Saturday, October 31, 2009

Episode 404: Lazy, Anti-social Weekend

Was assiduously doing my French homework last night, when Keegan unceremoniously dragged me off to Coventry for dinner. (Yes, Keegan, it is still your even if Samantha made you do it. You could have said no. Man up next time.) We had Nando's, which was rather underwhelming for me taste-wise, though it was the first time I've had it. Maybe I just thought it would be spicier? Was absolutely shattered by the time we got back, so I only rolled out of bed past noon today. Not proud of it, but if you told me to crawl right back into bed now, I would actually agree and sleep till it was time to wake up for church tomorrow. I'm not a Halloween person really, or else I would be clubbing at Kasbah with the Singaporeans. To be honest, I don't feel like doing anything much this weekend other than reading, writing and watching TV. Might not even go out for lunch tomorrow after service! Am running low on groceries anyway, so it might be time to make a trip to Tesco. It's either that or do it on Monday just before the meeting for the musical ensemble members, assuming that's still happening. Must remember to check with Tiffanie...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Episode 403: So I Woke Up For My 9 AM Seminar...

George Ttoouli said nice things about 'An Honest Mistake'! He said it could do with some tweaking, but at least it wasn't total rubbish. Now have to write 1234.5 words for next week. Yes, 1234.5 because we're just strange that way and think our stories should end mid-word. Costcutter was completely out of Ben & Jerry's, which was very upsetting. Oh well. Better luck next time. Came home to watch FlashForward and The Vampire Diaries instead of hanging about on campus. The former is completely turning into the new Lost, now that Dominic Monaghan has showed up. There's also the part where the characters throw up theories that are never properly addressed, which was Lost's undoing for me and the main reason why I'm not watching it anymore until the final season is over. Let's hope FlashForward manages to escape that trap. The Vampire Diaries, on the other hand, is finally starting to pick up the pace! Methinks they should turn a few more characters into vampires, just for the fun of it, as I'm totally over the star-crossed lovers storyline. Anyway, don't you think the current TV climate is just begging for a revival of The Dresden Files? That always seemed to me like a series that got the short end of the stick because it arrived at the wrong time, culturally speaking.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Episode 402: Return Of The Varsity Crew

Was very productive today, relatively speaking. I wrote another pantoum during David Morley's seminar in the morning. Just on the spot, writing 10 lines down, shuffling them into position and editing. The result was surprisingly okay for the amount of time it took. Then I had a couple of hours to kill between my last class and the publicity team meeting, so spent some of that chilling in the Arts Centre with friends and then did some work when most of them left for their seminars. I wrote four flash fictions based on templates from Georges Polti's The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations while Alex read some Coleridge. Didn't take much time because I was typing into my handphone. Typed them out to be printed, which ended up with me rewriting portions of them, the results being good enough for an exercise, I suppose. Still had about an hour or so after my meeting before it was time for Varsity, so I went back to the Library to do some more work. This time, I wrote my film review of Coraline for the Student Cinema, before being ambushed by Laura and heading off to the pub. It was almost like old times, except the place was full of freshers. Haha!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Episode 401: Budget Shopping (By My Standards)

Went shopping today at Topman with Dan. It was quite random, to me anyway, when he sent me an SMS in the morning, as I hadn't figured him for a Topman guy. Then again, neither am I. It's just that I suddenly felt the need to add a few tees to my wardrobe that didn't come off the Threadless website. So I bought four of those V-neck tees that have ribbing around the holes for your neck and arms that's a different colour from the tee, which just screams Topman to me. At two for £10, I didn't feel too guilty. There were also tees that had different colours for neck and arms, and even different colour for neck and each arm. Those were too bizarre for my taste. Also bought a hoodie because it was green and white, and on sale at a price that's considered a steal for Topman. I caved and bought a new bag from there as well, since I've been looking for something made from a material that won't cause my tees to pill. In any case, I've been feeling the need to splurge a bit, though I've kept to my promise of not buying any books until I've read more of the ones that I already own. I did want to go to Costcutter after the AGM to get a few tubs of Ben & Jerry's, but I guess I'll have to hold out till Friday and hope that they're still on offer then. In case you thought I spent my entire day being frivolous, I also wrote two poems, a pantoum and a ghazal, which leaves me with only three or four 100-word flash fictions to write before I've completed this week's work. My plan to work (fairly) consistently seems to be working out so far, pun not intended.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Episode 400: Bejeweled Blitz Obsession!

