Thursday, April 30, 2009

Episode 220: Lacking Inspiration

Skipped French to attend the Isobel Dixon reading, which was a good decision on my part, since I really enjoyed the poems that she read. Feel like writing some of my own now, although the best I've got are fragmentary ideas floating about in my head. Perhaps I should write something about Singapore. Lots of potential angst in that direction, I would imagine. I want to do something thematic, as that'll help to generate work, I think. Went for the sonnet-writing workshop, which didn't actually happen because no one other than the Ugly Cousins turned up! So we sat around and were deliciously random. Came back to my room and bummed around on Facebook for a bit before heading to Varsity. For a change from the usual, we actually walked Sophie back to her room tonight. It was kind of fun to be weaving about on the pavement, and although I had twice as many drinks as I normally do, I'm still feeling fine. I just microwaved sausages and mashed potatoes because I randomly felt hungry, so now I'm eating that while catching up on Charmed. I've made it past the point when Prue dies, which I'd forgotten was so undramatic, and actually is a rather bad way to bridge the transition between Season 3 and 4. Still, watching people die on television is a little upsetting nonetheless...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Episode 219: Options Market

Have realised that if I get all the modules that I want (which I expect to), I will only have to be on campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the next academic year. Isn't that amazing? I'm assuming that all the lectures and seminars will more or less stick to their present timings, so if everything works out, next year is going to be awesome. It's a shame about the Wednesday though, but I suppose I could figure out something to do with that odd day in the middle. This doesn't include the Arabic course that Chernise and I have been planning on signing up for, which was on Mondays this year. Might have to change my mind about that, since it seems a little silly to come all the way down just for that on a Monday evening! We'll see. Learning Arabic would be cool, but I'd much rather find an Open Studies course that fit into the Tuesday/Thursday timetable. Now I'm all psyched up about Year 2, but I still need to get through the rest of Year 1, including that awful EN121 examination. Must read some poetry tonight, and get started on my portfolio, if not actually finish a few short poems. The clock is ticking! Also foresee that essay on Heart Of Darkness is going to sacrifice depth for breadth the way I'm going about it, so hopefully a bit more reading over the next few days will sort my thoughts out.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Episode 218: Canley/Earlsdon Cell

Slept till about noon today because I was so tired, and then I headed out to meet Mel at the Library. Was supposed to help her out with printing something, but she got it sorted out in the end, so we just caught up over lunch instead. She went to hand her work in after that, while I went back to the Library to borrow some poetry, to hopefully inspire me as I get started tomorrow on my 4000-word portfolio. Was struck once again by how little I actually read, even just within the genre of poetry, so I decided to take a chance and borrow something more contemporary: Chris McCabe's The Hutton Inquiry. I'll be sure to let you know if it's any good. Then I went back to my room and basically wasted my life away until it was time for cell. Yeah, I've finally joined a cell group at my church. I've missed that, the whole having this smaller group of Christians to meet with. I think I'm one of those people who pretend like they're fine being alone, and sometimes it's actually true, but at other times, it's kind of a lot better just to be around people. So I guess in the same way that I was grateful last term for the formation of the Varsity crew, this term, I'm grateful for finding a cell that I feel comfortable in. I really suppose I should thank Chernise when I next see her, since if I'd never gone to New Word Alive, I probably wouldn't have met John and been invited to join the cell.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Episode 217: Graduation Glamour

I finished, and even had time left over to read through the whole essay again and attempt to spruce it up a little, which resulted in me adding over 200 words that hopefully made my line of argument clearer. Am convinced that the essay is going to be a disappointment compared to everything else I've written for EN122 up to this point, but I suppose if I get some outrageously low mark, then it's a lesson to me, and one that I truly deserve. It's funny how all my academic life, I've been getting these little reminders that consistent work actually pays off, and I'm not really one of those people who can always produce great work at the last minute. Not that it doesn't happen, just that I shouldn't rely on it happening as an excuse to slack off! Graduation Glamour was fun, and I'm pretty glad I decided to go, even though I was ridiculously tired by then. I mean, I basically spent the EN123 lecture dozing off, although the screening of Beckett's Come And Go was intriguing. That and Laura and I scrawling out a conversation on my lecture handout was pretty amusing. I don't think I've done something like that since primary school, when we used to pass around pieces of paper and have conversations that way, so that our teacher wouldn't scold us for talking. We were obviously anticipating the era of MSN Messenger and its kindred. So I've uploaded all my pictures from Singapore Day and Graduation Glamour, as well as tagged the appropriate people. It's time to crash...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Episode 216: All I Have To Do Is Dream

