Saturday, January 31, 2009

Episode 131: Morning Panicking, Afternoon Lazing, Evening Working, Night Reading

Forgot to mention yesterday that my bookshelves at Westwood are now almost as packed as those at home. I should probably consider packing some of the books here and sending them home, especially since I would still like a few more books sent over, like the rest of my Thomas Hardy novels. I probably should send back all the Joanne Harris books, once I've finally read them all. Had a minor panic this morning when I had to reschedule our housing viewing on very short notice. Thankfully, everyone can make it on Monday instead. I really, really want to get this over and done with ASAP. I'm about to start reading Algernon Blackwood's stories in order to work on my piece for China's workshop on Wednesday. I've been a little distracted though by watching Torchwood. I nearly cried during the Series 2 finale when Owen died, and then Toshiko. I've started watching Sanctuary now, which feels like the American answer to Torchwood, albeit a little more serious in its tone. Okay. I'm going to eat biscuits and Krispy Kremes for dinner, read Blackwood and write for a bit, and then do some massive reading so that I can finally return some of these books to the Library.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Episode 130: The Culture Project & Amrit's Birthday Bash

We did it! After weeks of writing and rehearsing, we put up a show that, despite the occasional missed line or two, proved to be very well-received in the end. Was complimented a few times on the script, so I must note that a good deal of the monologues were rewritten from submitted originals by the cast themselves, and other scenes were based off cast improvisations. Most of the punchlines, though, were mine. Haha! I think a good chunk of the audience was probably Singaporean and Malaysian, although I spotted Laura, Luke, Maria and Daniel Hanu in the audience. Thanks for coming! To the rest of my friends who missed out, hopefully Yong Long will have the video recording up soon. I'm just glad we managed to pull it off. So to all the cast and crew, you've all been awesome! After a long day (that featured my favourite Ginsters bacon and egg sandwiches twice), most of the cast and crew headed down to Tocil for Amrit's party. There was plenty to eat and drink, although, my goodness, tequila shots are vile! I think house parties have a different vibe from 'normal' parties, although by the time we left last night, my shoes were still sticky from spilt champagne on the floor, we had been dancing to the usual sort of music, and my face was the usual shade of red. Ended up going back to Claire's room with Bella and Yong Long, where we sat chatting for a couple of hours. Now I'm sleepy, it's past 2 am, and it's time for bed.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Episode 129: We Make Our Own Traditions

Was completely spaced out during Jim's seminar today, partly because I haven't read The Heat Of The Day despite all my good intentions recently, partly because I'm still sick and too hazy to manage more than a few pages at a time. So I managed to get through the entire seminar without saying a word. Fared slightly better in French because I'd actually done a bit of the work and French classes tend to be easy for me anyway, but I was still glad to be able to get back to my room. I've also managed to track down my parcel of books, which has made me very relieved. Now I just need to find the time to head down to collect it. Tomorrow, between my seminar and rehearsal? Came back to my room to ditch my Crumpler and books before going to rehearsal. I didn't stay for the entire thing though, mainly because I don't think my presence was entirely crucial, especially when Prin was doing such good work with the cast. I was headed to Varsity, for what has now become a sort of established tradition. I think in the space of less than a month, our numbers have doubled, to the point where we could split into two groups, one inside (for the warmth) and one outside (for the intermittent heating), and still have about half a dozen in each. We all eventually wound up inside though, where I finally got to see what drunk Lucy was like. She was endearing, I swear, even though she was totally mortified, according to her Facebook status. Whose turn will it be next week?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Episode 128: Todo Sobre Mi Madre

I'm enjoying the Krispy Kremes I bought today after our usual post-seminar session at Kami Lounge. They're a little addictive, I must admit. Just ate four at one go! I'm feeling slightly better than I did yesterday. Well enough to sit in The Graduate@Cholo and have two drinks anyway, with Alex and Dan. Before that, Dan and I were at the Alternative Film Society screening of Todo Sobre Mi Madre (All About My Mother). It's only my second time going, although I would like to be more regular in my attendance. Didn't go in expecting much, but the film was moving in its own way. I was quite taken aback when Esteban died, but from then on, the film was excellent, treading the right balance between humour and pathos. If anything, it's made me want to see A Streetcar Named Desire. Thinking back, however, I realise that the film could probably have been fleshed out further, especially since a lot of the action is sort of elided by the passage of time. I would like to do a bit of reading before going to bed, but I think I'd be better off heading straight to bed after this episode of Torchwood finishes. Am getting rather perplexed about where my books are exactly, as they've been delivered successfully, but I have yet to receive any notification to pick them up. If there's still nothing tomorrow, I'm going to e-mail and get it tracked down. Sigh...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Episode 127: 15%