I finally managed to finish the villanelle, which wasn't as ambitiously experimental as I'd been thinking of initially (which means it went from mildly experimental to barely), but at least it's done. Having trouble with the ghazal though. I'm also slightly obsessed with Bejeweled Blitz again on Facebook, which is entirely Alex's fault for tempting me to smash his high score. I've done it, by the way, much to his dismay. Was a quarter of an hour late for LL209 today because I missed the bus I usually take, and then the next one took forever to arrive. It's partly my fault for taking forever to get around to showering and leaving the house, but goodness, why can't the buses be more reliable? On the other hand, it's not like I really missed a lot. It sounds terribly arrogant, but I don't think I'm learning that much in my French lessons, beyond improving my listening comprehension since the tutor speaks in French most of the time. There's this girl in my class who is so earnest, I don't know whether to be annoyed or impressed with her. She actually raises her hand to voluntarily answer questions! What kind of person does that?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Episode 399: Dry Spell?

I've realised that for the past couple of days, I just can't seem to follow through with the poems that I start. I had to abandon a villanelle on Saturday, and tonight, I've tried to write and abandoned both a ghazal and a villanelle. It's mildly annoying to not be able to flesh out the idea fully, especially this villanelle, as it seemed rather promising initially. It may well be salvageable, but I think I'll need to sleep on it. This is all probably to do with the fact that I've been particularly under the weather these past few days, and my brain is calling it quits. I hope it gets its act together by Wednesday though. Attended the Robert Gray reading this afternoon with Dan, and it was kind of a weird experience. Gray read out a commissioned piece that was still a work-in-progress, and then invited us to critique it. Excuse me? Pass judgement on an established poet's work in a public forum when I'm practically a nobody in comparison? I don't think I'm up to doing that. That said, I did enjoy select moments in the poem while disliking it on the whole. I would be more specific, except I somehow managed to lose the photocopy Michael Hulse handed out. The perils of sticking things in your back pocket and having too skinny a butt to keep them there.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Episode 398: Third Time's A Charm?

Haven't been in the mood to read or write because of my head, which still feels like a blocked sink, but I did manage to bang out about 150 words for my French homework. Will have to work on the poems and flash fictions over the next couple of days, even though I'd hoped to complete at least the ghazal by tonight and finish the Coleridge reading for Thursday's lecture. Argh. Being sick is awful. You know, that physical state when you're not ill enough to be incapacitated and collapsed in bed, but neither are you fighting fit (or fit as a fiddle, if you prefer a musical simile instead). I think I might be on the road to recovery though, especially if I have a really good night's sleep tonight. Anyway, I took a leap of faith today. Or two. Or three. Have already got one positive outcome, so that was a good start. Three out of three is a bit much to hope for, but hey, a guy can always dream. Right? Was feeling a bit upset earlier in the evening because of some stuff that hadn't gone as I'd expected, but there's nothing I can do about it except try again, through some other avenue.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Episode 397: My Head Feels Like Cotton Wool

Oh dear. I'd forgotten how annoying it is once the nose gets involved. Spent most of the lesson today on the verge of feeling sorry for myself, except for the last couple of minutes when I got an idea for my villanelle and tried to work it out, except that didn't get very far. A hearty dinner involving all the five major food groups helped to stave off misery for a little while, but now I'm sitting in front of my laptop, officially feeling sorry for myself. Dinner was very heavy because I'd hardly eaten anything all day, which is crazy, but it's just one of those bad habits that I've picked up from living without parental supervision. (Well, to be fair, even when I'm in Singapore, I'm prone to skipping breakfast if my mum's not at home to make sure I eat something.) I suppose all I really need is a good night's sleep, I think, and I won't be so cranky tomorrow. I was going to do some work tonight, but my head's going fuzzy and I think it would be quite pointless. The villanelle had reached a dead end anyway, and I'm considering abandoning the current one and starting over with something new. The impasse is mostly because I think I'm not going far enough with bending the rules of a villanelle, although I've already sort of tried. I am no Elizabeth Bishop, unfortunately.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Episode 396: Happy Birthday, Sophie!

