Friday, October 31, 2008

Episode 39: Quantum Of Solace

Just got back from Tesco, where I bought quite a lot of stuff. It's a good thing Westwood's so nearby! I think I've enough food to last me for at least the first half of Reading Week. Am so glad that I'm finally going to get a break because I really need to catch up on my reading. Borrowed a nice stack of poetry collections from the Library today after my EN121 seminar, which I basically dozed my way through. First time I've ever been so tired! Spent the entire night agonising over my EN122 essay, so I didn't actually get any sleep. Once I got past 3 am, I pretty much figured I wasn't going to be under the covers at all. This really must not be repeated for the EN123 essay or the EN124 portfolio! Will be a good boy and do my work in a timely fashion. Caught the new Bond movie in Coventry with Chloe, Jerrick, Michelle and Yee Hung. I thought it was okay, although it was quite tame, I felt, for a Bond movie. I mean, only one sex scene? No romantic entanglements? Without that, what's there to set a Bond flick apart from the rest of Hollywood's output?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Episode 38: I Hate You, Allen Ginsberg

Was supposed to go to a Bible study with Chernise, but I had to back out because otherwise I'd never finish my essay by tomorrow, 3 pm. Felt a bit silly today, as I discovered that I actually didn't need to finish writing that French essay I spent a few hours on yesterday. It was actually meant to be this week's homework. Oh well. C'est la vie. I'm currently a quarter of the way through my 'Howl' essay, judging by word count, and I keep encountering mental roadblocks. I think it's because I'm trying too hard to get everything right, when the first unassessed essay is really the perfect time to make mistakes. Quite a few of my coursemates are also agonising over either their commentary for EN121 or their essay for EN122, so that makes me feel less alone. Anyway, the experience of writing this essay has made me realise that I actually don't like 'Howl' very much. It's okay the first few times that you read it, and I've been picking out some stuff that is definitely good close reading, but I find it very tedious to make my impressions of the poem cohere! So yeah, I hate Allen Ginsberg now. I don't think I'll be getting any sleep tonight at this rate...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Episode 37: I'm Actually Doing Work!

Have managed to finish both the French essay and the EN121 commentary. I'm not entirely sure if the latter's actually what I'm supposed to be producing, but I figure I can't have screwed up too badly. When you take into consideration that I haven't even read Sir Gawain And The Green Knight, that's saying a lot. Completely forgot that I was supposed to go research literary magazines for today's session for The Warwick Review, so I ended up sitting in the room and keeping my mouth shut the entire time. Well, until the very end when we got to read some submissions and talk about them. I didn't really like most of the poems in my lot! Too much telling is what I would say about them. Had our last EN124 seminar for poetry, so now it's time to start thinking about producing that portfolio for after Reading Week. I'm a bit perplexed by what to do about the commentary portion though. Comment on the process of writing these poems? Not really something I consciously reflect on very often, I'll admit. I did get to read out one of my poems today, and decided to chop off the last two lines on the spur of the moment, which proved to be a wise decision. I don't think it's the best thing I've ever written, as that label still goes to 'Another Night On The Patio' for its ability to sound effortless when a lot of it is rather quite contrived, as well as having the most kickass opening lines I've ever penned. This poem I read out isn't too shabby though. I think I do sarcasm passably well, even in my poetry. Haha...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Episode 36: Snow In October?!

Was ridiculously late for my language class today. I was going to head to The Learning Grid to print out my translation, then realised that I'd left my wallet back in my room, just as I reached University House. So I had to walk all the way back. Then I realised that I'd forgotten to e-mail the translation to myself, so I had to go to class empty-handed. This was possibly the worst morning of my university life so far. The horrid morning, however, was redeemed by an amazing lecture delivered by Amanda on Fitt 4 of Sir Gawain And The Green Knight. Definitely the best lecture of the four I've had on this poem, and the only one that actually made me want to read the damn thing. Am now rushing French homework so that I don't have to skip the class on Thursday. Then I'm going to start on either my 'Howl' essay or the commentary on the Fitt 2 passage. Probably the former, as my brain isn't functioning well enough to tackle Middle English. By the way, it snowed in the afternoon today. Yeah, like real snow. In October. Freakish weather, but it was pretty awesome. Well, it was more awesome in an abstract sort of way, since walking back from my seminar in the falling snow was much less exciting than it sounds. Try freezing cold! I need to get a pair of gloves soon...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Episode 35: Back In Warwick, Trying To Work

Got approached by a lady from the Anglo-Iranian Youth Association, asking me to contribute to their cause. As much as I believe in the work she's doing, I couldn't bring myself to commit as heavily as making monthly contributions, but I didn't want to totally brush her off either. Ended up giving £10 as a token sum. I know, insane, and she could have been out to con me. Well, I don't know, but for me, that isn't such a big issue? I guess I'm still a bit naïve and I like to think that the world still has good people in it. She almost made me late for my coach though! There was a pretty scary guy who got on the coach just before we set off. I think he wanted a window seat, but they were all taken by then. So he just stood there for a while, cursing and swearing under his breath. It was quite disturbing! Spent most of the journey listening to my iPod because I couldn't be bothered to reach into my bag to fish out a book to read, although I really should have tried to finish Syncopations. Guess I'll read it during Reading Week? Have tried to start on my work, but it's just not happening. Looks like I'll be burning the midnight oil on Thursday, except this time, it's two essays at once, so unless I finish one of them by Wednesday, I have no bloody idea how I'll pull it off. Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Episode 34: Matins At Westminster Abbey

Convinced my dad to go to the matins at Westminster Abbey instead of going to All Souls Church, partly because the former's nearer and this way, we got to see the inside without paying the entrance fee like the other tourists. Seems like there were quite a few people who had the same idea as us. The service was interesting. Very liturgical. The lay choir came in, and most of the singing was done by them, except for a congregational hymn towards the end. The sermon was incredibly short and sharp. Altogether a rather inspiring experience! It's a very different feeling from what you get when attending a contemporary worship service. More solemn and stately is the best way that I can think to describe it. I mean, the moment I stepped into the building, I felt like I just had to keep quiet, and if I absolutely had to say anything, to whisper. It's a psychological association, I think, which a lot of people share where old buildings are concerned. Anyway, the building's really magnificent, and I think stained glass is really beautiful and more churches should incorporate it into their architecture.

Headed back to the hotel to check out, and then took a cab down to the French Connection store to get my belts exchanged. (They were one size too large for me, even though they're labelled as size 32. Maybe I really am smaller than a size 32 now?) That worked out okay, and I picked up a few more basic tees too, so it's time to try out some new layered outfits when I get back to Warwick. Cabbed once again (because it was raining and my bags were heavy) to meet Shou Jie to leave my stuff at his place, where I'm crashing on the floor for one night. Then I decided to save my dad some money, so we took the Tube to Covent Garden. Got fish and chips at some restaurant, which was okay, although it had quite a few bones in it. We walked around Covent Garden Market for a while, but didn't buy anything. I made sure he knew how to get on the right train to Heathrow, then I went off to meet Eugene across the Thames. He brought me to Le Pain Quotidien, which supposedly has wireless Internet, but it wasn't working today, so I wound up working on my poems for Wednesday. Don't think they're that good, but oh well...