I am totally on track for a sleepless night. Will definitely be able to finish, but I'm vacillating between confidence at having enough words and insecurity at not having words that make sense. It's a little too late to care, and I probably should have thought about all of this in a bit more detail, but I'm just going to have to trust that I'll reach 3500 words and that at least some of it will make sense, so that I won't fail this essay. It would have been nice to get a First, but hey, I guess it's not going to happen. Sucks to be me, right? The rest of the day has been lovely though. Made it to church and my new favourite worship leader was leading. Made plans to attend a cell meeting on Tuesday, which is good news because it means, well, I finally am going to be attending a cell regularly. It's about time, to be honest. Had lunch at Mike and Dorinda's place, and I had a lovely time there, in the little village of Burton Green. That's one of the things I like about bigger countries, that they have all these little towns and villages scattered across the country, between the cities. Urban sprawl is probably going to swallow up many of them, as it has in the past, but for now, they're still there. Can you imagine living in a world that's turned into one big global city, literally? Scares the hell out of me.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Episode 215: Dream A Little Dream Of Me

I did manage to finish reading The Magic Toyshop on the way to London. Even marked out all the pages that I may be able to use in the essay. Anyway, Singapore Day was fun, even though our coach driver was a total bitch! Ate a bunch of local food, which I haven't missed terribly, but it was a nice reminder of home, especially the Katong laksa. I really think the quality suffered as the day went on though, since the laksa wasn't as good the second time that I got it. Walked around with Samantha until Eugene came along, and then we hung out together for a bit before she became otherwise occupied. Kept seeing Yi-xun in the queue next to mine, so we never actually got to talk. I actually saw a lot of people around, so much that Samantha was complaining after walking about with me. All I can say is that we can't all be social butterflies all the time. The entertainment was pretty good, especially once the Dim Sum Dollies came onstage. My only problem with the likes of them is that their humour really appeals to the lowest of common denominators, at least for Singaporeans. So it's forever in danger of crossing the line between class and crass. Not to be snobbish or anything, but there's more in life that's amusing than poking fun at political figures. So after an afternoon of the requisite camwhoring, I spent the trip back trying not to fall asleep while reading some of my secondary sources. Have written about 300 words so far, but I don't think I'm going to continue tonight. Randomly, muruku is seriously addictive.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Episode 214: I Dreamed A Dream

Thank God for Fridays when my only lesson ends at 11 am and I can spend the rest of the day trying to do work. The more hours there are, the greater the chance that some of them will actually be spent being productive. Spent the day reading Freud's The Interpretation Of Dreams and On Dreams. The former is quite useless for purposes of my essay, while the latter will need to be tweaked to become relevant. Brilliant insight has occurred already though, which should speed up process of getting essay started tomorrow night. Have read nearly 50% of The Magic Toyshop, which is probably going to have to do, since I need to wake up at 6 am and given my current speed of reading, it's quite futile to continue. I'll just be sleep-deprived tomorrow and not be able to stay awake to write the essay after getting back from Singapore Day in London. I'm hoping that the other readings I photocopied, which I haven't read through at all, will prove to be more useful for the essay. Otherwise, I'm royally screwed and will have to resort to making up pretty much an entire essay from scratch within 48 hours. Even I don't have that much faith in my own powers of reasoning...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Episode 213: Just One More (And I'm Not Talking About Pints)