The throat infection has finally progressed to affect my nose as well, like I'd been expecting it to for the past few days. It's going to get worse before it gets better, so it's just as well this is happening over the weekend. I took a nap before going to Sophie's party because I just felt so sleepy on the way back home. Ended up waiting about half an hour in the cold for the 12 to Leamington, followed by a significant trudge to Montrose Avenue. (I love you, Sophie, but you live in a ridiculously inaccessible part of Leamington!) There are days, nonetheless, when I wish I lived in Leamington, just because it'd make it that much easier to hang out with people and stay out late. It is a bit annoying having to always bear in mind when the last 12 is headed to Coventry! Tonight was full of really random things though. Like being huggable and people on the floor. Like bumping into John on the bus back. Like being grabbed from the seat behind by Adeline, whom I proceeded to follow around Earlsdon until she made it to Tony's place, which is where I've left her because I have to wake up for my Open Studies lesson tomorrow and I need the sleep. Hope she gets back fine...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Episode 395: Sleepy, Sleepy, Sleepy...

We were writing ghazals today in EN238, which was good fun. David Morley said mine had intensity, the kind that makes you want to know who the poem is addressed to. Of course, I was completely making it up, but it sounded honest. The EN227 lecture and seminar helped to clarify my thoughts on 'Beachy Head', and I feel like I'm in a better position to appreciate the poem now. Hung around on campus for a while more with Alex, Kathy, Laura and Sophie, before heading back home to finish the story for tomorrow's seminar. Managed to do that, but I'm not quite satisfied with it, although Samantha likes it. It'll have to do. Baked myself some chicken for dinner before heading to the Ugly Cousins social. Didn't head over to Leamington with them because I had six hours of sleep yesterday, I'm probably going to have six tomorrow before my arduous fieldwalking session on Saturday, so I figured I should try to get in at least seven tonight. Having finally got Internet this morning though, I'm finding it hard to get myself off my laptop!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Episode 394: Happy Birthday, Dan!

Managed to finish reading 'Beachy Head' for tomorrow's lecture and seminar, but I have no idea what Charlotte Smith's point is. I thought the ending was interesting, but have absolutely no idea how it relates back to what she was dealing with at the beginning. I mean, the Blake reading from last week made more sense and I thought that was somewhat perplexing already. All the botanical and ornithological glosses are kind of irritating as well. Bought four cartons of Innocent smoothie today, which made me happy. I'm convinced that drinking those has no discernable impact on my health, but they're delicious anyway. Had no idea what buses stopped near the Dragon Phoenix Restaurant, so I ended up walking to Dan's birthday dinner from my house. It's a nice place, kind of like a homelier version of Wing Wah, in the sense that the variety of food is more restricted, but the place feels less impersonal somehow. It's actually fairly straightforward, literally, to get from my place to the restaurant, although the streets are really quiet. Got accosted by a rather well-dressed and young beggar, who wouldn't go away despite my giving him a pound. Thankfully, some of my friends were around the corner in front of the restaurant, so I just walked off and joined them. Dinner and cake after was good fun, more for the company than anything else. I've missed being around these people more than I can say.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Episode 393: Curry Night At The Old Clarence

Finally got my OMR form signed by Michael Gardiner, and I'm not surprised that he doesn't have any idea who I am. (He thought I was a fresher!) LL209 was okay, and I've found two people in my class who have better French accents than me. Humbling, but true. Still think the level of work is lower than what I need to be challenged, but hey, that means I'll have an easy time of it this year. Again. Then I went over to the Warwick Business School to do an interview with a postgraduate student, something about online shopping experiences. I got paid £5, just to talk. How awesome was that? Bummed in the Library until dinner at The Old Clarence, where a tipsy man kept talking to us and was just generally a bit weird. I spent most of the time after dinner writing a poem, which turned out to be a ballad. I didn't mean for it to be one though, or at least I didn't consciously know that's what the form I was writing in was called. It just felt right though, when I was writing it. Now that's an interesting thought. Can't be bothered to right a new poem that dances, but I'll get around to the Philemon and Baucis one tomorrow.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Episode 392: Elusive Poems