Hung around at Le Pain Quotidien until it was time to meet the MOE people for dinner. Quite a few showed up, thanks Jared for organising! We had dinner at Garfunkel's, which Eugene said serves good drinks, but we all thought that the food and service sucked. I had an omelette made with four eggs, which tasted okay, but certainly was nowhere near being worth the money I paid for it. Maybe if I'd ordered dessert, I'd have been more satisfied because the desserts looked pretty good, on paper anyway. Caught up with the MOE people, and they seem to be having fun in London. I walked around for a bit after dinner, from Leicester Square to Big Ben, and then took the Tube back to Charing Cross after I got a text from Shou Jie. So I headed back to his room, where I'm now sitting and reading more of Syncopations. It's interesting stuff, although I think it isn't going to be very useful for the purpose that I borrowed it for, which was to help with my 'Howl' essay. Thankfully, I've found quite a few journal articles through Google Scholar that should be of great help. I've also planned out an essay outline! Incredible. I've never even done that for anything in JC!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Episode 33: Walking Around London (Is Very Tiring Indeed)

Am currently slaving over my Fitt 4 passages for translation. I spent most of the day doing a walking tour of central London with my dad. We left the hotel after breakfast and headed towards Buckingham Palace. Didn't get to see the actual changing of the guards, just a few of them relieving a few others. Took lots of pictures of the area though. Then we took a stroll through St James's Park, where I tried taking pictures of the squirrels, with varying degrees of success. Damn things scurry about too quickly! We saw Big Ben too, and snapped countless shots of it. Reason? It's well nigh impossible to take a good shot of Big Ben, by which I mean a photograph that captures the correct colours. Despite it being a relatively sunny day, the camera just couldn't seem to capture enough light to make the picture turn out right. I swear it's a ploy to get tourists to buy postcards of Big Ben. Then we made our way past Westminster Abbey. Didn't pay to look around the inside though. After all this sightseeing, I've come to the conclusion that while London has much architecture and landscaped greenery to admire, the problem is that it's juxtaposed with too much grit and grime. That and there's just too many other people playing tourist for you to actually enjoy the sights! We also sat on the London Eye, which was okay. The view's good, but the palette it draws from is a little too drab for my liking.

Had lunch at some roadside cafe, which wasn't that nice. Afternoon tea in the hotel was much better! I had a traditional English tea, so it was like three platters of awesomeness. Have I mentioned how I love meringues? I'm not so enamoured of scones, although the cream they were served with certainly met with my dad's approval. The tea I had was chocolate tea, which is made by dissolving white chocolate in black tea. The result actually does have a hint of chocolate to it, and is very aromatic too. Definitely something worth trying to make on your own. We went down to Harrod's, which was a depressing experience for me because I couldn't afford anything in there, other than a few tins of biscuits. It's insane. One jacket there is worth more than one month of my allowance. Granted, I was looking at Zegna. Ended up buying some biscuits to bring back to Warwick, and then I headed down the road to Zara. Saw some stuff that would have been okay to buy since my dad was paying, but I decided to walk further down to French Connection instead. Good move there, as I picked up a really nice jacket! Flattering cut, unlike what was sold at Gap, and suited for winter too. Happiness, at the moment anyway, is embodied by my French Connection jacket.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Episode 32: I'm In London!

Crap. Didn't manage to use up all of my SMSes from the Vodaphone text pack that I bought last month. What a waste! Over the last few days, I actually took to texting people for the lamest reasons, but still had more than 100 left as of last night. Oh well. Managed to sort out my OMR problem, which had been causing me much concern since yesterday. The fiasco basically ends with me not getting my refund, as the department won't let me take five modules after all. Part of me thinks I should have taken LL208 for credit and audited EN123, since the workload would definitely be easier to handle that way. I figured MOE wouldn't be too pleased with that though, so I decided to be an overachieving Singaporean and stick with the heavier workload. Sigh. I hope I don't regret it by the end of the year! I'm seriously considering skipping next week's lesson for LL208, if I can't finish my essays for EN121 and EN122, since that would mean I won't have time to do my French homework anyway. We'll see how it goes, I guess.

Anyway, the coach ride to London was uneventful. I started reading James Campbell's Syncopations, and I also didn't get lost after getting off the coach! Was mildly perplexed by the ticketing system for the trains, but that's all good now. Hadn't realised how much I missed taking the MRT! The London Underground is grittier, and more prone to interruptions in its services, but at least when things are running smoothly, the trains arrive at greater frequencies than in Singapore, which is pretty much the only complaint Singaporeans seem to have about it anyway. The zoning system is also quite sensible, and Singapore should definitely consider incorporating that in some form into the MRT network's pricing scheme. Met up with Shou Jie, who gave me a quick walking tour of the parts of central London around where he lives. They were showing a silent film in Trafalgar Square, with live musical accompaniment. Shou Jie and I found it a little hard to imagine that people from a bygone era were actually entertained by silent films though. I suppose the novelty of moving images on a screen was enough for a more innocent age?

Claudia invited the two of us over for dinner, three courses. The paella was nice, but the dessert was incredible. Dates in a coffee sauce, served with yoghurt on the side. Scrumptious stuff, and according to Claudia, really easy to make. Maybe when I start cooking, I should work backwards from dessert. Haha! It's always nice to catch up with people, so hopefully, I'll be able to meet some of the MOE people over the weekend too. Sat in her kitchen and chatted for a few hours, until my dad got worried and started texting me to check that I was fine. I'll admit, taking the Tube so late at night was a bit unnerving, but it was trying to find The Rubens that was the tough part. Well, it'd have been easier if I'd bothered to check a map before coming over from Warwick, but oh well, everything's worked out fine in the end. The hotel's fantastic by the way, very posh furnishing. I would so stay here every time I visit London, except the price is too prohibitive. I don't like the idea of having to crash someone's room each time though, so maybe I'll have to look up some cheaper options before I come down again.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Episode 31: Wing Wah

