Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Episode 646: Almost Home...

So practically all my stuff has been packed away. I'm just a bit nervous that my luggage to be checked in is overweight. I've stuff as much as I can into my carry-on, so if that inexplicably gets weighed (it's only happened once to me before and that was at Birmingham International), I am screwed. Otherwise, all is well. Had a minor panic this morning when I thought my bin hadn't been emptied because there was some stupid regulation about not emptying bins with excess trash bags piled around them, but it turns out they were just running late today. I've now binned all those trash bags and left the bin outside to be emptied again next week. There was actually another bin that I'd dragged out from the back garden and filled with trash bags as well, but the juniors must have wheeled it over to my neighbours down the road. It's because the number on the bin isn't actually the same as my own house, but it's the number for another house my landlord owns on this road. Whatever. Out of sight, out of mind. I'm now valiantly trying to consume all my junk food, having eaten up all the 'proper' food in the afternoon, and it's making me feel really sick. Might actually just toss that last bag of crisps, even if they are Sensations!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Episode 645: Cleaning...

I've always thought Enver Gjokaj a brilliant actor since I saw him in Dollhouse, so I'm quite pleased that he's just appeared as a guest star on Lie To Me. Don't think it's very original though, his character having such a similar story to Victor in Dollhouse. It's almost like he's being typecast. I spent the afternoon packing, and I'm practically done now. Worst comes to worse, I'll just chuck whatever's left in a plastic bag and dump it upstairs, rather than arranging it all properly. It does look, however, quite impossible to fit all of this into just one taxi when I come back in September! Might ask a housemate to do me a favour and meet me in Coventry and follow a second taxi back. I'd pay, of course. Have also sprayed the bathroom with bleach, and that's got rid of most of the stains, except for a couple of really stubborn ones on the grouting of the bathtub. I even found time to write a story for the latest Six Sentences competition, my story for the last anthology having just been accepted. David Tait's also given me a couple of online magazines to review, so I need to get started on those at some point. It seems like I'm not going to get any time to breathe during my weekends either! Am kind of glad now that my attachment projects sound like they definitely wouldn't require me to bring work home from the office.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Episode 644: AdHoc Slam

Packed schedule today! Popped to Westwood Campus to hand in my report, and along the way, I got a call from a chirpy lady canvassing donations for Oxfam, so had to spend some time on that, even though I was already late for meeting Bella. I did commit to donating, £15 each month, but I've got a month to change my mind because the direct debit only kicks in at the end of July. Will probably have to cancel it, simply because there isn't actually money in my account. Oh well. It was good to catch up with Bella, just chatting about stuff in general. Had a good chat with Lola too, when I got home from the AdHoc slam-cum-fundraiser. That went quite well, although I couldn't stay till the end. I don't think I've ever heard Sophie Mac play live, and I thought she was great! Would've liked to have stayed out with everyone, but I've got to continue packing tomorrow, as well as start cleaning the bathroom, so missing the last bus back to Coventry was sadly out of the question. I've still got far too much that needs to go into boxes, and I'm definitely over the limit for my luggage, so I'm going to have to leave even more stuff behind now. Argh...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Episode 643: Party At Sophie's

Managed to finish reading The City & The City on the way back from Sophie's, but I checked and found that there's already a review scheduled to go up this week, so I have some room to breathe. This week is turning out to be a bit more hectic than I thought! Spent the morning in church, so I got to see a couple of people one last time before summer vacation. Then headed to Sophie's place for the barbecue, where I saw the second half of the England-Germany match. As a non-partisan viewer, I had no actual investment in the outcome, but it was quite appalling nonetheless. Stayed until evening because I wanted to come home and write this review, but I had to wait about 45 minutes for the bus, and by the time I got back, all I could think about was packing. I've cleared some books, as well as filled my carry-on luggage, which I suspect is actually overweight now, but I'm going to risk it. I'd say I'm about a third of the way through my packing. It's mostly just separating out which books and clothes I want to leave behind in the UK versus which ones I want to bring back to Singapore. I'm mostly anticipating the problem of third year, when I'll have to bring every thing back at one go, so if I can lug more stuff back this year, I really should. Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Episode 642: Stupid, Stupid Virgin Media