As I didn't come to campus to check my e-mail yesterday, I didn't know that auditions have been shifted to Friday. Won't be able to attend them in that case! Already have a prior engagement. Ended up whiling away a couple of hours in the Library until it was time for Claire Lim/Jason/Sarah/Wayne's housewarming party. I arrived about an hour after it started, to see a crazy number of people squeezed into the living room. Pretty impressive! I b(r)ought a bottle of cider, a fair amount of which was consumed by Keegan over the course of the evening. To little perceivable detrimental effect, I might add. Someone's turning into a hardened alcoholic, yes? I can't believe Keegan has been having a more happening social life than me. What have I become? Haven't written anything this week, although I did finish the translation last night after watching Crank: High Voltage, and I have an idea in my head already for one on Philemon and Baucis. Still trying to write a poem that sings. I wasn't very good at writing the one that was supposed to dance either, I'm afraid. Maybe I'll write about a dancer and a singer, and the poems will mysteriously dance and sing respectively, form subconsciously mirroring content? Emphasis on subconsciously because if I try to make it happen, it just never does...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Episode 391: Jason Statham: My New Favourite Action Movie Guy

Haven't been online all day because I figured it just wasn't worth the trouble to lug my laptop around for the sake of checking my e-mails and Facebook. (Found out through Twitter that there wasn't a new episode of Merlin this week.) Got home after the student lunch in church and started to read, but I feel asleep after a while. Woke up in time to make myself dinner though. Keegan called to ask if I had dinner plans, but he was five minutes too late because the food was already in the oven. Am now watching Crank, which at first seemed like a pointless action movie, but actually, the cinematography is pretty interesting, in a form-mirrors-content kind of way. It's like watching a live-action video game on fastforward. That and Jason Statham's English accent is refreshingly different. For a pointless action movie. Can't decide if I'm going to spend another couple of hours watching the sequel, Crank: High Voltage, or bone up on irregular French verbs for Tuesday's lesson. Still need to translate the first few paragraphs of La Déclaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen. I should probably try to finish that tonight if I can, just because I'm not lugging a heavy dictionary to campus tomorrow just so I can work on it in the Library.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Episode 390: I Did Nothing Productive Today (But It Felt So Good!)

Was originally going to go for the Globe Café tea party in Coventry with Keegan, but John finally texted about hanging out, so I went over to Elizabeth's place. (I was the earliest, ironically!) We played a board game and then went over to John's place for pancakes. The two of them live so near to campus, it's ridiculous! That's it, I might have to move to Canley next year, just for the convenience of being near campus and not having to squeeze on the bus in the mornings (and at other times of the day too). Went into campus because Keegan said that I should instead of coming over to his for dinner so early, but it turns out that my library book can be collected as late as Monday, so I've still got time to finish reading any of the books of poetry so that I can make a one-for-one swap. So now I'm in the Library, grabbing the shows that aired yesterday in the USA. Will probably end up showing up at Keegan's ridiculously late now, but oh well, he did say go to campus and he knows how much time I spend once I'm in the Library. Can't wait till Thursday, when our Internet should finally be connected. I say should, but I expect something will go haywire anyway and the system will screw us over. Now that's a cheerful thought to take into next week. Sod it. Life's too short to be upset about rubbish like that when there are parties to attend!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Episode 389: Music Derailed My Afternoon Plans