Just got back from a buffet-cum-karaoke session at Wing Wah in Coventry with some of the Singapore Society people. I definitely overate (or ate more than my money's worth, depending on your point of view), but it was also definitely awesome to have some Chinese food that tasted authentic. They even had goreng pisang, which was a nice surprise indeed. I think I went to the buffet line six times in total, and I probably could have made room for one more plate had I not eaten too much of the noodles. (I miss noodles more than I miss rice!) The desserts were pretty and yummy too, though I didn't have as much of them as I would have liked. I particularly loved the meringues mixed with some sort of berry compote. The meringues were chewy though, whereas I'm sure meringues are meant to be crisp. It was admittedly an interesting texture. Did a little research on Wikipedia, and that dessert seems like a bastardised version of an Eton mess. The freshers lasted longer at the table than the seniors, although technically the seniors did get to the restaurant earlier than us, but we finally all ended up in the karaoke room. I'm not a very big fan of karaoke, since it's rare to find people who can actually sing well, but I was proven wrong tonight. On a side note, the weather was abysmal. Keegan, of course, was manfully bearing the brunt of the cold in less clothing than one would have thought humanly possible for someone coming from the balmy shores of Singapore.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Episode 30: Hands Shaking, Teeth Chattering

EN124 seminar was awesome as usual. Stared at a projection of the universe and wrote stuff that I'm supposed to turn over the course of the week into the best thing I've ever written. The kind of thing, as David Morley put it, which you'll read when accepting the Nobel Prize for Literature. Anyway, it's rather cold tonight. My hands were shaking from the moment I stepped out to head to the Social Studies building for the AGM. I'm back now, trying to stay warm in my room. Have finished my acquisition spree of Christian music for now. Something's wrong with the syncing with my iPod though, as the album artwork is all wrong, so now I'm retransferring everything. It's rather annoying! Just got back from printing out the e-ticket for my trip to London. I'm a bit upset with myself for delaying my booking until today, as it cost me an extra £8. Sigh. Before that, I was in the Music Centre with a bunch of the Singaporean freshers. Wayne and Sarah were playing the piano, while the rest of us were just marvelling. Oh, and Yong Long, Stephanie and Claire Yow were snapping pictures. There's quite a good one of Vanessa doing one of those modelling poses. Before all this, we were having our AGM for the Singapore Society. Yummy chicken drumsticks and wings there. Congratulations to Louisa and Oliver for being elected as Freshers' Representatives! Now I absolutely have to finish up my French homework for tomorrow. Am now rather glad that I started on translating the Fitt 4 passages yesterday. Who knows, I might even finish it over the weekend in London, if I'm feeling industrious. I do foresee myself panicking over the 'Howl' essay in about a week's time though...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Episode 29: Rapidshare

Last night, I discovered that Rapidshare actually works here, as opposed to in Singapore, where the traffic is just choked off, making it impossible to download anything. I've set about acquiring all the Christian music that I've wanted to listen to, but have never been able to purchase in Singapore. I'm quite happy that I managed to find Ben Cantelon's debut, among other things. I really, really like Article One's Colours And Sounds, especially the opening track, 'Without You (I'm Not Alright)'. There's just something about the use of the violin that makes the song a little bit more special. Then there's the pretty awesome (mostly) instrumental closing track, 'Peace 'Til We Meet Again'. I don't think I've enjoyed a Christian band so much since I came across Rush Of Fools, whose 'You Are Glory' has an excellent bridge by the way. Nothing like a bit of Latin to elevate things. Like in Reuben Morgan's 'Gloria' from World Through Your Eyes. I got very little sleep because I was so busy sorting my new songs into my iTunes library! I made good use of the time before my EN122 seminar to write the poem due for tomorrow's EN124 seminar. I cheated a little I think, since I technically didn't write the poem while walking, but mostly filed away the impressions yesterday and then did the writing today. There's an oblique reference to that separation in the poem, but I don't think I put it across that well. Have decided which question I'll do for my EN122 unassessed essay. Now I just need to do enough research to give the essay some meat...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Episode 28: Drizzling

It's been drizzling from the moment I stepped out of my room, until I got back from my lecture on William Carlos Williams, whom I don't particularly care for, but more on that later. It was too chilly to be walking about more than necessary, so I decided that I'd have junk food for dinner (Mars Bars and Twix) and went straight to The Learning Grid to print out the model translation for last week and the translations from Fitt 3 that I did today. Also typed and printed out my haiku, which I will have to put somewhere and photograph at some point tomorrow. I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow! I'm feeling a bit stressed about my essay for EN122 because I can't decide which question to do and I have a feeling all the useful books in the Library have already been borrowed. Shall take some time tomorrow after lessons to seriously reflect on which question I should do. Am hoping that after reading more for EN122, especially the theoretical texts, I'll have a better idea of which question I want to do. Am tempted by the question that involves a close analysis of 'Howl', but I'm not sure how I'd bring in theoretical texts into my essay, and the Library's books on 'Howl' are all on loan. Anyway, I dislike Williams's work because it reminds me too much of what's been coming out from some quarters of Singaporean poetry. Too minimalist and yet asserting itself as having meaning. I'm somewhat sceptical, despite today's lecturer's explication of 'The Red Wheelbarrow' and 'This Is Just To Say'. So yeah, I kind of get why it can be considered poetry, but I'm just not really convinced that what it has to say is really that worth saying. Give me 'The Waste Land' any day, seriously, even if I still have no idea what that is saying...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Episode 27: Finally Getting Work Done (Soon)

Am watching the last episode of The Dresden Files before getting started on reading Sir Gawain And The Green Knight. I know, I know, said that for the last couple of days and haven't done anything about it, but I really mean it, I'm going to read some of it tonight. Right now though, I'm thinking what a shame it was that this TV series got cancelled. Leaving aside the fact that the novel series is pretty awesome in its own right, Paul Blackthorne's Harry Dresden is probably one of the more appealing lead characters on television since Hugh Laurie became Gregory House, Jeffrey Donovan played David Creegan in Touching Evil, and Michael C. Hall became Dexter Morgan. He currently appears in Lipstick Jungle as Shane Healy, but I don't think I'll start watching that, at least not until I get back to Singapore in December. Have to catch up on my other shows first though. Will at least finish watching Season 2 of Dexter before starting on anything else. Having this 1 TB external hard drive is making it so convenient to acquire episodes of TV shows!

Church today was great. Quite a few Singaporean freshers came to today's service, although I don't know if they'll all stay on. I think I will stay on in Westwood Church, so I'll probably attend cell with Chernise this Thursday. Had lunch at Varsity, where the fish and chips were superior to what I had at Cheshire Oaks yesterday. The condiments at Varsity come in colourful packets that just begged to be photographed, all lined up in a row. Anyway, I just spent a good deal of time trying to recall a song that we sang this week (and last week). Chernise was the one who finally pointed me to the song, which is 'Perfect Sacrifice', written by Nigel Briggs. A couple of other songs I've particularly liked over the last two weeks are Ben Cantelon's 'Hallelujah' and Pete James's 'Take Me In Closer'. Can't find torrents for these songs though, so I'll probably buy the albums online or something. After the amount of American Christian music I've added to my collection in the past months, I think it's time to balance it out with some British stuff. For now though, it's time to hit the books...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Episode 26: Cheshire Oaks

Woke up really early this morning, the earliest since I've been here, but it was well worth it. After spending the day walking around the entire place, the total damage to my wallet added up to £298.90. The breakdown is as follows:

Cadbury - four packets of wine gums (£4.98)
Blue Inc - five t-shirts (£26.98)
Next - four boxes of eau de toilette (£40.00)
Lunch at the food court - Fish and chips (£6.99)
Nike - hoodie and three pairs of socks (£27.41)
Gap - two cardigans and two long-sleeved shirts (£66.56)
Ted Baker - fur-trimmed parka (£90.00)
Barön Jon - t-shirt and hoodie (£35.98)

Will have to be more prudent in my spending for the next week or so. I've just put the coloured clothes I bought today into the washing machine, so I think I'll wear one of the cardigans to church tomorrow. Of all my purchases today though, I'm proudest of the parka. I was hoping to buy a coat at Gap, but the ones they had all made me look like formless sacks of potatoes. Different-sized sacks. The jackets were too boring to pay that much money for. Since I'd already spotted the Ted Baker parka earlier in the afternoon, and it had the approval of the girls I was shopping with, I decided on the spur of the moment to head back and grab it. So glad that I did! It really does look very cool. Makes me look forward to winter. Haha! Lunch was kind of lousy. It was supposed to be some famous fish and chips, but the fish was average and the chips just felt like empty carbohydrates. I miss McDonald's fries! Varsity has curly fries though, so I might head down to grab those as part of lunch or dinner tomorrow. Chloe, Stephanie and I ordered the biggest set meal, and the piece of fish was really huge. It looked like one entire fish died just to feed one of us! A pity that it didn't taste that great. Oh well...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Episode 25: An Unproductive Friday

Right until this moment, I've accomplished nothing of academic value whatsoever, despite having no lessons at all the entire day. I finished a load of laundry (mixing whites and coloureds to no disastrous effect), watched two episodes of Privileged (and I'm watching a third now, even though I still prefer Gossip Girl), withdrew money from my bank account (to shop at Cheshire Oaks tomorrow) and enquired about my debit card (which still isn't here), used the radiator in my room to heat my food (which made it taste slightly better), walked to The Learning Grid to print out the handout from Emma Mason's lecture that I didn't get yesterday (as well as 10% discount vouchers for Cheshire Oaks). So I did a lot of stuff, just that none of it was actually related to my work. I will be getting around to reading Sir Gawain And The Green Knight after this episode finishes, so it's just as well that I'm not at the Mead Gallery catching 'Spectacular', even though I could have on a free ticket for putting up posters around Hampton and Loxley yesternight. Well, I also didn't figure out how to claim my free ticket, so I figured I'd be better off studying, since there won't be any of that happening tomorrow...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Episode 24: French Society Social At Le Bistrot Pierre

French was pretty awesome today. I feel like writing an e-mail to Mme Faussat, just to thank her for being such a wonderful teacher because apparently I remember a bit more of my French than some of my classmates. I'm sure we'll all be at the same level soon, but for now, it's quite nice to be near the head of the class. Just like old times. Haha! Okay, ego trip over. EN123 seminar today was okay, presented my bit on Yeats's 'The Second Coming'. I think I need to practice speaking in public more often, as I tend to trip over my words. Basically, I sound better on paper. Have decided not to go to Coventry tomorrow after all, as I want to do my laundry, withdraw some money from the bank, collect my debit card if it's finally arrived, and get some reading done, especially for Sir Gawain And The Green Knight. In spite of myself, I do find the story somewhat compelling, and I'd like to know what's going on in the seminars for once, instead of only comprehending the bits that I've translated!

Anyway, I went to Leamington Spa again, this time for a French Society social. Almost didn't find the people, but I screwed up enough courage to ask a bunch of people hanging around the bus stop if they were with the French Society. Like Mor Bar, Le Bistrot Pierre has excellent ambience, and really makes me want to live in Leamington Spa next year, despite it being the furthest possible place from campus in which I could rent a house. I know, insane. If I could rig my timetable so that I get some days off though, then it'd be quite, quite okay to live in Leamington Spa. I had a salmon fillet with bouillabaisse sauce and a caramelised lemon tart topped with raspberry sorbet. The salmon was very tender, quite different in texture from any salmon I've ever had. The lemon tart was lovely, and made me want to own a blowtorch just so that I can caramelise stuff if I ever get around to making desserts. Chatted with one of the postgraduate students on the bus ride back to the university, and I managed to get off at the correct stop, instead of stupidly taking the bus all the way to the heart of campus. Ended up walking back with someone who lives in Loxley, so chatted a bit with him too. Altogether quite a nice way to start off my weekend...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Episode 23: The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas

Met up today with the other students on my course who're going to be taking The Warwick Review pathway for EN124. Sounds like it's going to be really exciting! Can't wait for next Wednesday. Anyway, the weather today has been one of those dreary spells that send people into depression. Grey skies, constant drizzle, coldness that nips at you little by little. To top it all off, I caught 'The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas' with Michelle and Stephanie at the Arts Centre. I felt like crying by the end, but I didn't, of course. Takes a lot to make me cry, I think. To feel emo, not so much. The film's an adaptation of the novel of the same name by John Boyne, an Irish novelist. Very moving, especially at the end, and it presents a different viewpoint on the Holocaust. I'm glad that the film adaptation remained faithful to the novel's ending, and didn't let the protagonist escape the gas chamber by some twist. That would have completely undermined the impact of the film as a whole. Things like the Holocaust terrify me, even if that sense of horror isn't always entirely palpable. It's just the idea that people could behave in such an atrocious manner toward their fellow men that gets to me. I was pleasantly surprised to see Vera Farmiga starring in it, whom I remember from her role opposite Jeffrey Donovan in the American version of Touching Evil, which was another of those good shows (like The Dresden Files) that got cancelled. I like brainless TV shows as much as the next person, but for goodness' sake, leave us some quality stuff too!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Episode 22: Good Food Society Social At Mor Bar

Tuesday is definitely my most mentally demanding day of the week. Gosh, that sentence alliterates rather well, doesn't it? Anyway, Middle English is still the bane of my existence, but my language tutor just opened my eyes to the possibilities of Sir Gawain And The Green Knight during today's lesson, so I am trying to be open to the text. I really, really need to start reading it, instead of just reading the passages to be translated. It's so easy to fall behind in your reading, and sometimes, you wonder why you bother, especially when first year doesn't count. At all. It's a bit hard to imagine that I've got essays due in just over two weeks, which I've yet to start work on. Argh. So this is what university feels like. Never mind, I will be industrious on Friday, since I've got the whole day free due to my EN121 seminar being pushed to Thursday morning just for this week. So even if I do end up going out on Friday, I should still be able to get a couple of hours of reading done at some point, whether it be in the early afternoon or at night.