Just got back from Tesco, where I bought a lot of useless junk food. Ended up spending almost as much as Jerrick, who actually bought proper food to cook. I'm still sniffling, so I was a bit zoned out at Michelle's birthday party and at rehearsal before that. I'm self-medicating and hoping that I'll be fine by Thursday. Otherwise, I will seriously consider not going to Varsity, even though I said I would this afternoon in Kami Lounge. As for the title of this post, it's how far along I am to getting a First overall for Year 1. 12.5% from EN122 and 2.5% from EN124. Yeah, I got the essay for EN122 back today, and my slogging paid off, even if I spent only about half a day writing and editing the whole thing. I really should stop doing that, even if it doesn't seem to significantly interfere with the quality of my work. I think EN121 is what's going to pull my average down in the end, which sucks. Time to work harder, especially on the Middle English texts. Renaissance poetry I can handle. That at least looks recognisable, and it's a matter of parsing the meaning. Middle English is just completely bewildering, even if my translation test showed that I wasn't entirely hopeless at it. Oh well. Perhaps I should forget about visiting Eugene in London during Reading Week and just stay at Warwick to study. Really want to watch Avenue Q though...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Episode 126: Malade

Yes, perhaps you should have. En tout cas, j'en ai marre de toi. I'm definitely sick, but with a bit of self-medication, I think I'll live. Threadless is having a mini-sale, and I'm so tempted. Resist, Ian, resist. Hold out for a bigger sale at the very least. Attended Thomas Docherty's lecture this afternoon, and regretted not starting sooner, especially since he said that next week's probably the last lecture in the series. Maybe I'll turn up to his lectures next year if they don't clash with anything on my timetable, just for his Glaswegian accent. Haha! Am still watching Torchwood. It's a little upsetting, knowing that Owen and Toshiko get killed off at the end of Series 2. Ah well, Ianto's my favourite character anyway. The innuendo in some of his lines is simply outrageous. I've never heard sex being described as, well, avant-garde dabbling. The episode where he says there are a lot of things that one can do with a stopwatch is a little disturbing though. Bella's finally back at rehearsals for The Culture Project, which means I can heave a sigh of relief and go back to my background role. Spent the rehearsal typing out one of my pieces for Maureen Freely's seminar on Wednesday. It didn't quite go the way that I'd originally envisioned, but I suppose it'll do. Am now trying to come up with a witty sequence of dialogue, but I've hit a mental block on this one. Think I'll give it a rest for now. After all, there's still tomorrow...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Episode 125: Machiavellian

Indeed, perhaps one should know whether or not the harmonic series converges or diverges, although that hardly seems like the sort of thing that you would expect to be general knowledge. Au contraire, a little knowledge isn't dangerous in itself. It only becomes so when the possessor of said scrap has the arrogance and presumption to apply it erroneously in forming notions and then resist correction by others perhaps slightly more informed. On a tangential note, Hoobastank's new album has a track, 'All About You', which has, shall we say, a particular resonance for me at the moment. I did one of those online personality tests for fun again. It seems that I'm very Machiavellian, which to a large extent, is true. There are selected individuals, and they actually number more than you would guess, whom I refuse to attempt to manipulate as a matter of principle, usually because they've proved themselves to be so decent that I'd feel like I didn't deserve their friendship if I was anything less than genuine towards them. In all other circumstances though, it's not that I'm a particularly bad person or anything. We all manipulate people. Some of us do it more frequently. Some of us do it better. It is an art, and beautiful in its own way. Was going to go bake with the others at Claire's place, but I've had that feeling that I'm going to fall ill since leaving for church this morning, so I finally decided to stay in my room and watch more Torchwood, which is fast becoming my guilty television pleasure after Gossip Girl and Privileged. Now I'm off to do a bit of Spanish, and then read some Angela Carter, hopefully.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Episode 124: Agaçant

Bien que je sache qu'il y a beaucoup de mots avec des similarités, tu ne peux pas nier qu'il y a du vrai dans ce que je dis. Tu comprends ce que j'écris précisément car l'anglais est une langue plein des mots d'emprunts. Méfie-toi des apparences. D'après tout, les événements d'aujourd'hui ont déjà prouvé que j'ai souvent raison de toute façon. Et si tu veux écrire en français, il faut que tu aies de bonnes bases en grammaire. Je conclus ma plaidoirie. Mais il y a quelque chose que je ne comprends pas. Pourquoi rendre visite à quelqu'un et ne pas entrer sa chambre? C'est bizarre, n'est-ce pas? Okay, enough French for tonight. Was late getting to Whitefields because I only read Keegan's SMS this morning, but I can't imagine why I'm expected to still be up past 2 am, waiting with bated breath for SMSes. Anyway, the Ramphal Building was locked! So much for just turning up and grabbing a big room. Perhaps, just perhaps, sometimes going by the book causes less stress, but hey, what do I know? I'm just some guy who bitches too much. Only because the world is just so messed up sometimes, and it would all be much better (but not perfect) if everyone were a bit more like me. Est-ce que tu es d'accord, Mlle Seah?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Episode 123: A Little Primer On Translation

