in paradise.

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