So enough about dry academic stuff. Leamington Spa is damn pretty compared to Coventry! It's also very far, so I don't know if I want to live there in my second year. Don't fancy the travelling to and fro each day, although if I manage to fix my timetable so that I have free days, then the distance would become less of an issue, I guess. So we had a three-course fondue meal at Mor Bar, which has a lovely ambience. Didn't take advantage of the one-for-one offer on the cocktails though. The first course was cheese, which was yummy, even though it was just hunks of bread dipped in cheese. Next up, after a wait that was slightly too long for comfort, was hot oil. Now that was pretty cool. Different meats, as well as vegetables accompanied by a tempura dip. Good stuff! Last, but certainly not least, came the chocolate. I'm inclined to think that the chocolate fondue I've had (literally) at home is better, but the experience of it here was worth paying for. Made some new friends, whom I'll hopefully see again at the next Good Food Society social! It was pretty fun in a way, standing around in a big group and wondering if the bus back to the university would ever show up. We did get the last bus, although while waiting, so many taxis just kept drawing up to the kerb, tempting us to hop into them. You'd never see something like that happening in Singapore, that's for sure.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Episode 21: Enfin, J'ai Décidé!

I realised yesterday that I lost a sock at some point between doing my laundry and bringing it back to my room. Sigh. At least it was one of the white socks, which are pretty old anyway. Still kind of hoping it'll turn up though! Right now, I'm sitting in front of my laptop, alternating between Facebook and trying to get started on my short presentation on 'Howl' for tomorrow's seminar. I shouldn't have a problem finishing, since I think I have enough material for three minutes. It's just a matter of forcing myself to put the metaphorical pen to paper and getting the words onto the screen. I don't think I have anything very profound to say that wouldn't (almost) immediately occur to the average person reading 'Howl', but I'm giving it my best shot. Best being defined as finish-it-now instead of start-on-it-one-hour-before-the-seminar! If I could just clear this tonight, then maybe I could use the slots of time between my classes tomorrow to clear the first half of my LL208 homework. Might not work, since I'm a bit rusty and probably need a dictionary to help me translate, but it's worth a shot. Must seriously look into buying good French dictionary once financial health improves...

I spent the first part of the afternoon working on my translations for Sir Gawain And The Green Knight, revising last week's verse translation into a prose one, as well as hammering out this week's prescribed lines. The whole experience has amply illustrated how translation is often an inexact process, e.g. how two translations that I looked at gave 'colde borne' as 'cold burn', which is an interesting juxtaposition of concepts, but really makes little sense in the context of the passage. Fortunately, I've found a Middle English dictionary that does a reasonable job of helping me to clarify things in instances where I disagree with what I read in translation, and in this case, I'm afraid I have to agree with Tolkien in rendering the phrase as 'cold brook'. Met up with the group from my language class to work on this week's lines, and I'm a little puzzled by how they appeared to have used little more to aid them than the glosses and translations provided in our primary text itself, when I looked at two different translations (one verse, one prose) to help me get a sense of what the original text was saying. I'm still hoping to get my hands on other reputable translations for comparison. As much as I hate EN121 right now, I must admit the intellectual challenge it presents in terms of translation is quite fascinating. I have to consciously force myself to reword my own translations, so that I don't end up sounding like I'm versifying, which is what would happen if I did a word-for-word translation and just strung it up into sentences.

In other news, I've decided to forget about trying to transfer to Heronbank, hence the title of this post. It wouldn't solve the problem of having to walk to Central Campus everyday, and I'd be moving far, far away from Tesco. Oh, and did I mention living in Westwood instead of Heronbank saves me more than £100 each month? In retrospect, perhaps it's a good thing that I didn't get what I wanted. Think of all the extra books and clothes the money'll buy! I've also seen how the ensuite toilet actually eats up a lot of living space, and I kind of like how my room in Westwood is big and, well, roomy. Just to give you an idea, I could definitely fit my bookcase from back home into this room, and still have empty space left over. Come to think of it, my room here is probably bigger than my room in Singapore! I rearranged the furniture a little, so now the bedside table isn't obstructing the radiator, which may have accounted for the chillier nature of the room in previous weeks. So now that I've made up my mind to stay here, it's probably time to start buying cooking implements and make my tentative foray into the culinary realm. Next stop: Ikea in Coventry!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Episode 20: Westwood Church, Skype & A Very Long Poem

I attended Westwood Church this morning, just a short walk away from Westwood Campus. I will in all likelihood be attending this church from now on, as I'm reasonably comfortable there. Plus it has the advantage of being near to where I live, and seeing as how my resolve to apply for a transfer has all but dissolved, it makes sense to pick a church that's nearby anyway. It's Anglican enough to remind me of COGS, yet it's also something I would want to see my church transformed into ultimately. I'll definitely be going back next week at the very least, since Natalie wants to come along and see what it's like. There's a graveyard within the church grounds, which didn't strike me as freaky, but rather nice actually. I suppose you could say that it felt very English. I still think drinking from the same chalice is a little weird, but I smiled inside when the Sursum Corda, the opening words of the Communion liturgy were projected onto the screen:

Presider: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Presider: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them to the Lord.
Presider: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right to give Him thanks and praise.

Such simple words really, but it is the ritual of call and response that lends them gravitas. One day, I will attend a Catholic Mass, but only if it's held in Latin. Maybe I should pay a trip to Vatican City during one of my term vacations?

I Skyped my family because my dad wanted to test out the webcam that he'd bought. It worked fine, so basically I got to see my family for the first time since I left Singapore. By now the initial euphoria of being abroad should have died down, so I feel somewhat safe in declaring that no, I don't feel homesick. I might be thousands of miles away from the people that I've known for 21 years of my life (and counting), but I can deal with it. Not that I don't miss them, but it's not like I migrated or anything. I'll be back, and eventually, for good. There are times when I wish I could just SMS Shirley or Eugene to complain about something or someone, but there was a time when I didn't know either Shirley or Eugene, and I did fine keeping my complaints to myself back then. So that's what I do now, and it's surprisingly easy to just wait until I get back to my room to contact them through IM or Facebook. Eugene's finally arrived in London anyway, so he'll be contactable by SMS soon enough, I expect. If you see this, tell me your number!

I've also just finished writing my 60-line poem for Wednesday's EN124 seminar! I feel accomplished. I showed it to Shirley when only the first 20 couplets were finished, and she said that her first reaction was to laugh because she could identify with what was being said. That's basically what I was hoping for. Admittedly, a lot of the references will only make sense to someone familiar with the situation in Singapore and the (mis)perceptions that others have about my country. I don't mind if people don't understand the poem immediately, and I certainly wouldn't expect them to, unless they were fellow Singaporeans. Maybe I'll show it to some of the other Singaporean freshers, just to see their reactions. Or maybe not. I don't think they'd get the point, probably just smile politely and say it's nice. So anyway, that's one major task out of the way. Now I need to tackle the translation for EN121, the presentation for EN122, and my French homework. Thank God for a slack Monday timetable that consists of one lecture at 5 pm!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Episode 19: Unproductivity Strikes Again!