'Short People' for Charity Night went well. So now people know that I can actually sing. Haha! Got my French test results back today and I was very pleased with them. 88% for the listening bit and 90% for the written stuff. If only the rest of my degree were this easy! I am so doing a French language module for credit next year. I did end up leaving the rest of the essay till this morning, and I only got it done because whilst chatting with Laura on Facebook, she reminded me that Jim's seminar was at noon, when all the while I'd been thinking I'd only have to be on Central Campus at 2 pm, which is actually the time for my French class, not the EN123 seminar. Can't imagine what I was thinking! So out of desperation, I dashed off the remainder of the essay, and now I'm all set to begin on the EN122 essay tomorrow. That I will hopefully complete by Sunday night, even if we all know that's wishful thinking and I'm certainly going to be doing it right until before the EN121 lecture at noon. Don't you just love deadlines? I could have made a start in the evening, I guess, but that would have meant missing Varsity, and that's just inexcusable. To me, anyway. Will have to be more disciplined about the next set of deadlines in May. 10000 words!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Episode 212: The Elusive Sunshine Of The Sullied Mind

I'm meant to finish this essay by tonight, but it seems unlikely that it's actually going to happen. I haven't got the willpower to see it all the way through! Will probably leave a bit of it for tomorrow morning before Jim's seminar. Can't be arsed anymore really, need to get on with the EN122 essay on Carter and Freud, and I haven't got a lot of time to read the texts and write the essay. Plus I don't trust my brilliance enough to hand it in a day late and get marks docked. I do so want a First for this essay again. Would be such a shame to break the streak in this module, especially since I've pretty much figured out what Adam regards as good argumentation. I did get to have a lovely picnic with the usual suspects at Heronbank though, despite showing up late because of rehearsing 'Short People', so at least my day wasn't a complete failure. The sun kept getting hidden by the clouds, unfortunately, so the second half of the picnic was spent in the cold, with the only heat being generated by our saucy conversation. Lucy, we love you dearly, but you say the most outrageous things sometimes!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Episode 211: Someone Needs To Allegorise My Life

Despite having gone through two years of NS, I still lack a sense of urgency. I managed to avoid touching my EN121 essay all day by working on, get this, my French rédactions. So I've got three of those done, just needing to be printed. What I do not have is 2000-2500 words on the role of Prince Arthur in Spenser's allegorical schema in The Faerie Queene. That said, I have some key ideas that I mean to explore, so perhaps all is not lost yet. Yeah, I might even write the first paragraph after the introduction tonight! This is after messing around with the introduction turned the original first sentence into something that I'm going to end up saving for my penultimate or antepenultimate paragraph. Writing essays without drafting beforehand is quite an exciting experience, as you can see. The following Latin ditty is going to contribute to a significant point in my essay, but I'm not sure if I want to quote it in full:

Littera gesta docet,
Quod credas allegoria.
Moralia quod agas,
Quo tendas anagogia.

Seems much too pretentious to throw that in the essay, even for me. Plus it looks like a cheap attempt to pad the word count. Anyway, it's talking about the fourfold interpretive method of Biblical hermeneutics. If you understood the previous sentence without resorting to Google, please leave a comment. I want to be your friend and eat your brain. Thanks!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Episode 210: Je Bois, Je Crois, Je Souris, J'écris

Did something completely uncharacteristic and went to The Dirty Duck straight after lecture with some of my friends. It's a really nice place actually, although right now it's only accessible through a flight of steps winding between half-finished construction work. Am now writing the first of three rédactions. Will do one each over the next two days, just in time for Thursday's class. I think I seriously need to plan what I actually want to say in my EN122 essay though. I just spent some time reading a chapter from a book entitled Dreams In Late Antiquity, which seems tangentially related, but only if I can construct some sort of larger thesis into which to fit the material. Perhaps I should just read the original works that I'm meant to be referencing first, before moving on to secondary sources. Not a fun thing to realise, but at least there's still a week before this is due. It does look increasingly likely that I'll be skipping my Friday seminar though. Unless before sleeping tonight, I discover some brilliant train of thought while flipping through my books for the EN121 essay, and then mull over it and come up with a few solid paragraphs tomorrow. Time for another all-day Library session after tomorrow's lecture? Just realised that I lose one whole day because of Singapore Day on Saturday, so definitely need to get my act together, starting tomorrow. Right now, Friday's seminar is as good as skipped. First time I've deliberately cut class in university! Sigh...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Episode 209: Granado Espada Revisited