So I miscounted, and we're actually short of one bill for our broadband, so I really am living on whatever's in my wallet. Virgin still being stupid and not sending the prepaid envelope, so I sent them a lightly barbed e-mail complaint. I really don't see why they can only send me the envelope after disconnection, when the whole point is that I'm disconnecting because I'm flying out of the country, a fact that I've made very, very explicit in my exchanges with them. Well, I can't imagine what they'd do if we don't send it back. I told them as much in my complaint, saying that they could go ahead and not send me the envelope immediately, if they didn't mind waiting until September to get the equipment back. Blockheads! We'll just have to see if my theory concerning customer relations here is right, i.e. you can pretty much get your own way no matter what by being a bully. Anyway, was meant to attend Will's birthday party, but I'd got started on the archaeology report, and was within spitting distance of the end when it was time to head to Leamington, so I made a responsible decision, and it's now done. It's far from good, but it won't fail because I've demonstrated sufficient understanding in my work, and frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. To reward myself, I watched the finale of Doctor Who, which showed this series to have a beautiful symmetry of construction, in its own way. Now to wait until Christmas...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Episode 641: Broke!

So after topping up our joint account in anticipation of another massive electricity bill, I'm basically broke. Technically, I still have about £15 for the next couple of days, which is manageable. I just have to stay at home and be a hermit. Anyway, I finished reading a collection of plays by Complicite, a British experimental theatre company. The plays were The Street Of Crocodiles, The Three Lives Of Lucie Cabrol and Mnemonic. I really like the company's philosophy of devising work, and the process produced strikingly different results in each of the plays. I think Mnemonic was probably my favourite, just because it had an amazing opening. Then I caught a film being screened in the Arts Centre, Catherine Allen's The Rotarians. I'd meant to see that the first time it was screened, and I even downloaded it off the Warwick website, but just never got around to watching it. It was interesting, as I knew practically nothing about the Rotarians before this, although having watched the film, it raised more questions in my mind than it answered. (Randomly, I just got scammed of about £9 while trying to complete a job on what seems the otherwise legitimate Short Task. Not amused at all.)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Episode 640: I Was Part Of Tennis History!

So I was lame and missed the redelivery. I literally peeked out the window just as the van was pulling away. Annoying. Have given up and decided to go into the city centre tomorrow to pick up the parcel. Then did nothing of use the entire afternoon, although I was part of tennis history because I saw a live streaming of the match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon, and actually saw the winning serve! The whole thing lasted 11 hours and five minutes, although I only watched today's part of the match, having become intrigued by all the buzz surrounding what has turned out to be a truly epic game of tennis. (On a frivolous side note, can you imagine a drinking game involving this match? Like a shot for every ace. Or consume a finger every time either player equalises. This could be fatal. Now when's the DVD of the match coming out?) Thankfully, the match ended when it did, or I wouldn't have made it to the launch of Polarity Magazine. Amanda Hopkins, or Kit as she calls herself when doing music, played at the start, and although I didn't think I would, I actually really enjoyed her songs. I liked the stuff that was read out too, but the people who really blew me away were the first-year students who read. Like, just wow. Would've bought some of the stuff from Nine Arches Press, but am a bit low on cash at the moment, so even picking up a copy of the magazine was stretching my wallet dangerously thin for the next couple of days. Oh well. The perils of bungled budgeting...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Episode 639: Lots And Lots Of Plays!

Got my hair cut today, although Michelle insisted there was no difference when I bumped into her outside Curiositea. Oh well. Borrowed a whole bunch of plays from the Library to read, now that I've just finished with Dove Release: New Flights And Voices, edited by David Morley. You've got to love Methuen for publishing their volumes of Collected Plays. It really is very handy. Bella and I both agree that plays are probably the easiest genre to read, and I for one find them to be so precisely because I don't actually study them on my course. (Well, I will next year!) Typed out some tweets for Evolve Journal in preparation for when I finally have time to tweet regularly for the journal, but I'm starting to think that 10-15 tweets daily is a bit unrealistic. Every alternate day seems more manageable to be honest. That and it's not that easy to find material that's actually worth tweeting to all our followers! I also thought of getting back into the submissions game, now that I've a bit more time on my hands, but too many of the places I'm planning to submit to have rejected me within the past month or so, so it feels kind of pointless to try them again. I did send off two anyway, receiving another record-breaking reply. This time, it was eight minutes between submission and rejection, and I sent four poems, so this editor gave each one about twice as much reading time as the last editor I wrote about, who gave each one less than a minute. I'm getting a bit grumpy about this, aren't I?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Episode 638: Little Bits Of Happiness