No seminar today, but I had rehearsals with Amrit and Ranon. Amrit's rehearsal was completely messed up because I forgot the starting time, then I had to collect props, and then we couldn't find the props, so essentially I got nothing done with Amrit. Ranon's went slightly better in the evening. Now I've just got back from an unsuccessful attempt at viewing the house. We left a note, so hopefully, the tenants will call us back soon and we can take a look. I am quite reassured by how near we actually are to the bus stop! Anyway, Keegan, you're only partially right in saying that most European languages share common roots, and hence that translation is an easy task. If you map out the relationships between major European languages, you will find that a great many fall under the Romance family, e.g. French, Italian, Spanish. With these, translation is made easier because the languages descended from Vulgar Latin, which means words frequently share similar orthographies and meanings. However, consider the case of Romanian, belonging to a different branch of the Romance tree. Even orthographically, it is readily apparent that Romanian is significantly different from the aforementioned languages. We now consider English, a notoriously promiscuous language, wherein the problem of "false friends" presents itself, such that words which are homographs do not necessarily share the same meaning. Factor in the problem of idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms, and perhaps all I need to say by now is that translation isn't some mechanical exercise like crunching numbers, where the "right" answer magically appears if you plug in the right figures into the right formulae.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Episode 122: You Know You Love Me, XOXO

Ever wondered what it's like to star in an episode of your favourite TV show? I had a little taste of that today. Without going into details, since everything is now fine, suffice to say that there was probably enough drama to fill at least one episode of Gossip Girl. We shall speak no further of this. On pardonne, et puis, on oublie. C'est simple. Errare humanum est, ignoscere divinum. After all is said and done, I'm just glad that we've come to an amicable resolution. Tout est bien qui finit bien! (I'm sticking a lot of French in so that Keegan can practise translating.) Rehearsals were okay, although I thought tonight's was supposed to be full-dress? Meeting was cancelled, so I did get to go to Varsity after all, which made me very, very pleased. Had much less to drink this time, and I suspect that drinking Purple actually makes me ill. I must say though, Alex is a pretty funny drunk to be around. We stayed till closing this time, when they did the turning on the lights thing that is such a buzzkill. We've already made plans to go back next Thursday, which would make for the third straight week. I think I've found my drinking buddies at last! Fun times...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Episode 121: Ramphal Rehearsal

I read out both of my paragraphs during this morning's seminar, and it's been suggested by Maureen Freely that I consider redrafting the one about the act of cruelty to give it greater immediacy. Now everyone thinks I'm a horrible boy because I squeezed a tadpole to make it burst. Haha! At least I admit to the horrid things I did as a kid. Today's meeting with Michael Hulse was particularly funny because he showed us this double CD someone had submitted. That guy is either really clueless or crazy, we couldn't decide which. I think he's developed a cult fanbase among us though, scarily enough. Anyway, I like it when we hold rehearsals in Ramphal because we can get bigger spaces that way. Who cares if we haven't actually booked the place? We managed to sort of run through the entire play, although I'm still a little puzzled as to why we can't actually get the actual venue for at least one rehearsal before the real thing. Ah well. The cast is getting the hang of it, but I'm a little concerned that they won't have practised enough with the actual props. The whole directing-over-Skype thing was pretty cool, and I think it's as good a solution as can be rigged, given the circumstances. We're going to have a meeting tomorrow right after rehearsal, but I'd much rather be at Varsity again with my coursemates.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Episode 120: Looking For A House (To Call A Home)

Bella's down with chickenpox, so now I'm the one directing rehearsals. This got off to a horrendous start because I was more than an hour late for tonight's rehearsal, as I was hunting for houses in Earlsdon. I wish Chloe would just take either of the ones we saw tonight, I really do. The rent is to die for, and all the objections she raised are things that can be lived with. On ne peut pas demander quelque chose qui n'existe pas! I just want a roof over my head, and today's landlord seemed decent. As much as I believe in comparison and looking for the 'best deal', I think there comes a point in time when the cost of searching outweighs the benefit of taking what you can get, which in this case is by no means a raw deal anyway. As for the title of today's entry, that's a bit of Adam's seminar infiltrating here. We were talking about Freud and the uncanny today, and I was thinking again about House Of Leaves, still one of the most unusual novels I've ever read. The idea of unheimlich, of the unhomely, is pretty fascinating. I could write a poem about that, I think, houses that are not homes. It sounds too glib and hackneyed, but I could spin something out of it, I'm sure. If we can't get either of tonight's houses, then I hope the person I've messaged on Facebook has a nice place to show us, even if it does cost nearly £20 more, and we're paying for things like TV that we initially said we didn't even need. Sigh. Si on est disposé à transiger, tout sera bien. Il faut qu'on soit réaliste!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Episode 119: Reality Bites