When my alarm went off this morning, my first instinct was to turn it off, go back to sleep and skip church. Glad I changed my mind though! Spent the afternoon after getting back from church on Granado Espada. Mostly throwing vis around to get stuff. Like a Veteran Fighter! Didn't actually do much in the way of playing though. Will do that when I get back to Singapore, or at least after I get my remaining essays behind me. So after munching on some chips, I'm going back to doing reading for the EN122 essay. Have decided that until I at least start writing something for that, I'm not going to worry about the EN121 essay, since that's not even assessed. Have to turn out three short rédactions for French on Thursday, so need to start thinking about that too. Maybe I'll actually try and get one done tonight before I sleep? A bit of a pain though, since I really don't need the practice that badly. I should stop procrastinating though, at least over the rédactions. How hard can it be to turn out three, each about 200 words long? Just pick a topic, log into Authentik Digital, and grab some articles related to the topics we've covered so far. Sigh...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Episode 208: Pizza Party!

It seems like every day where I accomplish something substantial in the way of work needs to be balanced immediately by a day in which nothing gets done at all. Spent the later half of the morning and the start of the afternoon practising 'Short People' for Thursday and singing random songs in the Music Centre. (Gutted to realise I might not make it down to the first Varsity night of next term!) Thought about reading The Magic Toyshop when I got back to my room, then changed me mind and started on The Interpretation Of Dreams. Didn't get too far with it though because I got distracted by Granado Espada. Yeah, I've logged in again after ages of doing nothing with my account. Sometimes I wonder why I bother, seeing as I'm not exactly a hardcore gamer. Still, the graphics are nice, I love a good deal of the game's soundtrack, and I've still got a lot of G-Points to spend, so I might as well stick with the game for a while more. Anyway, so after not doing any work, I allowed myself to go to Keegan's pizza party, where we had Domino's and the conversation was delightfully random. It was very amusing to discover the random facts that comprise part of Keegan's psyche. Unfortunately, Keegan, you're still not getting any money even if my biography of you does come out!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Episode 207: Productivity Strikes!

Just got back to my room after printing out the CM1 portfolio. Yay! I hope what I've done is enough to pass, partly because I think the whole thing's just rubbish anyway and I want it to be over and done with. Hopefully, the next WSC module that I take will be more useful and have assignments that are actually meaningful to me. Now it's on to another essay over the weekend. I'm not sure which I should start on though, the EN121 or EN122. One's more urgent, but one's more important. Right now, after finally putting two pieces of work to rest over three days, I really feel more like just taking a week-long break, but understandably, that's not exactly feasible. I think I've run out of things to say tonight. Oh no, wait, I haven't. I had the apple tart at the Arts Centre again, after such a long time. Somehow, it's never tasted as good as when I first tried it, all those months ago in autumn. Why is this so? Is this just me getting tired of familiar things? I haven't been eating regularly again this week. Must start cooking again. No, I'm not becoming anorexic. I just can't be bothered to boil pasta and I didn't leave the Library until after Costcutter was closed.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Episode 206: And Soon Another Will Follow

Have decided that I will venture to the Library once more tomorrow and get my CM1 portfolio done. Have started by completing a few more of the assignments that involve personal response and hence don't require much in the way of citations. Will almost certainly be able to finish the portfolio tomorrow, especially if I'm going to stay as late as I did the last time. Will bring along stuff to read for the EN122 essay, since that would be the most urgent piece of work once the portfolio's done. (The EN121 essay doesn't really count because it's unassessed!) I guess doing work isn't as hard as I thought it would be after all. Either that or there's enough pressure now to motivate myself. I must say though, the portfolio for the WSC module is really like Project Work in JC all over again. Maybe it's just this module, but I can't help feeling like it's possible to not attend the sessions at all, do a bit of reading and then the assignments, and still pass, without having absorbed any of the supposed lessons at all. I mean, I just faked a Gantt chart that supposedly maps out my work schedule for Easter vacation and the first three weeks of Summer Term, after the break is almost over and there's no way any work I did thus far even vaguely corresponds to the timeline in the chart. Sounds familiar, anyone?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Episode 205: One More Done!

