Monday, May 31, 2010

Episode 616: Quel Désastre!

So apparently, I did damage the N95 further while trying to repair it myself. The cost of repair, even if I bring it back to Singapore, is likely to outstrip the value of the handset when it is traded in, so there seems to be little point in trying to do anything further. Anyway, this failure has completely destroyed my self-belief in this area, so in future, if anything breaks, I'll just throw money at someone else to fix it for me. On the bright side, this probably means that I'll be getting a new mobile once I get back home. If my contract's also up for renewal, maybe it's time to try some negotiation tactics with SingTel and get a better deal for myself. Studying in Costa was moderately successful, although I did spend more time at first laughing at/with Laura/Sophie than reading Peter Sansom's Writing Poems. Am going all the way back again tomorrow, once I collect the boxes from the shipping company. I hope they turn up when they say they're planning to, especially since I'm going to be getting up extraordinarily early (i.e. 8 am) just so that I don't miss the delivery!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Episode 615: First Book Review For Evolve Journal

So naturally, I went and found Lenka's album, My Cassette Player, after I got home at 4 am. (Random fact: It was released on my birthday.) I don't think any of the other songs are as catchy as 'Satellite', but as a whole, the songs have that quirkiness that will appeal to quite a fair number of people, I should imagine. I did manage to wake up in time for church this morning, and then spent the afternoon after that playing The Settlers Of Catan at John's place. Wasn't all fun and games today though, as I had to finish the book review for Evolve Journal. Have just done so, and I think it's pretty okay. It's going to be published on Wednesday, so I'll provide a link to it then. Am now catching up on Doctor Who, while writing a poem I had an idea for a couple of nights ago but didn't note down. (It's a lot more tedious to type out drafts in a Nokia 6610 with a wonky keypad than you might think! Hopefully, I'm going to get my N95 evaluated for repair tomorrow, and this state of affairs won't last.) It seemed interesting at the time, so I'm going to try and work it out in full.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Episode 614: Eurovision 2010!

Just watched Eurovision for the first time at Kathy's place with a bunch of other people. Was initially rooting for either Greece or Turkey to win (we printed out our own scoring cards), but then Germany's entry came on, by the end of which Christian and I were sold on her. Turns out the rest of Europe agreed, as Lena Meyer-Landrut was crowned the winner for the very catchy 'Satellite'. The commentator described her as being like Björk, Lily Allen and Gabriella Cilmi, which is somewhat of an exaggeration, although I can totally see where he was coming from. I also thought her weird Irish-American accent when singing was very cute, although it's really odd how she pronounced 'day' with an Irish brogue but reverted to a more typical pronunciation for 'way', when she really should have been rhyming them. Oh well, at least she won. I would have been appalled if some of the other entries that proved so popular with the voters had won. I mean, it's okay to like cheesy music, but some of the songs raking in the votes were just abysmal or not really that deserving of so many votes! I was heartily amused by the UK's appalling performance. We had only just managed to claw our way into double-digit points at 10, when Belarus completely blew us out of the water by netting 12 in one stroke. Poor Josh Dubovie must be feeling so humiliated now...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Episode 613: Failed To Repair N95

So it turns out the N95 is still going to get me $100 if I trade it in at SingTel, so it's worth trying to get it repaired. Sophie's recommended this guy at the Royal Priors, but it's definitely going to cost more than what my parents suggested should be the maximum I pay to get it repaired. I'd prefer to get that done at a Nokia store in Singapore anyway, since then there'll definitely be no issue about trading it in when the times comes, but my parents think they don't check the internal parts, so it won't be an issue that I've bought and replaced the LCD screen myself. Oh well. This'll sort itself out eventually. I'm just annoyed that I could've fixed it myself, but I must have screwed up something at some point that all those how-to guides didn't warn me about. So that was the entire first half of the afternoon wasted. Have been spectacularly unproductive after that, which I'm going to try and rectify by reading the book I'm meant to be reviewing! First though, I just want to register my disappointment at the FlashForward series finale. I don't care if they filmed it expecting to be brought back for another season. It's possibly the worst finale I've ever seen. What kind of arrogance presumes that you're going to get a renewal and therefore are allowed to film a finale that answers the least important questions of the entire season, while throwing a few curveballs that blatantly angle for a second season? Someone out there has actually analysed why FlashForward deserved renewal compared to V, which actually got it, but sorry, that guy is just wrong. Granted, the first season of V was also quite trying as TV, so if the second season doesn't buck up, you can be sure it's going to get flushed too.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Episode 612: Getting Somewhere