So we're all back in Warwick, safe and sound. I fell asleep before the aeroplane even took off, as I remember closing my eyes right after the live safety demonstration, and then opening them again less than half an hour before we were due to land. Evidently, trying to fall asleep in the airport proved impossible for me, but I did manage to read nearly half of Mamet's The Village. Have been slightly disappointed so far, although I can see bits and pieces of the puzzle that I know will make sense eventually, when they've finally fallen into place. Should really be reading Freud or getting some sleep, but instead, I'm watching Torchwood, which is one of the more addictive TV shows that I'm currently watching. I'm dying for Fringe and House to come back though, not to mention the new series of Skins is starting this Thursday! Can't wait for that. I also can't wait to get down to some serious reading. It feels like forever since I actually sat down and read something properly from cover to cover. Think I'll tackle a bit of poetry once I'm done with the novel. Need to catch up on my Spanish too...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Episode 118: Scenic Tour

Had to get up extremely early for our tour, but it was so worth it! The breathtaking views began at Dun Laoghaire, where waves crashed onto the craggy shore. Then we encountered the variegated vegetation at the Avoca handweavers. It snowed when we were going up the mountains, which made for some pretty awesome scenery shots, especially once we got to the peak overlooking the Guiness estate. That was freaking amazing, even if the driving wind meant if we ventured close enough to the cliff, we might have been swept off by a sudden gust catching us unawares. I decided to adopt emo poses in some of my photographs today, just for fun. It worked rather well, especially with the tinted glasses, even if the constantly blowing wind meant my hair was in a mess. Today's lunch was in an Irish pub in Laragh, which I really liked. I had roast pork with stuffing, and now I'm really curious as to what goes into the stuffing and how it's prepared. Took a lot of pictures today, mostly of landscapes and scenery. The tour guide was really good, in the sense that he knew how to spin the stories to make them interesting. Glendalough, our final stop, afforded us stunning scenes of two lakes, as well as the graveyard and assorted ecclesiastical buildings from another age. The tour was just really worth it!

Due to a mutual misunderstanding, we nearly ended up eating in a really posh restaurant when we got back to Dublin. Being poor, penniless, but also starving, students, we ended up sharing pizzas at Hungry Harry's, while watching live coverage of Obama's inauguration. We set about looking for a bar or a pub to chill in after dinner, and we eventually found The Palace, where the bartender was really friendly, and quite possibly, amused by this group of Singaporeans. I had whisky and cranberry juice, which was pretty nice. Add one more to the list of alcoholic beverages that I don't mind imbibing. There was a live band too, which reminded me of how beautiful Irish music can be. I guess there's always something bittersweet lurking in the music, which is greatly appealing because it's so true to what life is really like most of the time, neither perfectly happy nor perfectly sad, but a sort of imperfect hybrid, whose composite proportions shift as time passes. Time to listen to a bit of The Corrs, I think, as I settle in for a night in the airport with David Mamet's The Village and my iPod for company whilst everyone else goes to sleep. Thank God for the McDonald's that's open 24 hours today!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Episode 117: Dublin!

For a budget airline, the Ryanair flight to Dublin was surprisingly comfortable. No frills, of course, and it was pretty funny to watch a person demonstrating banalities like how to buckle the seatbelt. I'm quite sure the flight steward nearest to our row thought it was ridiculous too, and I'm pretty sure I caught a smile on his face as he fastened and unfastened the mock seatbelt. I managed to fall asleep for a good part of the flight, so that was okay. The hostel we're staying in, Abraham House, is actually pretty decent. It must be really popular too, since although Louisa had to pull out of our trip, someone still booked the now-free last bed in our room. Paul's a really friendly New Yorker though, and we've just spent the better part of the night listening to him telling us about all sorts of stuff. He knew P. Diddy before, well, he was P. Diddy, and although I'm not into that kind of music, it still sounds awesome to actually personally know someone famous. We spent some time walking around the city after we checked in, until we finally reached the Guiness Storehouse, which is a huge monument to the drink. I don't really like it, a little too bitter for me. Seeing how it's made was interesting though, and I didn't know Guiness is brewed in Singapore! We had a late lunch there, where I had a huge slab of bacon. Incredible stuff! As for dinner, we ate at this restaurant called Abrakebabra, which was totally not worth the money we paid for it, but the name of the chain totally reminded us of Amisha. Haha!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Episode 116: Electric City