Woke up late, which is always a bad way to begin if you're trying to be productive. Had Marks & Spenser chocolate biscuits for lunch and dinner! I know, if I carry on like that I'm going to get fat. I live in daily terror of the possibility that when I get back to Singapore and step on the weighing scale, I'll see something like 80.0 staring mockingly back at me. It doesn't help that the official BMI limit for being overweight is apparently not appropriate for Asian body types and is in fact perilously close to what my current BMI is. (I do think it shouldn't apply to me though, since I'm actually taller than the average Singaporean male anyway.) Apparently, I should weight something around 65 kg, which is what I'm aiming for, but I'll probably end up looking like a stick at that weight because I don't work out, but doing so might paradoxically cause me to be heavier because muscle weighs more than fat. It sucks to be vain, really. Anyway, the point is that I didn't get much work done, at least not until about an hour ago, when I started on my EN124 writing assignment for this week. It's to write 30 rhyming couplets, the first 20 declaring how much you hate something, and the next 10 declaring how you love it. I decided to write about Singapore, since that seems to me a subject that just lends itself to the instructions really well. I'm also supposed to use a variety of rhymes, which is working out to be pretty interesting. I'm afraid form triumphs content here, since I don't seem able to make any sort of profound statement about Singapore. Tangentially, doesn't Ginsberg's 'Howl' remind you of Alfian Sa'at's 'Singapore You Are Not My Country'? Just a little? It just suddenly occurred to me while I was writing.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Episode 18: Warm At Last...

Oh my. For the first time since I've been here, I can feel the radiator. I mean really feel it. On previous occasions, I've felt it radiating some warmth, but now it's actually generating enough heat such that if I touch it, I'll probably be burnt. Just drank half of my bottle of pear juice. It's yummy! Has real pear bits in it too. I did a bit of revision for LL208 after my EN121 seminar, which I went into clueless because I didn't end up reading Fitt 1 of Sir Gawain And The Green Knight. It went sort of okay, although the seminar group seems really huge compared to those for my other modules. Then I met Natalie and some of the other Law freshers for lunch at Bar Fusion. Had salmon with soba noodles and wasabi sauce, which was not bad. Yannis told me that I hold my chopsticks like I'm holding a calligraphy pen, which was news to me. Anyway, I really need to get ahold of a couple of Modern English translations that I can compare my own translation work against, as well as just read to get an idea of what's going on in the first place. I've borrowed J.R.R. Tolkien's translation from the Library, but I would like to get my hands on the translations done by W.S. Merwin and Simon Armitage. I actually borrowed quite a few books from the Library today, although some of the stuff I wanted was on loan. I think I need to be more 'kiasu'...

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Episode 17: Watching TV On My Laptop

Didn't get to do my Yeats presentation today after all. LL208 was fun, and everyone seems to be pretty much at my level of competence, which is reassuring! Thought processes too sluggish today to do anything substantial, so since I've finally managed to get a few episodes of my TV shows from my sister, I'm watching the latest episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. It's a pretty boring episode, even if it does throw more light on Cameron's character. I finally met my personal tutor, and he's totally cool with my doing an additional language module, and he says the department would be happy for me to do it too, but it's just a matter of checking what the rules are concerning extra modules for credit. Reception was closed today though, so I'll have to go back tomorrow to check. Also have to figure out what exactly is going on with my NatWest account, whether or not I'm getting the Advantage Blue International option automatically or is it something I have to tell them to sign me up for again, despite being given to understand it was what I was applying for a couple of weeks ago. I think NatWest is the most inefficient bank on campus, given that when I went down today, the only place that had a snaking queue was NatWest, which means they're either extremely popular or extremely screwed up. Probably should have stuck with HSBC?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Episode 16: Fresher's Flu, Swordfighting In The Woods & Rosemary's Baby

I've developed a frightful case of fresher's flu! Hardly surprising, since I was sick to begin with when I arrived at Warwick. I am now consoling myself by snacking on Doritos. Once they're gone, I'm not going to buy junk food for a week! I know people tend to gain weight while studying overseas, but I was rather hoping to lose some. I was coughing so badly that David Morley took pity on me during this morning's seminar and got me a glass of water. The seminar was awesome, by the way. We got to wear funky hats and write insulting poetry. In rhyming couplets. Then we walked into the woods just outside Millburn House and recited it while swordfighting, accompanied by a small bonfire that died out much too quickly. I think the last time I had a lesson this cool was back in NYPS, when we went digging in the sandpit for dinosaur 'bones'. If only all my modules were as fun as EN124! Speaking of modules, I actually missed an EN122 seminar yesterday afternoon, which I only realised at the end of the day. My very mortified self e-mailed my seminar tutor, Adam Putz, to apologise. I can't believe I was such an idiot, and I actually did the reading for that seminar too!

I went for the Alternative Film Society's screening of Rosemary's Baby. Before I say anything about the film, I must say that I feel somewhat foolish for paying to join the society when all its screenings are free. I console myself with the thought that I'm helping to pay for more DVDs, which is pretty much why I paid to join anyway. The film was a trifle too long for me, but that could have been my stuffy nose complaining. Haven't got much to say about it, except that it was the film that made Mia Farrow famous and cost her her marriage to Frank Sinatra. Oh, and it was directed by Roman Polanski, perhaps better known to my generation as the director of The Pianist. The film was based on a novel by Ira Levin, and it supposedly revolutionised the horror genre. I can understand how for its time that might have been the case, but it's a bit dull to my desensitised, contemporary sensibilities. Still, not too bad a way to spend a night, and I had Michelle for company. Now I'm going to read a bit of Joanne Harris before bedtime because like the Bookshop lady said, everyone needs a bit of light reading once in a while, and I was reading Yeats in the Library earlier, so I've paid my dues for today.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Episode 15: Hungry Ghosts

Sigh. My efforts at translating Sir Gawain And The Green Knight into Modern English verse were in vain, as I've been informed that what we should be aiming for are prose translations. Ah well, back to the grindstone soon enough. I just got back Lost Dog's production of Hungry Ghosts, which I saw for free, one of the perks of being a STAR. It was a really intense experience. One of the girls who went for the interview with me last week happened to be seated two seats to my left, and she was in tears at the end. To summarise, Hungry Ghosts is a dance theatre performance that looks at the issue of terrorism through its effects on a man who by a twist of fate is the sole survivor of a terrorist attack in a theatre. A bit of breaking of the fourth wall went on, since at points the performers were seated in the audience and either spoke lines or entered onto the stage from there. This is going to sound so wrong, but I just have to mention that Ben Duke, one of the male dancers, has abdominals to die for. That and he's also an incredible dancer. Clearly, we should all become dancers so that we'll be hot, which is the kind of superficial reasoning that makes people take me less seriously than they should, but is also the kind of reasoning I would use to convince myself to do things like dance. Or exercise. Anyway, I'm rather jealous of people who can dance, any sort of dance really. Attended the STARs social in the National Grid Room after the performance, where I signed up to work on the campaigns for three upcoming performances. (The ulterior motive being that if I put in two hours of work on the campaign, I'll get a free ticket to the performance.) Hope I haven't overcommitted myself...