So I was listening to Steve Appleton's When The Sun Comes Up while riding the 12 home from Roisin's birthday dinner and drinks in Leamington, and it suddenly struck me just how rare it is to hear commercially-oriented music being sung in a non-American accent. Yeah, pretty random, I know. I think this is definitely one of my favourite albums at the moment because it's so irrepressibly happy and upbeat. If I ever made music, I really wouldn't mind if it sounded like that. Could've stayed over at Christian's again, but I came home because I need to be up at a reasonable hour tomorrow to finish reading The Island At The End Of The World and make a stab at getting started on the review, as well as grabbing the titles for WSC and somehow getting started on my Harrix matrix assignment. (At some point, I should probably also think of starting revision.) I did come home to a very pleasant surprise in the form of an acceptance e-mail from The Cadaverine, so I am beyond happy right now. Oh, and if you ever get the chance, you should read Hart Crane's long poem, The Bridge. I just read aloud the last section, 'Atlantis', and I think it is exquisitely beautiful. Most of the time, my first reading of a Crane poem makes little to no sense to me, but it is always beautiful nonetheless.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Episode 611: Kissing Standing Up

Met Jerrick for lunch at Nando's and then did some shopping in Primark (two pairs of slim fit shorts) and Topman (two more of my favourite baseball t-shirts). Would have bought more shorts at Primark, but I wasn't quite prepared to venture into something other than solid colours. Spent the rest of the afternoon sitting in Starbucks, reading Paul Hyland's Getting Into Poetry, which I really wish I'd read before I ever sent off anything for publication because the bits in there dealing with that whole process really help to keep things in perspective. Met Dan after that and saw Mixed Things Theatre's Kissing Standing Up at The Tin Angel. I don't think I've ever been at a play as part of an audience of four, but I don't think the play was any worse off for that. It was an interesting piece of theatre, propelled predominantly by the energy of the cast, with some of the most odd breaking of the fourth wall I've ever encountered. Well, not that there were the standard three walls to begin with. Anyway, Randomly, I just saw a pretty impressive cover of Lady Gaga's 'Paparazzi' by Vice. Who'd have thought you could still find a boyband these days that can actually sing? You can check it out here.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Episode 610: Win Some, Lose Some

Have finished off another film review for Warwick Student Cinema because the Reviews Editor sounded like she really needed people to come forward and help out, and it's not like I've been using my time productively otherwise anyway. I also wrote that story I've been meaning to send in for that upcoming anthology from Six Sentences. I hope it gets selected, if only because how often do you see me writing a story with veiled references to prostitution? Just kidding. I really like Rob McEvily's site, and he's looked kindly on my work in the past, so I thought I'd support the anthology. I've also got the book reviewing gig at Evolve Journal confirmed, so I'm going to be reviewing Sam Taylor's The Island At The End Of The World to begin with. It was either that or China Miéville's The City & The City, but I'm thinking I'll save that for my next one. Of course, to balance out all this, the weather today has been crap compared to the past couple of days, and the lousy driving skills of a bus driver who was so ridiculously late to begin with also cost me the LCD screen of my N95. It's no longer under warranty, so I'm just going to get the screen off eBay and fix it myself. It doesn't look that difficult. Still, I think it's like some sort of cosmic sign that I should get a new mobile when I get back to Singapore. Don't you agree?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Episode 609: Tanning!

Second-time lucky with Asia Writes, who've taken a poem and a flash fiction that I've been shopping around and getting it rejected, so that's good. Their site is actually a really useful resource if you're an Asian writer. I think I'm pretty satisfied with how this round of submissions has gone in general now. In fact, it's probably been the most successful of the three major batches I've sent out since February! Anyway, to make the most of the blazing sun while it's still with us (clouds and rain predicted for the next week or so), for the second afternoon in a row, I took off my top in the back garden and tanned while reading Stephen Clarke, in an attempt to arrive back in Singapore browner than when I left. The problem with tanning in my back garden is that the shadow cast by the house keeps creeping towards me, so I have to keep shifting my chair every quarter of an hour. I was out for an hour and a half, but sadly, I don't think I'm any darker! Quite disappointed. I did finish reading Dial M For Merde, so that's Clarke's stuff done with. Am now going to alternate between Clive Barker and China Miéville, and somehow squeeze in revision. Oh, and more tanning if the sun comes back! Haha...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Episode 608: Amazon Associate