I'd planned to begin on that report today, but having looked again at what it's required to cover, I've realised that this report effectively calls for duplicating about half of the one that I did for the autumn module, so I've got less work cut out for me than I thought. Could probably get the whole thing done in a day now, if I set aside a few hours for it. This has made me very, very pleased indeed. Another thing to be pleased about was finding a promotional code for National Express and getting my coach to Heathrow at half-price! That was a steal. Anyway, I've begun reading for fun again, now that it's actually not guilt-inducing anymore. Read George Ttoouli's Static Exile in the early hours of the morning, and I really enjoyed the title poem. Will say that I found the collection more accessible than I thought it would be. Then this afternoon, I read Skipping Without Ropes by Jack Mapanje, which I found interesting as well, as Mapanje writes from a background which it's almost impossible for me to relate to. (I honestly don't think that I'm ever going to be imprisoned for my writing. Ever.) Am, of course, still continuing to make my way through The City & The City. Just finished the first part, so the action's switching from Besźel to Ul Qoma and things are beginning to get complicated.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Episode 637: Done!

Well, sort of, since there's still that report to write. I wrote a pantoum in the examination, as well as an essay about writing pantoums. Oh, and an essay about why I write. All this without once referring to The New Poetry! Promptly celebrated the end of the academic year by finishing a sizeable bottle of Smirnoff Ice, which has subsequently gone to my head and stayed there, apparently. Possibly drinking on an (almost-)empty stomach wasn't the smartest of decisions! Spent the rest of the evening watching The Golem: How He Came Into The World, which is a silent film, so we had a live band playing accompaniment. It was interesting, and definitely worked to accentuate humorous moments in the film, although I have subsequently discovered that Wikipedia calls it a 'silent horror film', which I personally find a bit baffling. As an introduction for me to German Expressionism though, it was more enjoyable than I thought it would be, even if throughout, I kept thinking that I want to re-read Stanislaw Lem's Golem XIV. (I have it photocopied somewhere in my room back in Singapore.)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Episode 636: Chilling Out Before My Last Paper Of The Year...

Have just finished re-reading my selection of eight poets from The New Poetry, after putting it off successfully for the entire day by buying food and watching TV shows. The selection I made was unsurprising, thematically and in terms of form. I guess you could say my preferences in poetry are somewhat predictable. Okay, very predictable. Am now faced with a choice between watching more of the already-cancelled Defying Gravity, which is one of those vaguely interesting science fiction shows that can't seem to survive in the USA, or continuing to read China Miéville's The City & The City for next week's review at Evolve Journal. Have got through two chapters so far and it's riveting, although this is partly because I have a rough idea of what the plot is, so I'm very curious to see how it plays out. Will probably read the book instead, since that way I can convince myself I'm working towards clearing some of the stuff that's been accumulating in the space between finishing with examinations and flying home for summer. I've even managed to get involved with tweeting for Evolve Journal, which shouldn't be too hard, provided I can find the time to research material for the tweets, which are all meant to be topical. 10-15 a day is no small task...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Episode 635: Boom

So the paper went okay, sort of. The questions I needed to come out did come out, but I think my organisation of the essays wasn't strong enough to do any of my ideas justice at all, so can't expect more than a mid 2:1 from this, I guess. Damn it, that's not enough for a First on this module with the essay marks I already have. Would be more upset about this, but I'm at that stage where I just want the academic stuff to be over and done with, so really couldn't care anymore. (I'll eat my words for sure when it comes to applying for MA sponsorship from MOE and I don't have a First overall because I've adopted the same attitude for my final year.) So just one more paper to go on Monday, and I'm free for the next two weeks. Well, sort of. There's still that archaeology report to compile, which is going to take a while, even if I don't try too hard and just throw together some data hashed out from all the stuff I've got floating about. Then there's another book review to write, and possibly have to start tweeting regularly for that journal as well. Plus there's that blogging stint at Incwriters coming up in a month. Argh. All these things I would normally enjoy individually, but their conjunction is almost feeling like it's too much to take. Almost. I'm literally not used to having what passes for a busy schedule in my book. Oh, Doctor Who was awesome tonight, by the way, in case you were wondering. Quite a good way to decompress after an afternoon of furious scribbling, although I wish I liked Ben & Jerry's Cheesecake Brownie more. It really isn't that impressive a flavour.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Episode 634: Tock