I've just finished The Warwick Review essay. I don't think it's very great, certainly not up to my usual standard of work, but I can't be bothered to continue tweaking something that's only worth 10% of a module for which I already have decent marks for 20% and have a good idea of what it'll take to nail at least another 30%. At least I know the first third of the essay is making some sort of argument, according to Eugene. The remainder descends into narration interspersed with some original thought. I like my triangle metaphor a lot, even though I don't think I've done it much justice. Still, if I keep obsessing, I'm never going to be able to move on to any other work, and the situation, while hardly dire, should still be brought under control while the deadlines are still more than a week away. Will go print out the essay and the portfolio after I'm done with this entry, and then I'm finally leaving the Library! I've been here since about 1.30 pm, after lunch with Jerrick at Café Xanana. It was the first time I ate there and I love the Black Forest sundae there now. The prices are a lot steeper than on the rest of campus though. Sigh...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Episode 204: Housing 1, Essay 0

Am trying very hard to continue with The Warwick Review essay, and I've managed to get further, but still not enough to allow me to finish this tonight like I'd originally planned to. Was out all day settling housing and wandering around Coventry. At least there was Starbucks and cinnamon to end off the afternoon! I've confirmed that Primark leaves me completely cold. I don't care about the ethical issues, since if you want to be genuinely bothered by stuff like that, there's going to be a lot of the modern world that you can't accept anyway. I just find the stuff it sells cheap, in both senses of the word. It's basics, I understand that, but I'm totally beyond basic apparel right now. The only thing I have from Primark is a hoodie, and that only because it has a nice geometrical design. Wandered into Topman for a bit, hoping to pick up some bargains since they were having a sale. No such luck. The only thing I wanted was a pair of faded black skinny jeans, but you won't believe how skinny it was. It was more like wearing tights, although I must admit it brought out my calves quite nicely. Haha...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Episode 203: Hopelessly Distracted

You know you're hopelessly distracted when you close Facebook, switch to Microsoft Word for one second, and then open Facebook again because no sentence pops into your mind immediately. Have read everything that I had planned to for this essay though, so I'm just waiting for a clear line of argument to crystallise. The trouble is with condensing everything I've read into something coherent and sensible. Condense too little, and I've got an essay that jumps all over the place more than Hayden Christensen in a bad film. Condense too much, and I'll wind up like Oliver Twist. Please, sir, can I have some more? Word count for the essay is currently 246/2500. That's nearly 10% done! Amazing. I'm sure this essay can be finished in one sitting tomorrow after I get back from signing housing stuff; it's simply a question of whether I can be disciplined enough to do it. On a happier note, Twitter and Vodafone are playing nice with each other again! So I've added my handphone back to my account and will soon be happily tweeting again. Hopefully, one of my updates tomorrow will be to announce the completion of The Warwick Review essay...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Episode 202: Frankie's Birthday Surprises

So annoyed! I just lost my continuous streak on Spot The Difference even though I was clearly clicking on a difference that was there. Not the first time this has happened to me! Admittedly, I think this is one of those games that you grow tired of once you hit a sufficiently high score, so maybe now's the time for me to stop playing. It would be one less distraction on Facebook anyway. Just did a bit of surfing because I've got my first sentence of the essay down and consequently feel irrationally accomplished. This is just to say that celebrities are scary, scary people. Just google Jocelyn Wildenstein and you'll see what I mean. If even a fraction of what I've been reading and seeing is true, fame is even more of a curse than I thought. John Waller is my newest Christian music discovery. Randomly, just became his 1000th Facebook fan. Looking for new music is kind of just an excuse to avoid writing my essays though, so I guess I should do more of the latter and less of the former. Haven't got much time left...