If you read this blog regularly, you might have noticed that there are a few more banners up there than usual. That's because I'm now officially an Amazon Associate, so I'm trying to drive more traffic to their website and get people to purchase stuff. So if you'd like to help me and you're going to buy something anyway, just click that banner. Of course, I'm only doing this at the recommendation of the editor of that reviewing gig that hasn't yet been confirmed (it's the main way we're going to get paid eventually), so I'll probably take it all down if that doesn't work out. On the other hand, I'm really getting into the whole idea of using the Internet to make money. Nothing too hard. Just lame things like completing polls and reading/rating badly written articles. We'll see how long I can stay interested. I just figured since I'm online so much, I might as well try and get some money out of it. The 12 was being diverted because of today's marathon, so I skipped the morning service at church and went to the combined Pentecost service at Coventry Cathedral. Was tempted not to go because the weather was so good and I just wanted to stay in my back garden, working on my tan. Apparently, the temperature is going back down to tolerable levels soon, but if the sun stays out, I'll be spending more time in the garden. Who knows? I might get back to Singapore more tanned than when I left it.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Episode 607: Duotrope's Digest

So early this morning, I got two acceptances within the space of 10 minutes. One was from escarp, which took a completely rewritten version of a haiku they'd rejected just hours earlier, and Milk Sugar, a new journal that's just gearing up to launch. I'm going to be self-deprecating and say that may be the reason why they took all the poetry I sent in, although that said, the editor's favourite was a poem that had in fact been rejected six times previously. 'Nights After Eden', one of those 20-liners I wrote for EN273. De gustibus non est disputandum, I guess? I also sent in that non-fiction piece I'd done about Singapore, which went down really well, so I suppose I've succeeded with what I set out to do there, as the Craigslist advertisement is tagged geographically as Harlem/Morningside. As to why I was on Craigslist, I was following a link from Twitter via Six Sentences, calling for submissions to a new anthology of six-sentence stories being put together. I've got till Wednesday to submit for that, which I fully intend on doing so.

As a result of feeling slightly insomniac, I then decided to start reporting my submissions and acceptances/rejections to Duotrope's Digest. As of this moment, my acceptance ratio over the past year (more like four months) is 12.87%, which is quite heartening, I think. As a result of all this updating of my Duotrope account, I went to bed at about 3 am, overslept, and missed the Archaeology lesson. I did intend to turn up today, I really did, but looking at the Harris matrix assignment and the Powerpoint slides, I can safely say that oversleeping was a sound decision, as the assignment looks doable, and this was after I'd looked through the slides once. May try to finish it on Monday, along with that story I'm meant to write. Oh, this just in. Camroc Press Review is taking 'Les Maudits', which has also had six prior rejections. I remember tweeting about wanting at least one acceptance to come in this week, so I guess I've got more than I was hoping for. I'm also this close to securing a regular book reviewing gig with a journal, also something I found through Craigslist. It's not a paid position, what compensation there is to be had being derived through what I can get by hooking myself up with Amazon Affiliates and presumably driving traffic to the books through my reviews. The editor seems open to the idea, but I'm worried the fact that I'm still in university rather than an aged graduate will count against me in the end.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Episode 606: Six And Counting...

At the moment, I'm on six straight rejections, although I woke up to one this morning that made me smile (just a little) because it was such an enthusiastic and positively worded rejection. It also proved that editorial taste can be such an unpredictable minefield. It's almost enough to make you want to give up and start your own magazine, just to create a guaranteed outlet for your own work. When Pound did something similar, he assured literary immortality for his associates and himself. If you did that today, it'd be called vanity publishing and have lots of noses turned up at it. Anyway, I'm taking things in my stride for now. If anything, my experience of the whole submission-rejection cycle is probably going to provide fodder for at least one of my blog entries when my stint at Incwriters comes up in July. Now on to more boring things. The French paper today was okay, although I wish I'd spent more time on the composition. It's not a huge issue, and I'm confident my overall mark is still going to be a First, but it's just not going to be as high a mark as it could have been, that's all. I've also found a piece of software that will allow me to create a Harris matrix electronically, so that's the first part of my final assessment for the Archaeology certificate taken care of. Still doesn't mean I relish the prospect of attending the remaining classes though...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Episode 605: Brutally Honest

Wow. Just wow. So I was up at 2 am, sending off pieces to editors and setting myself up for more rejection e-mails, but I don't think I've ever encountered such a swift rejection as this. Five whole minutes between sending the poems off and getting a reply, which meant whoever opened it spent an average of less than one minute per poem, assuming they even read them all. It isn't so much the rejection that rankles, as the fact that whoever replied didn't see the need to pretend like they'd taken more time. Far be it from me to profess that anything I've written is worthy of lengthy perusal, but I think five minutes was definitely not enough time to actually read the whole submission, let alone make a judgement about it. Yes, I do think there was actually some merit to be found in at least two of the poems, and three more, if ordinary people liking what they read even counts for anything anymore these days. Okay, now I'm just being bitter, so I'm going to stop here and go drown my feelings of being snubbed by the establishment in a book.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Episode 604: Feeling Hardworking...