Monday, October 06, 2008

Episode 14: I'm A Star!

So Natalie's fine, which is a relief to all of us. Note to self: never be tempted to drink excessively, not even on special occasions. After today's EN123 lecture, I've realised that it's actually quite a strain to understand Thomas Docherty's accent when he's speaking softly. Anyway, I didn't get the steward position at the Arts Centre, but I am going to be a Student Arts Representative after all! I thought I didn't get it because I hadn't received any e-mail, and the e-mail was supposed to have arrived by Monday morning. Apparently, it was delayed, so I came back to my room to receive a pleasant surprise. Michelle and Natalie got in too, so that's cool. I just got back from dinner at Heronbank because I bumped into Michelle and Natalie at the Arts Centre. I was there to pick up the Joanne Harris novels that I'd ordered last week (so now my shelf has a pretty collection of light reading) and I saw them walking past the Bookshop. We had vermicelli for dinner, which was okay. A bit weird to mix soya sauce and sambal chilli though. Now I'm slaving away at translating 70 lines of Sir Gawain And The Green Knight into Modern English. I hate EN121!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Episode 13: Lower Ford Street Baptist Church & Natalie's 19th

So we finally made it to church this Sunday, but not without a fair share of drama. To begin with, it was raining for the first time since we've been in Warwick. As in actual rain, not just some anaemic drizzle that clears up after a while. It wasn't very heavy, but it was enough to soak me through and wish that I wasn't shivering. At first, we couldn't find the shuttle service to the church. We contacted the lady who was driving, and we made our way to what we thought was the correct place. Turns out, in a replay of last week, we turned in the wrong direction again and she was actually waiting for us further down the road from where we had been standing. If I didn't feel that it was actually important to attend a church regularly while I'm over here, I'd probably have given up and just gone back to bed. Sigh. I miss the convenience of church being just an MRT ride away! Stop me if I ever complain about that again when I'm back in Singapore, okay? Doesn't mean I'll stop wanting to take a taxi back from COGS when my dad's not in town though...

The actual service was really traditional. It was a baptism service this week, which is generally fun to watch. I think COGS should go back to doing complete immersions. Sprinkling water from the font just doesn't have the same dramatic effect. Anyway, I thought the service was nice, but if I had to attend it regularly, I don't think I'd be able to take it. They only had an organ and a piano for musical accompaniment, although I recognised most of the songs that were sung, and the ones that I didn't recognise were tuneful and lyrically meaningful. They even did 'Shout To The Lord', and it was way faster than anything that's ever been heard in COGS. I was flipping through the hymnal instead of listening to the sermon, just to get a feel of what sort of stuff they sing there. I didn't recognise most of the songs, and for the ones I recognised, some of the lyrics were different from what I'm used to singing. I was reading through the rationale for the alterations, and I'm afraid I don't quite see the point. The hymns I like, I like precisely because they sound slightly archaic. I feel it gives them a sort of gravitas that contemporary Christian music tends to lack. So while I enjoyed today's service, I think next week, I'll be visiting another church. Probably the one that Chernise attends?

After the service, we stayed behind in Coventry to shop for Natalie's surprise party. By the way, I managed to get refunds for my three Topman rings and my Primark hoodie. I love how the stores here will just give you a refund, no questions asked. I wish Singapore did that! Probably says something about our culture that we don't have such a customer-friendly refund policy. Surely it can't have that much of an impact on sales? We bought a Disney Princesses cake, and then spent a good deal of time trying to find a place that sold balloons. Along the way, I bought three roast pork sandwiches because I was hungry. They were pretty good, although I wish the applesauce hadn't been so bland! I was expecting a mix of sweet and savoury, but that didn't happen, so I'll admit I was a little disappointed. Randomly, can you believe that I still haven't had fish and chips here? Signature dish and all, but yeah, not yet. It'd better be good when I do! Otherwise, I'll be sorely disappointed and feel a bit cheated. Some stereotypes have to be true, don't they?

Got back to Warwick and went for my interview to become an Arts Centre steward. I really hope I get it, as it doesn't seem like I'll be becoming a STAR. Stewarding doesn't pay well, but that's not why I want to do it anyway. I'm more in it for the free shows, and getting to do something that I'll never have a chance to once I start working. Fingers crossed again! Then I went over to help with party preparations. I wasn't actually expecting to cook anything, but I somehow ended up being tasked to sauté the sausages for the pasta. The results were apparently satisfactory to everyone who tried it. Except for Keegan, who after tasting a slice of sausage, told me that he can see why I don't cook for myself. Like, what the hell? Thanks Keegan, seriously. If I ever whip up something decent, you're probably not getting any. I think I could become pretty okay at this cooking thing. Just give me time. Haha! The food overall was great, but then again, it generally is when a bunch of Singaporeans get together to make a meal, isn't it? Haha...

So what's a party without some games? A bunch of people started playing bridge, which devolved into some random game that Wayne taught them, before we all sort of ended up in a big group playing Mafia. Very JC orientation. We kind of got busted for throwing a party, but the resident tutor, while annoyed, didn't really lecture us at first. Nonetheless, she was quite the killjoy. We told her we'd probably be done by 9 pm, and she actually came back to check on us when it was approaching that time. She was a little bitchy then, as she was going on about our self-imposed timing and how we should be cleaning up. So we cleaned up and left not long after. I headed to The Graduate@Cholo with the usual suspects, where stuff happened that was both funny and scary, if you can believe that possible. Suffice to say that the rest of the night was something that shouldn't have happened, and we shouldn't have allowed it to anyway. Perhaps more importantly, it must never be allowed to happen again. I'm serious.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Episode 12: Freshers' Potluck

I met Conrad in the Library to work on the Yeats presentation for next week's seminar. It didn't feel like we actually got a lot done, but that's just me and my overachieving mentality. We did sort of figure out what each of us is going to be presenting at least. He'll do the close reading of 'The Second Coming' and I'll tie it all back to Yeats's interests in religion and the occult. My knowledge of that pretty much consists of what I gleaned from surfing this morning, but it should be enough to let me hammer out about 500 words, which is the estimated length that my presentation should be according to my handout. I really need to catch up on my reading for next week though, especially for Sir Gawain And The Green Knight, as I have to attempt to translate part of it as an exercise. Am so not looking forward to Middle English lessons! I'm generally good at languages, but let's face it, French isn't that hard to pick up. I'd probably be rubbish at something like, I don't know, Japanese? Though at least I don't have to wrestle with Anglo-Saxon, unlike Chermaine at UCL. Haha...