George made some helpful comments about my piece today, which have given me some ideas on what I can do with it, if I want to pursue the character of Henrietta 'Fatty Hattie' Winters any further. I already have a new idea that incorporates some of the stuff wed did during today's seminar, so perhaps I will end up stringing together some sort of longer piece involving this character. It's kind of exciting actually, to have ideas for stories. Meant to spend some time in the Library working, but apart from reading the handouts from yesterday's EN238 seminar, I've done absolutely no work. I have expanded my music collection though! I've been repeatedly listening to Blake Lewis's new album, Heartbreak On Vinyl, for the last couple of days. The first half is so brilliantly catchy that I just keep looping it instead of going on to the second half of the album, which is a shame because I'm sure it can't be too shabby either. On a side note, my laptop is starting to crash again. Not as frequently as that time when I ended up reformatting the whole thing, but still, twice in two days is a little worrying.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Episode 388: Killed Off Someone Today

Today in EN238 The Practice of Poetry, David Morley was talking about dancing, and about how the best poetry possesses duende, one of those problematic words that doesn't translate so well into English, so I'm not even going to try here. I recognised the word from the title of a Delerium track off the album Karma, though it's not particularly one of my favourite tracks. I found it difficult to write a poem that danced though, but I guess that was just me trying too hard again. I did manage to finish my piece for EN232 tomorrow though. Wrote half of it on my handphone and finished the rest when I managed to get hold of a networked PC in the Library. I quite like it, although I killed off my character in the end. It just felt like the right place to go for this piece. I might volunteer to read it out tomorrow, I guess. Arrived at Lincoln's house on time, but he wasn't back yet, so we chatted with his housemates and waited. Waited. Waited. It was quite funny when everyone did show up though, as we all ended up outside in the cold, huddling in groups and eating out of small bowls and dishes like we were refugees. (No disrespect intended to refugees.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Episode 387: Et Je Continue D'écrire...

Came onto campus intending to have a peek at auditions again, but I forgot they were in the afternoon today, so by the time I was on campus, they were half-over. So instead, I spent a few hours grabbing the latest episodes of 90210 and Melrose Place, as well as the first two episodes of Moonlight, a cancelled series starring Alex O'Loughlin, who now appears in Three Rivers, which is a medical drama trying to fill a niche in the genre, i.e. transplants. It's got very colourful visuals and some of the most improbable technology I've ever seen in a hospital, but hey, I'm betting it won't last beyond one season anyway. The drama is too deliberately manufactured, in my opinion. I did manage to finish writing the poem for EN273, so that's been sent out to my seminar group via e-mail. Am now just waiting for the downloads to finish before I can go over to Keegan's for dinner, and possibly try to write that one-page story for George's seminar on Friday. Have an idea for that actually, but I'm not sure where it's going yet. There might be a murder involved, although that feels a bit too much to fit into one page.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Episode 386: Enfin, J'écris!

Spent the past couple of hours thinking about the poems I'm meant to have written this week, and even managed to crank out a few. I pared down my random poem to the dust on my bedroom floor to a limerick, and then went in a completely different direction and recast it as a haiku. All three versions are online, since the limerick and the haiku emphasise slightly different aspects of the original. I'm moving on to the poem for EN273, which is definitely being written from Patroclus's perspective, although I don't think I'll mention either Achilles or Patroclus by name, even though their relationship is what I'm concerning myself with in the poem. I've already written about eight lines while musical auditions were going on, so I should be able to finish it when I'm on campus tomorrow. LL209 this afternoon was a bit of a challenge, as Claudie speaks in French most of the time, so I actually have to pay attention if I want to know what's going on. I'm glad to report that my accent is still reasonably good, and that I also understood almost everything that she said. There's a couple of people from LL208 last year in my class, so that was a pleasant surprise as well.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Episode 385: Free Pizza!

Still don't have my voice fully back yet. All I can manage at the moment is a deep, husky rasp, which I'm sure would pass off as incredibly sexy, except that I don't know how to make it sound sexy instead of ill. It's just as well that I already told Bella I'm not auditioning for the musical. Just came out of a Warwick Student Cinema meeting for people who want to get involved in the society. I'm thinking of writing film reviews for them, possibly working on titles and graphics as well. There was free pizza at the meeting as well, which explained why Keegan was there. Not that I wasn't happy to get a free dinner myself, but it wasn't really my main aim in going down, believe it or not. I'm just waiting for my downloads to be done, and then I'm going home to get some rest. I did manage to finish reading the extract from Homer as well as the Auden poem, both of which I enjoyed, although I'm not so sure what I think about the Homer translation. Felt a bit stilted to me. I do have an idea for what my poem is going to be about though. It's possibly going to be a piece written from the perspective of the dead Patroclus. Not very sure yet what he's going to say, but I'm sure I can figure it out tomorrow after French.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Episode 384: Under The Weather...