Cool worship session in church. Was reading James Fenton's An Introduction To English Poetry before that and have just finished, so I'm feeling incredibly hardworking. It's actually very readable, even if there are points at which I find myself disagreeing with Fenton's comments, particularly about rhyme. I completely agree with what he has to say about form though. I might even buy my own copy of the book after I return this one to the Library! Anyway, I just saw the season finale for V. Heart sank a bit when Erica had to kill Joshua, but was pleased to see at the end that he's not dead after all. Other highlight of the ending was Lisa's tiny smile when witnessing Anna's anguish. I would say it was a smirk, but that's probably reading too much into it. Between FlashForward and V, I'd say the latter has more storytelling potential, although both shows moved far too slowly in a first season for my liking, so I'm glad V is going to get a second season. FlashForward's plot apparently isn't going to get a full resolution, but that's okay, since I don't really care that much anymore. Yeah, I get it, you're trying to examine philosophical issues and become the new Lost. So what?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Episode 603: The Library Is Lame!

So Amazon UK have admitted their mistake and credited me the full amount for one of my returned items. I'll forgive them, since they went a bit overboard and credited back a few pence that I never actually paid. I still have four separate returns that need to be posted back, and I could have got three of them done if the Library wasn't crawling with people spending as much time socialising as they were purportedly revising. Honestly, I didn't realise how annoying the constant hum of conversation was until I relocated to the Humanities lobby. The question now is whether I should bother going down to campus tomorrow to post everything, or should I just wait till Friday, when I have to go down for my LL209 examination? The oral today went okay, by the way, although I did blank out twice during my presentation, completely forgetting that the point of writing down the openings of sentences on my card was precisely to cope with such a situation. Oh well. It could have gone a lot worse than it did, so I should be thankful for that. Once the written paper on Friday's over, I've promised myself that I'm going to start revision, which basically involves reading a lot of poetry. Fun times! Oh yeah, I should probably mention that the season finales for Gossip Girl and House were brilliant.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Episode 602: Foiled!

So there was a huge pile of books awaiting me today (mostly poetry, a lot of it being Michael Hulse's), although I had to wait till after 5 pm for the box of Clive Barker books to arrive. HDNL continues to not impress me. As I'd guessed, most of the books aren't what I was looking for. Harper has recently reissued almost all of Barker's books with a classier series of covers than what the pretty tacky originals, but out of the entire box, only one of the used books that I bought was actually a reissue. Didn't matter though, since all of the used books I'd bought were 'Fulfilled by Amazon', so I'm just going to ship them all back and get new copies directly from Amazon UK instead. So much for trying to save money! Oddly though, the payment for this shipment never went through. I mean, it did, but then over the weekend, the charge was somehow reversed, and as of tonight, no move has been made to reclaim it. Just as well, since they're going to have to refund me for practically the whole order. I'm quite sick of my oral presentation, so I've gone over it once today and I'm not going to look at it again until tomorrow morning. I just want the French papers to be over so that I no longer have an excuse to avoid revision for EN227 and EN238...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Episode 601: Brilliant Afternoon

Can't believe I just burnt an hour trying to complete a level in Osmos and failing. Sigh. I think I'll just go and read a book instead. The presentation is still memorised as of an hour ago, so I really hope I don't blank out on Tuesday. I'm honestly relying on myself to go into autopilot mode once I sit down in front of the examiner to nail it. Am tempted not to write anything down on the card we're allowed to take in, but that smacks of sheer arrogance, so I'll scribble down the openings of a couple of sentences, just to help me along if I get stuck. The problem with learning something by heart in this way is that if you forget just one sentence, you might get stuck. Anyway, I had a great afternoon in the Jephson Gardens with the other people in Leamington cluster. (I won a game of The Settlers Of Catan!) I definitely don't regret choosing to move to Leamington over moving back to campus, even though it's the sort of decision that made some of the people I know do a double take when they first heard of it. Besides, being near to campus is wildly overrated, if you ask me.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Episode 600: Presentation Memorised!