I made it to my seminar! I did not have a hangover. I even did a little bit of the reading! There were only seven of us at the seminar though, but I still managed to get by without speaking more than a few words. Haha! Headed back to Westwood to pick up my final Gormenghast book from Amazon UK, and then went back to my room to try and get my laundry done. Spent most of the afternoon trying, but only succeeded after Shen Ting managed to get his in. I spent most of the time getting hooked on Torchwood, which has been fairly entertaining so far, although I think I still prefer Doctor Who, and I do wish British television shows ran for the same length as their American counterparts. Went to Whitefields to meet the rest of the people going to our The Culture Project social. We were really early for Electric City because Tempo was really empty. I kept my drinking to a minimum though, just one shot and one VK Apple, which I've decided I like better than VK Blue or VK Ice. Probably will stick to semi-heavy drinking at Varsity on Thursdays though, as the drinks are cheaper! I didn't really care for the music at Electric City, except for the occasional track that had a more thumping beat. Bella and Rahul were the ones who really got into the dancing, although we got a bit worried when we lost Rahul for a really long time. Turns out he was just at the bar getting a drink, where the queues, as expected, were phenomenal. Keegan, on the other hand, must have enjoyed himself thoroughly, being such a great hit with the ladies, thanks to his cool and funky hat. It would have been nice if a cast member or two had showed up though...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Episode 115: Varsity With The Creative Writing Crew

Spent a couple of hours at rehearsal before heading to Varsity, where I had a pint of Purple, one VK Blue, one VK Ice, and four shots. That's close to the maximum I've ever drunk in one sitting, which was either at Gotham Penthouse with Derrick, Vaish and Thong or at Café del Mar with my cell group. Tonight though, I've been hanging out with some of my coursemates, just as we planned on Facebook, and it's been a blast, even if the queue at the bar in Varsity grew ever more nightmarish as the night wore on. I know because I queued up twice to buy drinks. Anyway, we could very well end up doing this every week. We were coming up with all sorts of ways to work it into our Thursday seminars with Jim Byatt, but that just might have been our collective alcohol-fuelled imagination running wild. So now I've made it back to my room in one piece. I've realised that I process alcohol really quickly. Like within an hour, the world stops threatening to blur and what sets in is instead a throbbing head that varies in intensity. I've never had a hangover either, for which I should be grateful. I do think that after tonight though, I should drink less at Electric City tomorrow. Already told Tiffanie to stop me. I'll have to get up really early for our flight to Dublin anyway, so better not to run the risk of oversleeping.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Episode 114: En Français, S'il Vous Plaît...

This morning's seminar with Maureen Freely was good fun! Only about two-thirds of the class turned up, so it was pretty cosy. I'm quite glad with how my experiments with style worked out, especially the one where style doesn't match content. I'm quite excited about the new pieces that we're supposed to write for next week. Same goes for the Weird Fiction one, which is based on a little game of exquisite corpse we did at the very end of the workshop. My monster is pretty freaky. It's got a long-beaked head, a pair of tentacular arms, and three pairs of feet, which look like they should belong to a spider. I'm already rubbing my hands in glee. After this morning's seminar, a bunch of us headed to Kami Lounge for a drink and a bite. It wasn't really planned, at least not on everyone's part, but it was a pretty fun way to spend the rest of a foggy morning. I think we've now more or less decided that we're going to Varsity tomorrow, after talking about it on Facebook and again while we were in Kami Lounge, which should be fun, and for once, I'll actually be the first to get home from a night out! Am now trying to do my French homework, which isn't really that challenging. Haha! Have I mentioned that I love the song 'Mirror Error' that was featured on the latest episode of Gossip Girl? It's by The Faint, and I've started listening to their latest album. Fasciinatiion, which is quite different from the stuff I normally listen to. Go check the band out and you'll understand, if you know me well enough.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Episode 113: Start Your Day Right

The first thing I did of note today was watch the latest episode of Gossip Girl. Within two minutes, I was already telling two of my fellow fans, Eugene Chan and Samantha, to start streaming it. I'm sure they didn't regret my suggestion. I like how Jack Bass is turning out to be such an evil bastard because frankly, I'm a bit tired of the whole Rufus-Lily-Dan-Serena mess, and Blair and Chuck were getting boring, now that they're not sniping at each other constantly. Let's not even mention how Nate and Vanessa getting back together is such a total non-issue, and it really seems like Chace Crawford is just there to be a pretty boy and Jessica Szohr to screw things up for everyone else. So yeah, Jack brings back bite! I don't care if people think less of me for loving this show; it's just too frivolously riveting. I mean, it's like pure escapism, watching Gossip Girl. Can you imagine how entertaining it would be if we lived in a world where someone like Gossip Girl actually existed and all the latest rumours and scandals were just one SMS/MMS away? Haha! Bitchy thoughts. Anyway, I love how my Tuesdays start at noon now, with no translation class to attend. Finished most of my homework for tomorrow's EN124 seminar while waiting for the EN122 seminar to start, completing the last one towards the end of today's rehearsal. Now I'm trying to find a paragraph to write in Lovecraftian style, and I haven't the foggiest idea what to pick or how to do it!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Episode 112: Rewriting Script