Should I be happy that an editor whose critical views I personally don't respect that much (because I find them too vitriolic and sarcastically dismissive to be taken seriously) has rejected my work for not being to his taste? At least for a change, I'm confident that the stuff I sent in was actually rather good, if I may say so. Oh well. As of right now, have read those 18 pages for tomorrow's paper seven times in total, with at least one more round before I go to bed, and another round tomorrow before leaving the house. Hopefully, everything'll work out like it did last year and I'll surprise myself by getting a decent mark again. Noticed something interesting in the 'Willowwood' sonnets, so that might be useful to stick in my essay somewhere, especially when comparing to some minor points I wanted to make about form in Levy's short lyrics. I feel like I'm being a bit too blasé about tomorrow, but at the same time, I feel like the amount of preparation I've put in is commensurate with how hard I secretly think it's going to be, although I would never publicly admit it. This is mostly me trusting Mel's judgement, I guess, since our perspectives on academic difficulty are likely to coincide, given our common educational background. Will update on how it went tomorrow...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Episode 633: Tick

Woke up this morning and was strangely productive, if you consider skimming articles for possible quotes to be productive. I got pretty much everything that I think I'll use on Saturday by about 2 pm, and since Sophie happened to be in the Library, I got her to print off 18 pages for me and stick it in a book for me to pick up when I got to campus. Very pseudo-espionage. Have read those pages twice today, and bits of them are finally starting to stick in my head. My favourite is still Edward Hirsch: 'Lyric poetry speaks out of a solitude to a solitude.' I'm randomly quite pleased that I can finally remember the start of that Shelley quote, i.e. 'A poet is a nightingale who sit in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds,' although what comes after that has yet to fix itself in my head beyond 'his auditors are'. I suppose the first part is what matters for my essay though? Right, think I'm going to go off and read the 18 pages again. Need to try harder to remember stuff. I mean, all the poems rhyme, so that's already a big help, isn't it?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Episode 632: The Buzz-phrase Is 'Paradoxical Solitude'

Am done with revision for Clare. Could be done with Keats as well, if I didn't want to do some reading up on the odes. Am sorely tempted not to do so, simply because I've just read a PhD thesis by a University of St Andrews student that I think would read very impressively even if all I did was borrow its main ideas and shove them into an essay that was about nature, and not specifically solitude. All I need is for a question on nature that's worded vaguely enough, and I can probably twist it to write the essay that I want to write. Of course, a vague question on solitude would be even better, but let's not be too greedy. Oh well. May just quickly skim through what I was going to read for the odes and see if there's anything in there on nature that I can pick out. Keats's odes would obviously be good to analyse, but they're just too long compared to the sonnets I've picked out, and I'm running out of time in which to memorise stuff. As it is, I'm probably going to end up paraphrasing most of my quotes from critics and picking out single words from the poem when doing the close reading. Incidentally, there's another anthology coming out from Six Sentences, this time for stories titled 'The Mysterious Dr. Ramsey'. I've submitted a story, which returns to the theme of prostitution I employed in 'The Green Bike'. I think it's a pretty interesting six-sentence story, so maybe this time I can win the prize money. (Just read the prizewinner from the last anthology, and I didn't think it was actually that great!)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Episode 631: Laura's Birthday Picnic

Just got back from Laura's epic birthday picnic, which was still going strong when us Coventry boys (Alex, Dan and me) had to leave to catch the 12 home. Had been there since about 4 pm, so I clearly haven't done much revision today, apart from reading a bit more of the book of quotations I mentioned yesterday. Am going to finish that off once I finish posting this entry! Feeling a lot less worried about examinations now, having just worked out that even in my worst-case scenario, I probably will still get a First overall for the year, just barely. This is assuming I get as low as 70 for LL209 overall, which I think is tremendously unlikely even if the examination I sat for a couple of weeks ago won't get as good a mark as I'd aimed for, and do averagely for both upcoming papers, which is entirely possible, given how ill-prepared I actually am at this point. Ah well, it'll sort itself out somehow. Our landlord says we can leave our stuff in the house at our own risk over the summer, so that's a really important thing sorted out. Also managed to sort out our Internet situation with Virgin, which is now getting terminated when it should be, with no extra charge.