Woke up with a sore throat this morning and briefly entertained thoughts of skipping church. Didn't though. We sang a Phil Wickham song today, 'Because Of Your Love', which I thought was pretty cool. Have I mentioned that I really like his latest album, Heaven And Earth? Anyway, there was a free lunch for students this week, which Shen Ting said it was a pity Keegan wasn't around for. (I think it's happening again next week, Keegan, just thought you might want to know.) Spent a couple of hours in the Library after that, trying to read that Zadie Smith essay George handed out in EN232 Composition & Creative Writing last week. It's actually pretty interesting, and has made me want to read one of the novels it reviews, Tom McCarthy's Remainder, which sounds like a novel that would do your mind in in the vein of House Of Leaves, which earns it an automatic tick in my books. Only managed to finish reading the essay after another dinner that came out of the oven. Yes, I've progressed from microwaving frozen Iceland products to baking them. Next step, cooking raw meat!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Episode 383: Trekking Around Campus

Had the first lesson for my Open Studies Certificate in Archaeology, and I didn't expect to be walking around campus during the first lesson, so I wore my Aldo shoes and now they ended up kind of battered and in need of repairing with glue. Scrubbed them (sort of) clean and left them to dry before I went to the Freshers' Potluck, so now that I'm back and they're kind of dryer, I've done it. I don't see why Samantha thought it was worth commenting that I was very intent on the task, since trying to patch slivers of rubber is hardly the kind of task one can undertake distractedly. Was horribly sleepy for most of the potluck, on account of having walked a longer distance around the outskirts of the campus than I usually do in an entire week. It's interesting though, seeing how archaeological sites are interspersed among the campus architecture. Everyone on the course is a lot older than me, and I figure the average age is at least twice mine. They seem like nice people though, very passionate about local archaeology. Chatted a bit with Keith, the guy who gave me a lift to the Arts Centre at lunchtime, and to another guy whose name escapes me, but who asked me if I went to an international school, on account of my accent. That amused me, but perhaps deserves a separate post on some other day because I'm too tired now!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Episode 382: Racism Rears Its Ugly Head

Am auditing EN273 Reeling and Writhing, so that's more reading material that needs to be covered, as well as more writing that needs to be produced. I've decided that I need to set aside at least two days of the week for reading and writing, one each. It's the only way I'll ever be disciplined enough to get anything done. Was in the Library until just before Jia Yi's birthday celebration, trying to decide if I was going to skip it and go home before her birthday dinner so that I could leave my laptop at home, but I'm glad I turned up because the cake was gorgeous. Sinfully rich cream, balanced by the bits of fruit. Dinner after that at Le Bistrot Pierre was great as well, although the racist twats who got on the bus weren't. They didn't do anything to us, but they were smoking and heckling a Chinese guy who got off somewhere after Kenilworth. It must say something about Western society that this sort of thing wouldn't happen in Singapore, or any Asian country that I can think of. I mean, subtle discrimination like poorer service, perhaps, but not outright taunting. It's people like them who give their countries a bad name...

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Episode 381: Curse You, Renovators!