I finished the essay with about an hour or so to spare, which was cutting it pretty close, and I'm not sure that this essay is going to be a First, although I still hope it will be, if only because I thought my argument was pretty sophisticated. More sophisticated than I had thought it would be anyway. I think I'm one of those people who are very good at coming up with catchy phrases, but not very good at actually having original thoughts, at least in an essay context. I always feel like the writers I'm quoting make my point so much more eloquently, so I just keep quoting more and more people, and my essay ends up looking like a patchwork that features everyone except myself. Ah well. Hope for the best! Have not done any of my creative writing, and I'm starting to think that perhaps I'm not much of a fiction person. Haha! I'm totally just making excuses for myself now. Need to finish three pieces for Maureen's seminar on Wednesday morning and one for China's workshop in the evening. For now though, I'm occupied with rewriting the script for The Culture Project. We're now at the third version, and it's a really substantial rewrite. Really want to finish tweaking all five monologues by tonight, but I might have to throw in the towel after just two. Oh well. Considering that I slept a total of three hours last night, I suppose I can be excused...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Episode 111: Essay!

Have just wasted an hour doing nothing but sorting my iTunes collection. Again. I made the big mistake of deciding to look for Christian music, and well, the rest is history. Am now seriously getting down to the business of writing the essay, and I've managed to get the introduction the way I want it. I've hit a wall though, as I can't seem to think of how to word the next paragraph so that it limits my field of argument without making me sound unwittingly ignorant. I have a bunch of quotes that I want to use, and they've basically helped me string together the rough outline of my essay. I'm worried that I'm using too much secondary material, but at this point, I suppose it's more a case of just getting it done and having something to hand in. I keep telling myself first year doesn't count, not really, but I'm too proud to allow myself to slack off just because of that. I'll finish this essay to my satisfaction, even if it means not sleeping tonight and missing Thomas Docherty's lecture tomorrow! I really, really, really will not procrastinate anymore for the next essay, which is due in Week 7. I will sit down next Saturday, decide what question I want to do, and start agonising over the introduction, even if it makes me sound really square, boring and typically Singaporean.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Episode 110: Han Dynasty

Went for the Han Dynasty buffet, which in my opinion, isn't as nice as Wing Wah's, but it costs half the price, so who's complaining? Wandered around Coventry for a bit after lunch, trying to find gloves. We started out at Debenham's, which I quite like, but it's really just a very expensive version of mass market fashion, so I doubt I'll be buying anything from there soon. Then we headed over to Primark, where Caleb ended up buying stuff and I didn't. So I still have no gloves. Sigh. Came back to my room, where I've been sifting through secondary material for my essay ever since. I doubt it's going to help much, and I know that I'm doing this just to avoid actually getting down to writing the essay, but well, I'll pull another all-nighter if I have to. Caleb very helpfully cooked dinner, which didn't turn out so bad, considering that his cooking skills are probably just marginally better than mine. Now have to find a way to finish my bottle of pasta sauce within the next few days because he didn't use it all up, although I suppose we actually could have. I'll be very glad when this essay is over and done with. Seriously, no procrastinating for the next one!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Episode 109: Dinner At Whitefields...

Went down to view the house with Chloe, Michelle and Samantha, but the tenants weren't at home, so we froze for nothing. Well, the girls went to Sainsbury's, so I guess for them that made up for the cold. I headed back to campus for dinner at Whitefields. Caleb's visiting over the weekend, so I brought him along to dinner. Had a lovely time there, just hanging out with everyone, not to mention the impromptu Romanian history lesson that I received. Despite Daniel's dire warnings, I'm sure we all enjoyed our Romanian meal of tochitură and mămăligă! I still insist that the latter, which is cornmeal, reminds me of tapioca, and not lemon sherbet, as Caleb suggested. We all ended up in Maria's room after Jason's yummy bread pudding, listening to Romanian music on YouTube and looking at pictures of the country. The Singaporeans have decided to reciprocate by cooking a Singaporean dinner next Friday, which I will unfortunately not be able to attend, since I'll (hopefully) be living it up at Electric City with The Culture Project people. Am still tweaking the introduction for my essay, but I'm hoping everything'll just fall into place miraculously over Saturday and Sunday. Somehow I have the feeling that I'm not going to get any sleep on Sunday night...