Went from the Library to the Freshers' Potluck organised by the Singapore Society. Bumped into people like Jeremy Ang, whom I probably haven't seen for more than five years. There was a lot of yummy food, including Jerrick's cake, which he is so going to make for my and Samantha's birthdays! Someone brought an awesome potato salad too. I guess I do sort of get sick of eating sandwiches after a while, although they're so convenient. Not enough to make me start cooking though! Anyway, the whole potluck just involved a lot of mingling and schmoozing really, but I spent most of the time talking to people I already knew. I bought a ticket for the trip to Cheshire Oaks because frankly, how can any Singaporean resist cheap shopping at a factory outlet? Practically all of my friends seem to concur. Seriously though, I need to buy more clothing that is specifically suited for the bloody cold weather we've got here! I'm completely not acclimatising, and this isn't even winter yet. Sigh...

Friday, October 03, 2008

Episode 11: Varsity & STARS Interview

I didn't have lessons today, so I woke up late and went online. One of my sisters was finally online, so I asked her to send me all the TV shows that I haven't been able to download over here. (I send the torrents to Audrey via e-mail and she downloads them for me. I wish my university didn't ban P2P!) The transfer rate is awfully slow though, which is understandably frustrating and frustratingly understandable. Can't think of a solution, so I'll just bear with it. Then I rushed over to Heronbank to meet Chernise to help her move her friend's stuff. I didn't get lost, even though I was cutting from Westwood to Heronbank for the first time ever, and in the process, I saw parts of campus that I've never been to before. Same thing happened later, when I was walking back with her from Varsity. There's this whole tract of land between the university and Kenilworth that is untouched, and it really feels like you're in the countryside. Picturesque, if the weather's right. Don't think many of the other Singaporean freshers have seen that area before, as it's pretty much not along any of the main routes that one has to take around campus.

So I had lunch with Chernise at Varsity, which is a pub that lies about midway along the route between Westwood and Heronbank. This is walking down along Kirby Corner Road, and then turning in the direction of Scarman. It's a nice place, especially if you want to get away from the international crowd, as I hardly saw any non-British people in there during lunch. Singaporean freshers, you should all go there at least once, if you haven't already! Chernise says if I attend her church, I'll probably see the inside of Varsity quite often because the church is nearby. Will go there in two Sundays' time. The food's good, and kind of makes me want to stop eating sandwiches from Costcutter and the other places on Central Campus. I should check out Café Westwood though, since it's practically at my doorstep. Maybe for lunch tomorrow, before I go to the Library to do some research on Yeats's The Second Coming. Am meeting Conrad to discuss our seminar presentation, although honestly, how much can you cram into a three-minute presentation?

I wandered over to the Library after walking Chernise back to Central Campus and into Costcutter. (We didn't manage to find her friend's stuff.) I needed to print out my inventory form for submission, so I topped up my printer credits using my credit card. I also bought a photocopying card by mistake, so I'm going to sell that to Michelle, since she says she'll probably need to photocopy stuff because she reads borrowed books too slowly anyway. I managed to figure out the whole printing thing, which made me feel slightly accomplished, in the same way that doing my coloured laundry yesterday did. I feel like I'm becoming a proper student! So I filled in the form, walked back to Rootes Social to hand it in, then walked to the Arts Centre to bum around until my STARS interview. I stepped into the Bookshop, and proceeded to purchase all but three of Joanne Harris's novels. I know, I'm insane, but I just couldn't resist, not when they were all nicely lined up on the shelves and all Black Swan editions too. The lady who helped me to order the remaining three was really understanding and totally got why I felt like I had to buy them all at one go. The covers are really pretty by the way. She jokingly asked me if I was actually going to do any studying while I was here, so I told her I didn't really bring much leisure reading over from Singapore, which is true. She's like my favourite new person now, seriously.

The STARS interview was okay, I guess, although I didn't feel like I made much of an impression. We were supposed to come up with some ideas on how to market a particular event. Couldn't really say much because some of the people in my assigned group were really vocal and it was hard to get a word in without sounding rude. Or you could read that as me being completely useless in group situations. It's this habit I have of wanting to listen to everyone else's thoughts before adding my own. I didn't use to be so retiring, I think. It's something I somehow picked up along the years. So despite coming from RJC, I haven't quite mastered the art of being cutthroat and competitive in order to get what I want. I do hope I get the job nonetheless, as it sounds like a really cool thing to be doing, and it could be helpful when I start teaching, if only tangentially, in getting my students interested in the arts. I'll know by Monday if I'm in, and then if I am, there's a social to attend on Tuesday evening. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Episode 10: A Long Weekend Begins!

Just to make you guys jealous, my weekend began at 1 pm today because my seminars for EN121, which are normally on Friday mornings, only begin in Week 2. I didn't realise it either, until I was talking to some friends online. So I started gloating and now they all hate me. Haha! Anyway, although I technically did my laundry yesterday for my white and light-coloured clothes, Shen Ting was the one who operated the washer and the dryer. Today, I actually did both for myself, and it didn't turn out too badly. Just that the dryer apparently doesn't work too well, as my clothes were still a little damp when I took them out. Had to lay them all over the room to dry them out. I'm not going to blog much about academics because there really hasn't been a lot happening. Just that the same faces keep popping up in my seminars, so hopefully, I'll become good friends with them, especially since the repeated faces are actually all people on the same course as me! I'm already meeting one of them in the Library on Saturday to do some work for our next EN123 seminar. Have to work on Yeats's 'The Second Coming'. I also got around to pushing up my French module to the earliest timing, which only made sense timetable-wise. It seems that I have to go down to the Language Centre to do it in the online system too. I still haven't spoken to my personal tutor about doing the module for extra credit. I really want my £160 back, if it's possible!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Episode 9: Singaporean Potluck-Cum-Karaoke Party!

Just got back from an impromptu karaoke session in Yong Long's room. We were singing along to all sorts of cheesy pop songs from the late '90s and early '00s, streaming the music videos from YouTube. This all started because we discovered that Rahul is a great singer, so we made him sing a couple of songs (and he did them really well), and then they tried to make me sing a song. Apparently, the YouTube video drowned me out. Haha! Then suddenly someone decided we should all sing along to YouTube videos. If any of Yong Long's neighbours could hear us, they must think he's damn weird. It was excellent fun though, a sort of trip down musical memory lane. Before that, we had a superb Singaporean potluck and the food was smashing. I sort of miss Singaporean food, but not to the extent that I have insane cravings. Just that whenever I taste it, I think to myself, how nice it would be to have this again. Then at the very next meal, I go out and grab a boring sandwich for convenience. I know, I should really start learning to cook for myself, but the inertia is simply enormous. I'll do it eventually, I promise! Oh yeah, I finished my homework for EN124 Modes of Writing: An Introduction while waiting for Amisha at Arthur Vick. Five lines of poetry from utter randomness. Fantastic...