Lately, I've been listening to Rihanna's most recent album, Rated R, and I must say that I find it a more consistently likeable album than Good Girl Gone Bad. Heard within the context of a full album, first single 'Russian Roulette' is a lot more interesting. It definitely feels like a stronger concept album than its predecessor, which felt more like it was driven by a handful of radio-friendly singles. I was quite surprised to discover that 'Rude Boy' was a Rihanna song, much like when I realised 'I Gotta Feeling' was by the Black Eyed Peas. Aside from getting started on Stephen Clarke's A Year In The Merde, I've also managed to memorise my oral presentation for Tuesday, so I rewarded myself with a pint of Ben & Jerry's Baked Alaska and the newest episode of Doctor Who. Have been doing a bit of reading up on mind control, specifically the connection between Hollywood, the Illuminati and Monarch programming, and it all might lead to some sort of story at some point. Or it might just be an entertaining read for a couple of hours here and there. We shall see...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Episode 599: Updates From The Land Of TV

Watched the season finale of The Vampire Diaries after coming back from Lizzie's surprise birthday party at Kelsey's. Amazing. I guess this is the luxury of knowing your show's already been renewed. You get to seed all sorts of plot threads in your finale. After this, I honestly cannot believe Lucy still insists Twilight is the better vampire series. I am starting to get annoyed with how people just seem to casually die on The Vampire Diaries though. I mean, in the season finale alone, we had three deaths that in plot terms, really came out of nowhere. I thought the writers should have kept Anna around longer, especially since her relationship with Jeremy would make for an interesting parallel to Stefan's with Elena, although bringing back Katherine was a brilliant move. If they keep her around, then all the fans who've been rooting for Elena to get together with Damon instead of Stefan can rejoice. Can't really see them keeping her on permanently in the second season though, partly because the whole thing about Nina Dobrev playing two different characters is going to get pretty weird after a while. In other news, FlashForward has been cancelled, so there goes what could've been the next Lost. Bizarrely though, the V remake has been renewed, although both series have completely failed to deliver on their early promise. Oh, and Heroes has been cancelled too. Not that I really care that much because I never really quite got into that show, and from what I've heard, the later seasons were messy and a letdown. Out of all the shows that have yet to be renewed though, I'd really like the Melrose Place reboot to get a chance, unlikely as that is. I really just want to see more of Katie Cassidy's bitchiness, so if The CW could somehow write her into one of their other shows as part of the main cast (preferably Gossip Girl, as the dynamics on that show are really starting to get stale), Melrose Place can get cancelled for all I care.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Episode 598: Too. Many. Books.

In one of those strange-but-true turn of events, the tutor that I was going to approach about supervising my personal writing project has basically offered to do so before I even got around to asking. It's quite flattering in a way, to have someone who believes in your work that much. I started reading Kazuo Ishiguro's Nocturnes, and the stories in there are like everything I like about Ishiguro's novels distilled into a couple of pages, 'Come Rain Or Come Shine' being a brilliant example. I also reorganised my bookshelves, mainly just to separate all my books into three categories: leave behind over summer, ship back before term ends, and carry back in luggage. The first category contains a distressing number and probably severely overestimates the amount of poetry I will actually get around to reading in the course of working on my personal writing project. Oh well. My parents aren't going to like it, but by the end of my third year, I'll probably have accumulated so many books that I'll need two new sets of bookshelves for them. Where these are going to go, I have no idea. My room is certainly out of space. Will probably end up leaving them in the boxes that they'll be shipped back in!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Episode 597: Clive Barker, Meet My Library. Library, Meet Clive Barker.

Am determined to finish writing my oral presentation before going to bed tonight. I'm already halfway there! I even know what the two remaining paragraphs are going to be about, so I just need to find the fancy French words to say it. (Can I point out here that Google Translate has definitely improved by leaps and bounds from when it first started?) I spent £55.50 on all of Clive Barker's books today, even though my original intention when I went on Amazon UK was to see if I could buy any books for next year's modules. Oh well. It could've been worse. I could've spent more than 50% more if I'd bought new books instead of used ones. The used ones are 'Fulfilled by Amazon' anyway, so if the condition isn't satisfactory, I'll just send them back for a refund. That might actually be a good way to fund books for next year that I have to read, if I don't intend to keep them. Buy just before the start of term, send them back during Reading Week and get the next half-term's books. Also caught a series of short play readings today put on by students in the Humanities Studio, all of which had things to recommend them, although my favourite was naturally the one that was deliberately and shamelessly breaking the fourth wall throughout. I wonder if it would be possible to extend the idea to a full-length play without becoming tedious?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Episode 596: The Winner Stands Alone