Happy Birthday, Mummy!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Episode 108: The Unbearable Elusiveness Of Beginnings

Got back my French test, for which I scored a respectable 85%. Am pleased with that grade, although I'm making the sort of minor careless mistakes that I really shouldn't be, given my background in the language. Sat through rehearsal, spending most of it trying to come up with a good opening sentence. Unsurprisingly, I failed, though I ended up being rather tickled by Laura's suggestions on Facebook. Seriously though, Facebook is possibly the worst thing to have ever been invented in relation to productivity. I spent more time checking it than forcing myself to think about the first sentence. I have managed to come up with one, but it's a little dry, especially when compared to what I used for my previous essay on 'Howl': 'Hell and literature are not unfamiliar bedfellows.' I am resisting the temptation, so far anyway, to open with an impressive quotation, as I know there's plenty of room for that later, and I simply don't believe that I'm incapable of coming up with a good opening hook. Between going to view a house and being invited to Whitefields for dinner, I doubt that I'll get much work done tomorrow. Perhaps if I'm really disciplined, and hence productive, in the afternoon?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Episode 107: Weird Fiction

Michael Hulse couldn't see us today, so I frittered my time away watching Little Nonya. (I've actually just finished the last episode, and I must say that I agree with Bernard. Disappointing! It felt like the writers were trying to tie up too many loose ends in too little time.) Met Samantha in the Arts Centre to catch up over lunch, which was immense fun. There was markedly less smoked salmon and cream cheese on my jacket potato than the last time though! China Miéville's lecture-cum-workshop this evening was pretty awesome. Then again, it's hard not to be impressed by someone who can talk intelligently and lucidly about something like weird fiction. Now I really feel like reading his novels. On top of the writing exercises from Maureen Freely's seminar in the morning, I've probably got more creative writing to do over the weekend than I've had in a long while. Not that I mind though. I quite prefer that to the 'Howl' essay that's been gnawing at me for the past couple of weeks in some way or other. I've decided that attempting to read all the secondary material I've gathered is quite a futile exercise, especially since I seem to work best when I already know what I want to say and I'm just cherry-picking quotes that do the job better than I could. So I'm going to mull over the introduction while falling asleep, and hopefully, an outline will come to me. If I can just nail the introduction, the rest of the essay will just be expanding and breathing life into it, so it has to be absolutely killer. Once again, I'm stuck trying to come up with a snazzy opening line. Well, snazzy to me anyway, I'm not entirely sure how impressed Adam Putz was by my previous one: 'Hell and literature are not unfamiliar bedfellows.' It sounds a bit too pretentious, now that I think about it!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Episode 106: I'm Reading Lovecraft!

Lecture got cancelled today! Only found out like a couple of hours before, but it's all good because I ended up having time to finish my e-mail interview for Education UK, post my 16-25 Railcard application, and deposit my money. Have also finished reading The Call Of Cthulhu and Notes On Writing Weird Fiction, and am now trying to finish At The Mountains Of Madness in the middle of rehearsal. I absolutely have to start reading my journal articles for 'Howl' tonight, otherwise I'll never be able to get started on the essay tomorrow afternoon. Was spacing throughout Adam's seminar today because I hadn't read the Said reading, but I did realise that 'Howl' actually ties in really well with Aristotle, Burke and Shklovsky, at least according to the sheet describing the unit in my Reading Pack. Will probably use that to jog my thought processes? It means I'll have to re-read the entire unit again, at least the relevant parts, but hopefully that'll result in a totally brilliant essay by next Monday. I really, really want to write something good, if only because the unassessed ones I did earlier have been decent, if not downright good, stuff.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Episode 105: MobTV Sucks!

Am in the middle of the first rehearsal for The Culture Project using the script, and it's pretty cool to hear people reading out something you've written. My attention is somewhat divided though, as I'm trying to read 'The Call Of Cthulhu' in preparation for Wednesday's Weird Fiction module. Have already read my assigned Orwell essay for Thursday's EN123 seminar, and I can definitely rattle on about it for three minutes, so that's something settled at least. I was hoping to start reading for my 'Howl' essay today, but I don't think that's going to happen now. The translation test in the morning was pretty okay, but I don't think I'll fail, which means the whole thing will simply fail to have its intended effect, i.e. to scare students into swotting for the final examination. I already made a few gaffes, including translating something that was supposed to be about plague as being about starvation, but even with negative marking, I think I should scrape by. Ah well. I've also subscribed to MobTV to get my final bunch of episodes of Little Nonya. I must say that MobTV is such a con job! For a paid service, the quality of the videos is terrible, and they look essentially like really bad TV-rips. The size of the video is pathetically small and Mediacorp doesn't even bother to edit out that irritating scrolling news ticker! The preview episodes are in fact better, since they don't have the news ticker, but because they're also episodes that haven't aired yet, Mediacorp somehow decided not to put in subtitles. Not that I can't understand the dialogue without them, but it just goes to show how bloody lazy the company is. Am definitely not renewing my subscription after three months...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Episode 104: Stressed!