Anyway, rejections have been trickling in over the past week or so, but I've stuck to my resolution about not sending stuff out until I'm actually done with work for the year. With the benefit of some distance from the work, gained by the simple passage of time since that last frenzied round of submissions, as well as the self-awareness prompted by some of my recent reading that my desire to see my work published is in danger of becoming a goal for its own sake, and thereby displacing the actual desire to write, I can now see that some of the pieces are just not good, and while the others are decent, I shouldn't feel like finding them a home automatically equals a validation of their quality. Don't get me wrong here, as I'm grateful to all the editors that have accepted my work in the past. I just think that I've succumbed to the temptation to view my acceptance/rejection ratio as a judgement on the value of my work in general. There is a correlation, certainly, but it's by no means meant to be an absolute pronouncement. Randomly, all this is probably going to make for an interesting series of posts when I take up my guest blogging stint at Incwriters. Probably should write those out in advance, given how busy I'll be while on attachment. Add one more to the list of things to do right after finishing on Monday...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Episode 630: The Weather Is Still Bipolar

Woke up early to wait for DHL to collect one of my boxes, but the guy didn't show up until after noon. Oh well. Then waited some more until the latest delivery of books arrived, out of which I was returning two. Taped everything up, and then did a balancing act with two boxes in hand and one parcel in my bag on the bus ride to campus. I could have just walked to the post office further down, but I wanted to return a book to the Library anyway. Have spent most of the time since then procrastinating and reading The Bloodaxe Book Of Poetry Quotations, edited by Dennis O'Driscoll. It's actually quite entertaining, and I'm telling myself that this will be useful for EN238 next Monday, so I've actually done work today for a change. I've looked up some articles that might be relevant for the EN227 essays anyway, although I suspect a lot of my argument this time is going to be me imposing logic on my close readings, as opposed to relying on a bunch of critics to do it for me. So basically, I'll finally be doing what my tutors have been gently recommending since last year.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Episode 629: Re-reading Done

After suffering a mild crisis, in which I acknowledged to myself that the attempt to re-read all of the set texts was laudable but ultimately too much, too late, I've abandoned said attempt. I have, however, just finished re-reading all the poems that I plan to use in my essays. Had to make some changes in the Victorian half, as having picked religion and sexuality as themes, I'm wary of being forced by the question into writing an essay too similar to what I did for my assessed work, even if the poets I'm using are completely different. Have substituted the theme of death for sexuality instead, which is handy because both Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Amy Levy have written poems that deal with death. Am actually starting to feel quite positive about this paper now, especially because I am beginning to see the clear links between the poems I've chosen. (I know it should work the other way around, but I'm an incredibly lazy student at times.) Right now, I'm in a position where I probably won't fail, since I'm capable of doing close readings on all the poems I've chosen. What I don't have is some sort of broader argument with which to anchor said readings. I mean, I have vague ideas, the one for the two Romantics striking me as reasonable, if not really based on any critical material I've encountered so far to the best of my knowledge. No idea how I'm going to fit the two Victorians together yet, so I'm hoping for a really vague question on either death and/or religion to come out. If a question comes out that explicitly relates the two, it might be the best thing to happen to me in an examination. Ever.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Episode 628: Epic Re-reading Session!

Just read Peter Blegvad's The Book Of Leviathan, and that comic is quite possibly the most intelligent and witty one I've ever come across. Well and truly impressed now. Anyway, am I the only one who found Matt Smith's shower scene in tonight's episode gratuitous? He's not terribly unattractive, but not to the point where the writers absolutely had to have him get his kit off. Okay, no more spoilers from me. I did get quite a bit of re-reading done today while I was in the Library, including a few minutes when I totally figured out how to link Keats firmly to both nature and solitude. At the same time! The idea came from his first published poem, 'O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell', which isn't actually one of the set texts, but does bear relating to poems that are. Plus it's a sonnet, and I'm going through a bit of a phase right now. (It'll pass. Eventually.) In other news, my earlier flight is still not confirmed. Am resigned to flying on the original one, but am also thinking it's probably a stupid idea to start the attachment suffering from a case of jet lag. (Not that anyone would actually notice, I think. I'm extremely professional that way.) May try to get a flight somewhere between the two Saturday ones instead. Have actually sent an e-mail to both my mentor at HQ and my scholarship officer in which I suggest that, after apologising profusely for any inconvenience I'm causing. (I just want them to like me. Is that so wrong?) Am actually secretly hoping they'll tell me to book a new flight if I want, but they'll give me a one-week postponement anyway, hence eliminating the jet lag problem! Do you think I'll be that lucky? I was very, very apologetic in my e-mail.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Episode 627: My Shabby Eating Habits