Slept for about three hours before I woke up. It'd felt like longer though. Couldn't really fall back asleep again, so I started reading Paulo Coelho's The Winner Stands Alone, an unflinching look at the cult of celebrity that has captured the imagination of contemporary society. I personally think the tone of this book is very different from his previous work, and I also think it's structurally not as tight as it should be, even though the entire plot takes place in just 24 hours. Part of the problem is the shift of the narrator from chapter to chapter, which wouldn't be a problem, except that minor characters have whole chapters narrated from their point of view, only for them to die on their next appearance. I suppose you could read this as an embedded commentary on the disposable nature of our culture, but I wonder if that's perhaps giving Coelho too much credit. There is really only so much mileage to be had from slightly didactic paragraphs exposing the hollowness of fame. Oh, and the shifting of tenses feels a little arbitrary, even if it does appear to be justifiable on most occasions. I think it's also pretty ironic that the book only manager to make the Superclass more enviable. For me anyway. Without giving away the ending, I must say I think the construction of the book is fundamentally flawed, especially coming from an author whose work usually negotiates tricky ethical and philosophical questions, but always retains a firm sense of morality. With this latest book, it feels like that moral centre, while not exactly cast aside, has been sidelined.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Episode 595: Creative Writers Do A Bar Crawl (Again)

So I basically decided to blow off my French class tomorrow because I wanted to stay out late in Leamington instead of being responsible and catching the last bus home. Besides, I don't actually need the lesson. Heck, I could take the examination tomorrow and still do more than pass. (That's not even arrogance talking! It's totally true.) The night's shaping up to be pretty epic though, and it's stuff like this which is pretty much why I'd rather move to Leamington rather than be boringly typical and move back to campus in my final year. After all, if the past year has been any indication, my social life revolves more around my coursemates who live in Leamington than my Singaporean friends anyway. It's nothing personal, I just find it easier to meet up with the former. You know, timetables and stuff. Incidentally, I think the amount I've drunk tonight is fast approaching what I had on my 21st birthday when I was sick later in the night, but I strangely feel fine. I did try to have some Heineken earlier in the night which made me feel quite ill, so I gave most of it to Alex. I do like Heineken after my experience during my holiday, but I think beers/ales are just too filling as drinks for me? I'm definitely more of a cocktail person, even if they do cost more. I think I've definitely had too much to drink though. Perhaps beginning the night with four measures of Jägermeister wasn't the smartest move?

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Episode 594: Happy Mother's Day!

Feel completely knackered, but I still can't snooze for as long as I want tomorrow because I have to get onto campus to hand in my work. Doesn't help that I've been awake since 7.30 am! The talk this week was good though, so I didn't mind hearing it twice, even though by the second time, I was so sleepy. Could've gone home straight away after the evening service, but ended up in Varsity, and then going to John's place for leftover pasta bake. It was good to catch up with him though, as we haven't spoken properly in ages. Could also have taken a nap earlier in the Learning Grid between the two services, but I ended up on Facebook and playing Fractal, the new game from Cipher Prime. I thought Auditorium was going to be a tough act to follow, but I think the guys at Cipher Prime have definitely nailed it. Even the demo that's available online is addictive! Obviously, I've pre-ordered, since it's 33% off the full price. I hope it comes as a standalone download instead of only a web version like with Auditorium. My mum would definitely enjoy this game. Speaking of which, I can't believe she thought I'd forgotten it was Mother's Day, just because I only sent her an SMS greeting at 5.30 pm her time. After all, it was only 8.30 am for me!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Episode 593: Around The World In 80 Dishes

That's the name of the restaurant that Lola had her birthday dinner at. It's got the same concept as Cosmo in Coventry, although being in Birmingham, I think there's a definite edge there already. I didn't actually get around to trying all the dishes (I never do at buffets, sadly), but the vindaloo was properly spicy, so that was good enough for me. Plus they weren't offering 'Singaporean noodles' in the Asian section, so thank goodness for that. (They don't exist in Singapore, in case you were wondering. No idea why they're called that, although some of my friends and I reckon it's just because the noodles are spicy.) Also had the first session of the last module for my Archaeology certificate, which was okay. I'd gone in hoping to be able to skip a session or two here and there, but it seems like if I want to actually understand what I have to do for the assessment, I can't. Oh well. May very well still have to skip the last one though, as it clashes with my EN238 examination. I guess what I need to do is aim to finish the work before that last session, but I don't know if I can be bothered. Argh. I really just want it to be over. Like with my psychology diploma the year before I came to university, I think my intellectual flirtation with archaeology has burnt itself out. Am definitely not going to burden myself with an Open Studies Certificate next year, although I'd initially planned to. Partly because all the other certificates have full 10-week modules, and living in Leamington next year, I really don't feel like travelling to campus just for that, especially if I've got nothing else on campus that day.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Episode 592: 23!