It seems like we're not going to get Internet in the immediate future. The connection point on the interior of the house appears to have been ripped out during the course of the renovation work this year. According to the Virgin store in Coventry, that means an engineer has to come up to fix one up for us, possibly in November. This state of affairs is quite laughable, whilst also being immensely frustrating. Will have to sort it out somehow, either tomorrow or on Monday. I mean, I don't mind commuting to campus for wireless Internet in the Library since I've got a travel card now, but it is rather more convenient to have it at home. Anyway, had my first day of proper lessons. Didn't stick around for the Internet because Samantha told me to hurry back to wait for the UPS delivery. Then she sent me an SMS when I was already on the bus, telling me not to bother because they weren't coming today. That was a bit annoying, although in the end, it turned out that they did come, so I suppose it was just as well. Went for cluster meeting in the evening, but when I came back, everyone assumed that I had gone drinking. What is the world coming to these days?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Episode 380: Home Early(-ish) For A Change

Spent the afternoon in the Library again, but I left earlier than usual today because I just wasn't getting any reading done, not with the Internet just a click away. I did find time before that to meet Laura and Sophie over a leisurely lunch, which was great for catching up and hearing Laura's plans for world peace. Also bumped into Maria on the bus, and then Annie and Elizabeth outside the Library. Anyway, I meant to get started on reading for classes, but I've kind of given up for now, and am reading Sudden Fiction: American Short-Short Stories, which I should have finished reading last year, but never started. Have begun looking at the textbook for my Archaeology module on Saturday, and it's interesting enough that I don't regret my decision to pursue the Open Studies Certificate. Now if only they'd send me my second library card! I also received a couple of interesting e-mails today, presenting possibilities for earning money. Replied to one, but that's only getting me £5 for a 45-minute interview. There's a position I could apply for that nets me £600, but as it involves teaching, I'm thinking I should save it for next year and convince MOE to let me do it as an overseas attachment!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Episode 379: Then Again, Maybe Not

Still not sure if the wall plate we've got is actually for Virgin's connection, but it's definitely for a coaxial cable, so hoping for the best nevertheless. Whatever the case, coming onto campus for the Internet seems to be working well for me, as long as the Library doesn't get more crowded. My first seminar this week is on Thursday, so I'm still whiling away my time, watching shows and sporadically reading. I've begun cooking too. Sort of. Baked some sliced potatoes and cheese for dinner last night, and then lunch again today. Will have to take a look soon at what else Iceland and Tesco have to offer in the way of frozen goods. Before I left the house, I also finally finished reading Faith Hunter's Rogue Mage trilogy. Bloodring, Seraphs, and Host take the Bible's apocalyptic tropes and twist them in a way that makes for good action TV. I say TV because in terms of writing, Hunter's work has a tendency to be uneven. Although she has one strong central protagonist, the supporting cast only appears as and when it's convenient for them to move the plot along, leaving them otherwise undeveloped. If she decided to continue writing more books in Thorn St. Croix's universe though (since the final book still leaves so many questions unanswered, whether intentionally or because of bad planning), the series could become the next fantasy sensation with some proper marketing. Not great literature, but the kind of stuff you read for entertainment value.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Episode 378: It's All Coming Together Now...

Had a lot of stuff to do today, but I've managed to clear all of them, so I'm back to sitting in the Library, consuming wireless like there's no tomorrow. Our bank account for bills has been set up, so once we each pay in some money, we can start using it for direct debits to pay everything and that'll be a load of everyone's minds. Also went down to the Virgin store in Coventry, and Jerrick was right about the service. BT, I'm sorry, but you just suck. So I've cancelled my order. Our landlord thinks that the thing in our kitchen is the Virgin cable point, so if he's right, we'll have cable broadband by the end of this week. Otherwise, it's going to be November before an engineer from Virgin can come around to fix one up. Fingers crossed on this! Then I came onto campus to register for my French module at the Language Centre. It was insane! The only language with a queue was French, so I waited over an hour but was done in a mere five minutes. Louise tells me that I had one of the best grades for the module last year, which was gratifying news. Here's to a repeat this year!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Episode 377: TV First, Poetry Later

After lunch at Varsity with church people, am in the Library once more, using the Internet. My house is going with Virgin cable broadband after all, so we're going into Coventry on Monday to try and get it settled once and for all. As much as it'll be convenient to travel to campus once the term-time bus schedule resumes, it's kind of silly to keep bringing my laptop back and forth. For now though, I'm in the Library, downloading and watching episodes of my favourite TV shows. Once I'm done though, I'm going to spend the rest of the afternoon (and possibly evening) reading poetry. The other day, I finished R. D. Laing's Knots and Do You Love Me?, both of which were kind of twisted, psychologically speaking. Today, I'm going to start with Caroline Bergvall's Fig, a collection of 16 poems that work, to quote a blurb on the back, 'at the borders of poetry, installation, performance, and translation'. After that, I'll read R. F. Langley's Collected Poems from Carcanet. This is how I discover poets for myself, by wandering among the shelves and picking out books, sometimes completely at random.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Episode 376: New Jacket!