Slow but steady progress. Have re-read the Wordsworth poems, and they are tolerable. I am just not a particular fan of the 'first-generation' Romantics. Duncan Wu doesn't help, with his glossing that I sometimes find downright insulting to my intelligence. Granted, maybe not everyone would know the meaning of 'fructifying' or 'liveries', so I really ought to be more forgiving. Whatever. Have been playing Fractal to procrastinate, but I can't get past this set of levels and it's starting to get frustrating. Incidentally, I haven't eaten anything substantial for the past 48 hours. Since yesterday, here's all I've had: one bag of Sensations crisps, about a dozen pieces of After Eight, one bag of Doritos, a quarter of a carton of Innocent smoothie, a fifth of a pint of Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie. Am about to consume a tube of Pringles while soldiering on through the Romanticism anthology, but that's about it. May consider venturing onto campus tomorrow for solid food. I do have stuff in the freezer, but I haven't been out of the house for two days and it's starting to get on my nerves a little. Thankfully, have plans to be out for at least two days of next week. Not the best idea with papers looming, but hey, we can all afford to live more dangerously, right? Oh yeah, remember that mysterious bundle of Topman bling that showed up a while ago? I've figured out where I got it. I Googled my name (admit it, you've done it as well) and realised that I'd actually won a competition, which I'd completely forgotten I'd entered. You know, one of those click-to-participate, no effort required at all. So there we go. Mystery solved!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Episode 626: New TV Shows!

Just when I thought it was safe to get on with revision, I discovered that the pilot for Pretty Little Liars has aired. This is yet another book-to-TV series, but don't dismiss it just because of that. The basic premise is intriguing enough, and I can see why the show has been described as I Know What You Did Last Summer meets Gossip Girl, and Desperate Housewives for tweens. I think the series has potential, even if some of the controversial elements are completely unnecessary (like that passionate teacher-student kiss at the end) and make this an odd choice for ABC Family to air. I will say though, it's nice to see Holly Marie Combs back on a television series. If there's one thing strange about this show, it's how flat-out unattractive some of the cast members are. Lucy Hale (from Privileged) is really pretty, but the other girls in the clique are better described as 'striking' or worse, 'ordinary'. If they'd been more uniformly attractive, I'd say this series was a better fit for The CW, although the apparent target demographic may be too young for that network. The pilot for NBC's Persons Unknown has also aired, but I think I'm going to save that one for summer viewing when I'm home. Am still waiting for the new season of Hung to air, but I'm glad Royal Pains is back, as well as Lie To Me and Three Rivers, the latter finally brought back to burn off its remaining episodes after being cancelled earlier in January.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Episode 625: Books, Books, And More Books

Got both portfolios back today, and they turned out okay. Had hoped for better, but I'll take what I've got. Still, thank goodness for my French marks. Even though they're not going to be as fantastic as I'd been aiming for initially, they're totally fulfilling their purpose of pulling up my average. (All of this, naturally, only matters because I need a First if I want to have a shot at getting sponsored by MOE for a Masters.) Also picked up a lot of books at the department's book sale, most of them being free books donated by tutors. A lot of poetry, mostly from Shearsman. Carried it all the way home, and thankfully, it only started raining after I'd got home. Mad props, by the way, to the delivery guy who showed up just before 10 pm with my books from Amazon UK. Talk about crazy dedication from a shipping company that's usually pretty lousy. Among the books they've brought me is Peter Blegvad's The Book Of Leviathan, which should prove interesting reading when I'm not pretending to revise. Speaking of which, I have finally begun re-reading the Romantics. Have only gone through part of Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell, which is still brilliant. Coming up though, is Charlotte Smith's 'Beachy Head'. That's going to be painful. Randomly, there's a fly in my room and it's really annoying because I can't catch it. Also randomly, for the amount of effort I put into making sure we don't get cheated of our money, my housemates really should pay me. Haha...