A surprisingly large number of people have wished me a happy birthday, although I suppose I have Facebook to thank for that. Not that I mind very much. Am not one of those people who get offended if you forget my birthday, or if you rely on things like Facebook to remind you, partly because I'm quite rubbish at remembering people's birthdays too. I used to put the dates in my handphone, but after I switched from my old one years ago, I kind of stopped bothering, especially since Facebook is so handy for that now. I spent the early hours of my birthday following the election results, going to bed around the time the Conservatives overtook Labour. Not because I was depressed by this turn of events, although it was distressing, but rather because I'd finally finished the commentaries! They're quite crappy towards the end, but I really couldn't be bothered anymore. Got up in the morning, went to campus and printed off all the stuff that's due on Monday. Then I realised I forgot to put page numbers and my student ID on every page. Well, no way was I going to spend money reprinting more than 100 pages. Besides, I figured my tutors wouldn't mind that much. Getting the portfolio bound took less than 10 minutes, which came as a complete surprise to me! Even had time before house dinner to catch up on some shows. We had dinner at Le Bistrot Pierre in Leamington, as we've got three consecutive birthdays in our house, although none of us are actually born in the same year. That would've been a bit too weird a coincidence!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Episode 591: Elections

I'm currently in a race with all the people tallying the votes for the UK election. I'm trying to finish my commentaries before all the results are in. I have 10 more poems to cover, and there are 649 seats still undeclared, so I think I have a fighting chance here. I didn't vote, not because I don't care, but because my own government wouldn't allow it, and then had a change of heart after it was pointed out to them that the wording in the UK concerning eligibility to vote did not in fact conflict with their stand. (You would think this is the sort of thing they would clarify before threatening their own citizens with losing the ability to vote in Singapore. Frankly, call me crazy, but I feel like my vote would have mattered more in the UK than back home.) Exit polls suggest that I'm going to wake up on my birthday to a hung parliament, but with the Conservatives in a position to form a minority government. Now at a personal level, I consider myself politically apathetic. This is a quality that has been drummed into me by virtue of the circumstances in which I grew up. This doesn't mean, however, that I don't feel bad about my friends who live here having to endure a Tory government for the next few years. So if the Conservatives are in tomorrow, I'm definitely wearing black.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Episode 590: Colorco To The Rescue!

I feel like aiming to finish this commentary and get the whole portfolio bound by Friday is being recklessly optimistic. The lady at Colorco on Sovereign Road says I can bring it in as late as Monday morning, and the place appears to have a lot of experience with stressed out students looking to get their dissertations bound, so I imagine turnaround should be reasonably quick. This also means I can spend the night of my birthday slaving away, if I'm really lax for the rest of the night and tomorrow. I am slowly crawling through the commentary though, helped by the fact that there haven't been any TV shows to catch up on today apart from V. (Have so far valiantly resisted the temptation to watch the Riverworld miniseries that I'd forgotten had premiered last month.) It's getting easier because now I'm just writing 150-200 words about the individual poems, and I've also stopped caring about whether they make me sound clever or not. I'm all about the honesty now! In fact, I've written enough so far that I'm a third of the way to my minimum word count, which is 4860. If I keep up the same length on the individual commentaries throughout as I have for the first handful so far, I might even be able to reach the 5400 that I should have been aiming for in the first place.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Episode 589: Stuck In A Rut Of My Own Making

It seems like Gossip Girl is definitely creeping back to its former glory, and not a moment too soon. The rumour mill has it that a cast shakeup is taking place for Season 4, including Taylor Momsen's departure. Finally! Can't stand her character. Picked up my EN227 essay after French, and it was great. Chalk one more up for my string of low Firsts. I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but I do wish I could score something higher than 74 for once. I appreciate that there are people who will hate me for even writing this, but the fact remains that it feels like my academic writing has stagnated. Granted, it's an enviable place to be stuck at, but I would still like to improve. I've managed to move forward with the commentary by the way. It's currently at 880 words, and I'm feeling very self-satisfied. It's not that the commentary's terribly good though. I'm just pleased it's getting done! Found out from someone in my French class that there's a printer in Earlsdon, so I'm going to pop by tomorrow and find out if it's cheaper to get the binding done there than at WarwickPrint. With any luck, they might even open on Saturdays, which means more time to get the commentary done!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Episode 588: This Commentary Is Totally Kicking My Butt