Went to Time For Tea for Frankie's first birthday surprise after Easter service. It was quite funny, as we arrived at Time For Tea earlier than the people who were running there from campus. I ordered a full English breakfast this time, which was an excellent choice! Have decided to avoid the milkshakes in future though, since the texture's all wrong. We headed over to the playground after that, where almost everyone had a turn on the swings for some reason. So we spent a lot of time there, which indirectly resulted in us having to wait slightly under an hour for the bus back to campus, in turn delaying Frankie's second surprise at Tocil. The cast for that was roughly double that of the earlier one, so just picture all of us squashed into one of Tocil's kitchens. It was fun in its way, although I think the idea of birthday surprises has kind of lost any sort of meaning among us by now!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Episode 201: I Need A Longer Attention Span

I'm halfway through my reading for The Warwick Review essay and have high hopes of getting started on it tomorrow, after getting back from church. I managed to stay off my laptop for one whole hour, just reading, before I caved and switched it on again. I know, pathetic. Before all that, I was watching episodes of Ghost Whisperer, Dollhouse and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I still don't see where the Jim/Sam storyline is going, now that he remembers who he is, but I'm glad that they're back together. I just wish they'd stop playing The Script's 'The Man Who Can't Be Moved' so much! It's getting annoying. Dollhouse is getting more complicated, and one can only hope that Fox gives it enough time to develop instead of cancelling it because of low ratings. I like that Echo is clearly shaping up into Alpha's good twin. Was less impressed by the season finale of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Felt like a blatant attempt to get a ratings jump to save the series. So although new questions have been raised that need answering in a third season, I wouldn't be surprised if this is one show that doesn't survive. Randomly, why does adding rum to my Coke make it fizz more and the fizz take longer to disappear?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Episode 200: Take That, Microsoft

I reformatted my primary hard drive because there were just too many things going wrong. Bluetooth driver, Windows Media Player, JavaScript. All not running properly! So after spending a few hours this morning trying to figure it out, I gave up and decided to use the Dell restore partition and start from a clean slate. So I spent the rest of the afternoon reinstalling software, and so far, none of the problems have resurfaced and virtually all the software that was on the laptop before has been reinstalled. Shen Ting suggests that there was some file corruption, and I'm inclined to agree, except I couldn't trace the source. That and resorting to the restore partition was much more straightforward a solution. As if to remind me of how prone technology is to failing, Vodafone is screwing with my Twitter account. Any update I send by SMS somehow keeps resending itself over and over. I only realised when Vaish told me. It's not stopping, so I've had to temporarily disconnect my handphone from my Twitter account. So I didn't get any work done today, but at least I've managed to stabilise my laptop. Eugene says I should just switch to using a Mac and eliminate all my problems, but I hardly consider that an actual solution. That and it's only a matter of time before people start targeting Mac instead of taking cheap shots at Windows...

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Episode 199: One Down, A Lot To Go

I finally shaved after three days because I went out for groceries and didn't want to look scruffy. I swear that eating less for the past couple of days has made my face leaner. Probably more a function of not having junk food around. Will have to be more disciplined about rationing what I've bought today. On the work front, I tweaked a couple of lines in the script and finished the commentary. Sum total of my achievement today. I think the script's not bad as it is, but I've sent it to Bella and Eugene for feedback. The accompanying commentary is a little rambling, and I ended up writing too much, so I excised bits here and there, and hopefully it's better now. Now that the EN124 portfolio's out of the way, tomorrow I can continue reading Women Editing Modernism and possibly even write a paragraph or two for The Warwick Review essay. Need to decide what's my focus going to be, but I'll only know for sure after reading all the relevant chapters in the book. Hopefully, writing this essay will take until, at the very latest, next Tuesday. Then I can start working on everything else. Sigh...

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Episode 198: ...And Then We Met Them

As you can see from the title of this entry, the radio play has been retitled. Again. I am going to finish it before going to bed though. Showed the first three scenes to Bella, and she gave some sensible suggestions again, so I've edited and will carry on writing from there, whilst finishing the last of Doctor Who. Whoever scripted the Series 4 finale was good, although two episodes might not have been enough to do everything justice, given that they were basically the mother of all crossover episodes. We're not going to sign the contract tomorrow anymore, but I still need to get food, so I'll have to get dressed and make a trip down to Iceland and Tesco just for groceries and snacks. I have also decided that I really can't be bothered to churn out a couple of poems just to include them in this portfolio, so I'm going to extend the radio play back to what I originally planned, i.e. five scenes. Would really like to get this done, and then I'll write the 500-word commentary for it when I wake up, which won't be a problem at all because I'm just going to rattle on about how the idea developed as I went along. Then I'll (hopefully) start on The Warwick Review essay after coming back from Cannon Park Shopping Centre. That's my plan for tomorrow anyway...