Just got back from a meeting for The Culture Project. Have not studied for the test tomorrow, which consists of two sets of about 10 lines, one taken from Sir Gawain And The Green Knight and one taken from any of Chaucer's tales that we've studied. The small consolation is that glosses will be provided, so perhaps not all is lost. I still feel slightly guilty about walking into a test completely unprepared though, so I will try to read as much of Tolkien's translation of Sir Gawain And The Green Knight as I can tonight. It's more than 2000 lines, but I'm sure if I focus, I can do it. Heck, I could probably read the original Middle English text, but it doesn't seem worth the effort, not when the test doesn't count for the final grade and serves more to scare us into putting in more effort. If I don't fail, or barely scrape through, I will be quite disappointed. Need to start thinking really hard about 'Howl' again, and am a little worried that I won't have enough to say about its 'redeeming social importance'. At least I have a very clear idea of what constitutes a First to my tutor, so I'm not writing blindly. Would be nice to produce something utterly brilliant, especially by bringing in Aristotle, Burke and Shklovsky properly, instead of just contriving a few lines and twisting quotations to fit. We shall see...

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Episode 103: Exploring Kenilworth

The weather at present is so cold that even my French Connection jacket can't keep me warm. Also, the gloves I bought yesterday from Tesco are rubbish! The threads are coming out already, and it's not like I've been doing any sort of unusual stunts while wearing them. I'm going to take them down to Tesco tomorrow if I'm free and get a refund. If I can't, I'm going to complain until they give me a new pair, though I'd much rather be refunded because the gloves can't even keep my hands warm. Very disappointed! Headed down to Kenilworth today to grab a bite at Time For Tea. We waited really long for the food though! I thought my cheese omelette was not bad, but not good enough to really justify the long wait. Still, I might go back again. Funny thing happened, incidentally. We had to leave the table by sometime after 3 pm because it'd been booked. Turns out that it was Chernise and her friends, Wenxian being among them, who had booked the table. We found out because we all wound up taking the same bus back from Kenilworth. Haha! Like Eugene Chan says, he's constantly pushing people to explore places that they've never been to, so today, I discovered that you can take really pretty pictures at the lake in Kenilworth, and that it's a wonderful place to have a picnic. In spring or summer. I've started researching my essay on 'Howl', so that's a good thing. I haven't read enough for the translation test on Monday, so that's a bad thing. I'm quite prepared to fail it, since it doesn't actually count for my final grade, although it would be nice to actually be able to translate something on Monday rather than staring blankly at the given passage. Shall go do some reading out of desperation...

Friday, January 02, 2009

Episode 102: Exploring Coventry & Leamington Spa

I did manage to find the new KJ single. Unfortunately, his distribution label has gone bankrupt, so no iTunes for me. Adriana and Ranon have written their monologues, which means I will almost certainly rewrite the script to incorporate these monologues. Spent the afternoon exploring Coventry and Leamington Spa with Eugene Chan and Keegan, which was quite fun. Ate the obligatory Chinese meal at Noodle Bar, which was yummy, of course. Today, I saw parts of Leamington Spa that I've never explored during daylight hours. Like Jephson Gardens, which is really pretty. We even went into the Royal Pump Rooms, which was interesting, but not the sort of thing that makes for repeated viewing, that I must say. Went to Tesco after we got back to stock up on groceries and thereby stake a claim on space in the fridge, which I have successfully done with several plastic boxes of fruits. I found sliced mangoes at Tesco! They're pretty hard and sour, but what the heck, I'll take what I can find over here for now. Am now sorting through my iTunes collection again before going to bed. Managed to wash my sheets today, and realised that they're actually not really white, but bluish-white. Fascinating, isn't it?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Episode 101: Rewriting

Have finally got around to rewriting the script, only to realise that most of Bella's comments are more to do with staging, and as such require minimal changes to the dialogue. I've tried to trim anyway, since we're definitely running over an hour as it is, and I'm going to add in an additional scene she requested as well as change some of the lines to make the Chinese couple more 'balanced', but other than that, I don't think I'm going to majorly rewrite the script, at least not before I've seen it done at least once in rehearsal and can see what works and doesn't work from the point of view of the audience. Spent a good part of the day looking for new music, including that song from Wild Child that I found so catchy. I now know it's 'Let Me Think About It' by Ida Corr, as remixed by Fedde Le Grand. Unfortunately, I don't quite like the original, let alone the rest of her album! Have managed to find Ari Gold's albums, which I couldn't while I was in Singapore a few months ago. Am still searching for KJ's new single because I couldn't find it on iTunes for some reason. Eugene Chan's visiting over the weekend, so spent most of the afternoon talking after Keegan came over. Then Sarah came over and we cooked dinner, to use up everyone's groceries. Bella joined us for dinner, and now everyone's outside watching The Matrix Reloaded, while I rewrite the script. Poor me! Haha...