Am in the Reinvention Centre now for the musical's recce. Just got back from Birmingham, where I bought my Ted Baker reefer jacket and forgot to take my debit card back. Only realised when we were about to head back to Coventry, but thankfully, my debit card had been kept by the staff. My refund's also come in for the Open Studies Certificate, as well as my travel card, so Saturday's been an even better day than Friday. Only thing that remains is to get our bills and Internet sorted. Jerrick's recommending Virgin's cable broadband, which sounds very tempting, since I really see no point in paying BT money to set up something that we're not likely to use that much. That and they're taking a ridiculously long time to send their engineer, so I don't feel guilty about cancelling my order. Also need to find a time for all of us to go down to NatWest to set up a joint account for all five of us, so that we can start paying our bills! Anyway, I saw Los Abrazos Rotos (Broken Embraces) last night with Dan, Daniel and Maria, and I have this sudden desire to see all of Pedro Almodóvar's work. I was trying to understand the Spanish as I went along, with little success, although I could recognise some verbs occasionally. Haven't found time to work on my Spanish at all for a couple of weeks now...

Friday, October 02, 2009

Episode 375: Four Day Weekends...

Timetable's out, so that's effectively what I've got. Anyway, the refund has not gone through for my Open Studies fees. If nothing shows up in my bank account by Tuesday, I'll have a word with someone at the Centre for Lifelong Learning. I've also managed to top up my eating at Warwick card, so I guess yesterday just really wasn't my day at all. No word from Qantas yet, but they've still got two more working days to get their act together. Can't be bothered to try finding out whether or not I should have an additional library card for my Open Studies course, as I think I've already tried my best, so I've just sent in a photograph, like I was instructed to. Having an extra card will be useful, obviously! Travel card has also sorted, at least according to the person who e-mailed me, but the website still shows that my order hasn't been moved to production. Again, if nothing happens by Tuesday, I'll e-mail. So after a lousy Thursday, it seems that Friday has decided to be kind to me. Am in the Library now after a barbecue at John Auld's and arranging chairs in church, re-reading R. D. Laing's Knots. His work is less intriguing as poetry than as psychological portraiture, if that makes any sense.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Episode 374: Murphy's Law 5, Ian 0

I kid you not. To begin with, I finally got around to registering for my Open Studies Certificate in Archaeology. All was well, until I checked my bank account, and thereupon realised that I'd forgotten to indicate that I was a student, and hence entitled to pay the discounted rate. A call to the Centre for Lifelong Learning sorted things out, and now I just need to make sure that the refund goes through. I would like to say that I trust it will go through fine, but frankly, I have my doubts. Next up, my eating at Warwick card. I collected that yesterday and figured that I would top it up online. Lo and behold, there's something wrong with the website's code and I can't top up. Then I tried to claim my mileage for Monday's flight on Qantas, only to realise that because of the way my name was spelt on my booking, there's a possibility that the system will reject my claim because it doesn't match what they have for my Qantas frequent flyer account. We shall see whether anything crops up in the next couple of days. Tried finding out whether I actually need to make a new library card for Open Studies, since I'm already a student at Warwick and it seems like a bizarre thing to have to make a separate card. No such luck, as the e-mail bounced. Finally, to top it all off, I bought my student travel card, uploading my photograph as instructed, only to be met by a paragraph informing me to send in a photograph before my Photocard can be produced. Sent off an e-mail to politely ask why the heck do I have to, since I already uploaded one during the transaction. All in all, it's been a lousy day, and sometimes I wonder if technology's all that it's cranked up to be.