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Episode 197: Technology = Fail

Another day of blue screens of death. I'm beginning to suspect that my hard drive might be failing. I can't say for certain, but I've backed up my documents, music and pictures, just to be safe. Nights like these, William Gibson's cyberpunk future à la the Sprawl trilogy never seemed more distant. It's a bit odd, as I've managed to start up and shut down the laptop a couple of times with no problems. I've realised that the crashes seem to occur when I'm multitasking on the laptop. Do you think that might be the problem? Odd that it should only start being a problem recently though. Have already tried uninstalling some software that I seldom use, to no avail. Oh well. I could try doing a reinstall of the OS, I guess, but that's such a hassle, I'd rather keep my fingers crossed and hope the problem goes away as mysteriously as it came. Have I mentioned that Windows Media Player has also stopped working on my laptop? I discovered that a week ago when I tried to play my MobTV videos before the subscription expired. Unfortunately, Microsoft has integrated Windows Media Player so tightly with Vista that there's no easy way to uninstall and reinstall it. In some sense, I think Vista has been a step backward as an OS, so hopefully, Windows 7 will resolve some of the issues. Given that it's Microsoft though, I'm not too hopeful. Still not switching to a Mac though...

Monday, April 06, 2009

Episode 196: Two Out Of Four's Not So Bad, Right?

Finished Scene 2 of what is now called Hello & Goodbye. I showed it to Bella, she made some suggestions, and so I tweaked it a little. Have mapped out the plot for the remaining two scenes, but I'll probably write them tomorrow. Have sort of started on Scene 3, but I'm more inclined to go to bed or read a book than finish off the script. I'm quite pleased with the two songs I picked out to end Scenes 2 and 4 though! The second song is truly inspired, Natalie Imbruglia's 'Goodbye'. So in terms of my own vague, personal timeline for completing my work, I'm still right on schedule. Or as much as you can be when there isn't actually any dates set in stone anyway. I'm tentatively aiming to finish the play by tomorrow, then bang out two poems and the commentary for the whole portfolio on Wednesday. That'll leave the rest of the week to get started on either The Warwick Review essay or the EN122 essay. If not the actual writing, at least the research! I've probably said it before, but next year, I'm going to be so much more disciplined about deadlines, Year 2 me won't recognise Year 1 me at all.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Episode 195: Gearing Up...

I had the weirdest dream last night. It started out in some facility that was a cross between concentration camp and school. Everyone was in a cooking class, grinding spices. I remember using a plate to try and fill a pot with hot water. Anyway, I knew the cooking instructor was some evil entity and wasn't too surprised when the lights suddenly went out. Oddly enough, everyone else must have been thinking the same thing because they fled without hesitation. The exit was strangely an identical replica of the RI back gate. The dream then turned into an inconclusive chase sequence that began in Bishan but soon changed locale to an urban sprawl loosely based on Hong Kong. The last thing I remember was trying on my grey G2 Black Label shirt in front of a computer screen, playing some really inane game. Am now editing the first scene of my radio play, in light of a suggestion Alex gave last night for possible plot developments. I'm going to change the title too. I guess I was too hung up on having the plot unfold in a certain way, and that was keeping me from moving forward because the beginning was good, the planned ending was fine, but the middle, I just couldn't seem to see it happening. I may have a better idea now for a more realistic sequence of events, and perhaps I will write four scenes instead of five and add on some performance poetry instead. Will get into the swing of things fully tomorrow. Today will be simply for reading, unless some truly brilliant bit of dialogue comes to mind after my editing of the first scene.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Episode 194: NWA Day 6