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Episode 624: Stupid Short Loan!

Am almost finished with The New Poetry. Not quite sure what to read after that for revision. Oh well. So it's been raining for the past couple of days, and I was going to stay at home and chill with the new episode of Lie To Me, but I discovered that I had an overdue Short Loan book, so had to race down to campus. The damage was £10! Not amused. Anyway, I've been spending a while on YouTube, watching music videos. Have seen Lady Gaga's 'Alejandro', which I found interesting, but less impressive than her previous videos. For one, it felt overextended, which was never a problem before. With 'Alejandro' though, there were segments where the track was obviously mixed just to pad out visual sequences that felt like they could have been trimmed without losing much. Plus the simulated orgy motif is really getting a bit worn out now. Mylène Farmer's 'Dégénération' had it, and then it popped up on a literally massive scale in Kylie Minogue's 'All The Lovers', so it's not particularly shocking. (They weren't even that good-looking in 'Alejandro'!) Miley Cyrus's 'Can't Be Tamed', on the other hand, intrigues me. I've never been a fan of her voice, which actually really annoys me. It's not the country twang so much as how shrill she gets. Have a listen to 'Party In The U.S.A.' to see what I mean. On her newest single, however, bless Auto-Tune for making her sound at last like every other disposable female popstar on the scene, i.e. this is something you can listen to without wanting to saw your ears off (unless you're a musical purist/snob). The video isn't particularly original, but for an artiste who's (unsurprisingly) trying to break away from her Disney origins, it's a decent piece of work. It's completely trashy, of course, but in a way that slots it neatly into the current landscape of pop. I've tried listening to the song without the video though, and it doesn't have quite the same impact without the visuals, so I'm not holding out high hopes for the rest of the album.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Episode 623: Boxes Packed...

I'm sure there's a satisfying psychological explanation for my love of administrative work, like data entry, but I have yet to have it told to me. Well, it's good to know that if all else fails, I can always become a secretary. Went to Varsity after that and had myself another curry. The vindaloo there packs a good enough punch. You can literally feel it burning inside you after you've eaten it. Also managed to find the time to finish packing my boxes for shipping home. There's three in total (one for Chris, two for me), and if only I'd not forgotten to photocopy my passport, I could be getting Seven Seas to collect it on Wednesday. Instead, I'm going to put it off till Friday, since I should be heading down to the department's book sale on Wednesday and I think Seven Seas needs at least 24 hours' notice for a collection. I've still got way too many books left in the UK, but I've convinced myself they will be utterly necessary and that I will have plenty of time next year to read them. (I tell myself that all the time.) Randomly, I've also decided that my ideal life would be to spend half of the year in Paris, and the other half in New York. Yes, I am a huge, walking cliché. So what?

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Episode 622: The New Poetry

Just done the titles for the week that nobody signed up for. Still don't have remote desktop access though, so I can't upload anything yet. Managed to read about a third of The New Poetry in the Library between morning and evening services (was singing today), and that was after having a longish chat with Gaby over tea. The Library is starting to reek of sweat and desperation, by the way. Not very pleasant. Was very glad for the rain today though. It was kind of getting too warm to concentrate on anything! Mel has repeatedly assured me that the EN227 paper isn't a difficult one, so I'm hoping she's right. I guess I just need to focus and start do a bit of research, enough to throw in a bit of contextual knowledge. I'll feel more confident about the essays then. The New Poetry, incidentally, is pretty good, although because it came out so long ago, it's a bit strange to look at the dates of birth for most of the poets, who are largely in their 60s by now. Doesn't mean they don't still sound fresh though. From the selection in the anthology alone, Paul Durcan has definitely secured a place in my list of favourite poets.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Episode 621: Poets/Themes Chosen!