Managed to wake up and get to church, although it was a huge struggle to roll out of bed. I was pretty efficient at data entry though. Was going to get some shopping done at Tesco and head home to grab my handphone before coming back for the tapfactory editorial meeting, as I'd left it behind earlier in my haste to catch the bus. (Also, what is it with underage kids getting people to buy them cigarettes? The kid was just standing at the corner of the road, waiting. Didn't help him, of course. Not out of some moral compunction though. I'd have missed the bus if I'd gone into the store.) Ended up changing my mind because I wasn't actually sure if Tesco would be open on a bank holiday. Am now in the process, once again, of trying to make myself write this commentary. I've got an idea for the beginning, so I think I might get that down at least before going to bed. The more I go through my shelves, the more I find stuff that I think, on a subconscious level at least, has informed the poems I've written this time. The latest is the collaboration between Madeleine Lee and Eleanor Wong, y grec. It seems that the collection was the fruit of a journey they took together through Greece, so in that respect, it's really similar to what I was trying to do with my own portfolio. Now, if only I could put all of that down in the commentary, right?

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Episode 587: Yawn...

I'm starting to discover that the Dirty Dog's Dinner at Varsity is really satisfying for a relatively cheap £3.99. After having it for lunch, I always still feel too full at dinnertime, not to mention it probably exceeds all sorts of daily limits regarding calories, cholesterol and fats. Have been spectacularly unproductive all day, despite every intention of the contrary. Oh well. Am probably not going to get anything done tomorrow either, given that I'll be out all afternoon, and possibly all evening as well. This is going to be fun, stringing together the commentaries at the last minute! So much for wanting to get the portfolio bound. I didn't even waste the time on watching TV shows. Instead, I was trying to fix the video preview thumbnails in Windows Explorer. Updated my media player and codecs, and suddenly everything went haywire. So I've spent the last couple of hours trying various things, including editing the registry, which is definitely me just meddling with stuff and hoping I don't crash the OS. Have managed to fix everything though, apart from the files that are associated with QuickTime by default. Can't really be bothered to spend more time trying to fix that as well. The AVI and MKV files were what I really cared about anyway.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Episode 586: Legion

Last night, I saw Legion, yet another film that attempts to incorporate Judaeo-Christian religious themes. It's possibly the most sacrilegious take I've seen though. The God of Legion has completely given up on humanity and wants to destroy it once and for all. Think Armageddon, except nobody's going to Heaven in this version. Unsurprisingly, we have the fallen angel motif like in Gabriel, except in this film, it's Michael who rebels against his divine orders. This allows Paul Bettany as Michael to spout the following lines at Kevin Durand's Gabriel, describing the failure of his angelic brethren: 'You gave him what He wanted. I gave him what He needed.' Syntactical similarity masquerades as significance. I will say that the film did a decent job of setting up a parallel between its narrative and the Christ story. Unwed mother? Check. Devoted partner? Check. Baby who is meant to be the salvation of mankind? Check. At least the film doesn't seem to be trying too hard for a sequel, since God relents and humanity lives to screw up another day, although when Michael tells Jeep (Lucas Black) to find the prophets, I got a bit worried that they were going to throw out a plot point at the last minute that doesn't get explored any further in this film.

Despite being up to finish the film, I still managed to wake up and meet Dan to check out a vintage sale in Kings Heath, Birmingham. I just wanted to see what was on offer, since I can't afford to buy anything due to financial and space constraints. The trains weren't running today though, due to maintenance work, so we had to catch a replacement bus service between Coventry and Birmingham International. When I got back home, I spent a couple of hours reorganising my MP3 files. The Corrs, to be precise. I'm a bit obsessive-compulsive about my iTunes library. Once I'd done that though, I got right to work on my French composition about the mass media. Got it done really quickly too, so now I'm rewarding myself with the latest episodes of Ghost Whisperer and Doctor Who! Will worry about the portfolio commentary tomorrow evening, I suppose. At the rate I'm going, I probably won't have time to get it bound, but it's not exactly compulsory so I'm not too bothered. It would be nice though...