The ride back from Wales was less wearying than the ride there, partly because we stopped midway at a service station for about 45 minutes. I started reading Sir Gawain And The Green Knight in the original Middle English, but it's proved to be slower going than getting through Tolkien's Modern English translation. The latter really helped to make the structure of the poem apparent, something that's hard to keep in mind when you're struggling through the incomprehensible vocabulary of the Gawain-poet. Have been busy sorting out things like laundry and clearing e-mails since I got back. I can't believe I got more than 400 spam e-mails in less than a week! Caught up on my TV shows too, with Gossip Girl and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles turning up brilliant episodes. House was quite disappointing. While narrating the story from the patient's point of view provided some initial novelty, the episode overall was somewhat tedious, although I loved the exchange between House and Cameron when after her display of astuteness he goes, 'Why did I fire you again?' and she replies, 'You didn't. I quit.' Can I just say that one scene completely encapsulates why the new team is so boring in comparison with the old team?

Friday, April 03, 2009

Episode 193: NWA Day 5

Have just finished washing up all the crockery and utensils. Mummy would be so proud. Went for the final session for the rough guide to handling the Bible, but gave the medical ethics one a miss because I was going to head down to the beach with the other Warwick people and the issue being covered (cloning and stem cell research) was something I'd pretty much figured out to my own satisfaction. In the end, I bumped into Jasmine and followed her to meet some other Singaporeans who were on the International Student track. Reuben was there, but he didn't recognise me from the MOE Bible study group until at the very end, after I took off my glasses. He blamed my transition lenses. If you say so! Randomly, I've probably been eating better the whole of this week than in the entire past term. I mean, I've been having breakfast! I quite like the idea of breakfast actually. Cereal, milk and sugar have proved to be rather palatable. One more food idea to implement after I get back from Singapore, where I tend to not have breakfast at all, now that there's neither school nor NS to function as a disincentive for waking up in the morning.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Episode 192: NWA Day 4

Attended the seminar on medical ethics again, focusing on abortion this time. It's curious to learn that the same institution, i.e. the British Medical Association, opposes euthanasia but supports abortion. To be somewhat reductionist, whether you support abortion or not depends on when you consider life to begin. It used to be that statements of medical ethics agreed with Christians that life should be protected from conception. However, such statements have by and large been amended to be more vague. Personally, I had my doubts that abortion ought to be completely prohibited. Surely in cases of rape, or to save the mother's life, exceptions were permissible? The speaker gave some statistics though, which suggest that abortion for physical health reasons is startlingly rare, and in the case of rape, most victims actually choose to carry the child to term. Whatever the case, Christians should believe that life is sacred from the moment of conception, and hence, abortion is always regarded as the intentional taking of an innocent human being's life. On a whim, decided to drift along with some people from my caravan to an apologetics seminar. The speaker used to be a Zen Buddhist monk! I quite enjoyed his talk, good balance between humour and teaching. Randomly, I've been introduced to the humour of Family Guy. It feels like The Simpsons without as much brainlessness? Still, not the sort of thing I'd go out of my way to catch on TV.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Episode 191: NWA Day 3

Just got back from the beach again. We were going to throw someone into the water because it's his birthday. Well, he sort of offered to jump in in the first place, but the tide was coming in and it looked too dangerous, so we all ended up on the rocks instead, watching the stars. I did make it to the seminar on medical ethics this time, which covered euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide today. It was quite useful, actually helped me to clarify my position on the issue. I used to be more of less in favour of it, but having seen the arguments presented on both sides within a Christian framework, I've changed my mind. Picked up a load of handouts from the Christian Medical Fellowship too, covering a range of ethical issues. It's interesting to see what the Biblical response is when it comes to contemporary issues of medical ethics. I think the most important thing I picked up was that in the Bible, murder is specifically defined as the intentional taking away of an innocent human being's life, the key words being 'intentional' and 'innocent'. Was so curious about the whole Christian ethical perspective that I wound up back at the caravan, reading the CMF Files rather than attending another seminar in the afternoon. Although I'm never going to be a medical doctor, I'm still keen on working out these ethical dilemmas for myself. After the evening celebration, Israel and I went to see a one-man enactment of the gospel of Mark. It was an incredible performance, although I was a bit perplexed by the ending, until I remembered that in certain manuscripts, the last couple of verses of Mark don't appear, so I suppose there was some justification for ending his performance at that point, with the women running from the empty tomb.