So my Harris matrix was apparently pretty much 100% correct, save for those bits that I wasn't sure about. Have corrected and printed it out, so that's 20% of the assessment in the bag. Should probably get cracking on the report that constitutes 80%, and it's totally going to be an exercise in making up stuff that I don't actually understand fully. Sort of. What could go wrong? Headed to the Library after that to force myself to figure out what I want to do for EN227. Have settled on John Keats and John Clare in relation to nature and solitude, as well as Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Amy Levy in relation to sexuality and religion. I really hope I don't regret those choices eventually! I deliberately picked two pairs of poets that could be used for two themes (although I'm on slightly shaky ground regarding the theme of nature), as I'm lazy and don't feel quite up to learning more than a pair of poets for each half of the module. In line with this general burst of sudden industry, I've finished packing one of my boxes to be shipped back! Have estimated that I should be just under the weight limit, seeing as the box is full to the brim with only paperbacks and it makes no sense to create a box for books that can't be filled completely without exceeding the weight limit. Right?

Friday, June 04, 2010

Episode 620: Revision Blues...

So the flash fiction I wrote a while back is in The Green Bike Stories from Six Sentences! My biography at the end looks embarrassingly wordy compared to the majority of the other contributors. I tried to catch some rays in the afternoon, but that only worked out for about an hour before intermittent cloud cover drove me back inside. (Incidentally, Tesco must be conspiring to make students fat. Buy one, get one free for Doritos, less than half-price for Pringles? Madness. I caved, naturally.) I've managed to re-read all my lecture/seminar notes for EN227, which has led me to conclude that I really don't care much for most of the Romantics, and this is definitely going to be the biggest problem for my revision, not being able to find poets and themes that I want to write about for that half of the module. The Victorians aren't as hard to choose for, mainly because their obsessions are things that I am personally drawn to as themes anyway, and who can't like a group of poets as neurotic as them? Still not buying Hopkin's sprung rhythm though. It works fine when you read it on the page or aloud, but try and read his technical explanation of it, and the whole thing smacks of trying too hard.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Episode 619: Harris Matrix Draft

So I woke up at about 9.30 am and then decided to be productive, even though I'd planned on sleeping till much later. Spent the morning looking for the second batch of film titles, and then in the afternoon, I decided to start cracking on my Harris matrix draft, which I've just finished now, after getting back from cluster at church. Have done it in Word because it's just silly to draw it by hand, although I will do that if the tutor insists. It's just so much easier to edit in Word, and it actually looks very good. Tidy, clean lines. I could so have gone into architecture. Or engineering. I'm pretty sure there are at least two or three mistakes in what I've done, but on the whole, it's on the right track, I'm absolutely certain. Now if only there wasn't a report to write as well. Only 1500 words, but it's painful when you have no clue what you're actually doing for once. Oh well! It's such a shame that I had to spend a bit of the afternoon doing this, when I could've been outside the entire time, topping up my tan. I did manage to get some time under the sun, but not nearly enough. I want a tan, damn it!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Episode 618: Drinks + Leamington > Revision + Coventry

Still haven't done the things that I should have, like collecting a second batch of titles for WSC or doing a draft Harris matrix for Saturday's lesson, but I did get some more re-reading done for EN238. Had to go to campus to zap a copy of the revision lecture handout for Dan, but my stupid iPod was being cranky and my laptop's running out of space, and technological crises are too tempting not to attempt to resolve, so I ended up arriving a full hour after he did. (Sorry about that!) Had band practice in the evening, so I wasn't planning on turning up at Christian's drinking session in Leamington. Practice ended earlier than I expected though, so it was only about 8 pm by the time I left church. Figured I'd turn up for drinks if I could get a 12 that would put me in Leamington by 9.30 pm, which I did manage to catch. Having travelled back and forth from there a couple of times over the past few days, I'm actually quite surprised by how little time it takes, now that practically nobody gets on or off between campus and Leamington. (Yeah, Jerrick, it's like nobody likes Kenilworth, despite it being so pretty and all.) Oh, by the way, my book review is up here, so if you'll excuse my shameless self-promotion and check out the other stuff Evolve Journal has to offer, I'd be most grateful!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Episode 617: Boxes, Boxes, Boxes...

Managed to get started on revision today, even if it consisted of re-reading EN238 handouts and I haven't actually cracked open The New Poetry yet. Dhruvni, Sophie and I were in Costa for about three hours, before the barista came to chase us out, ostensibly because there were a lot of customers in the queue. Ironically, by the time we actually left, quite a few seats had become empty, definitely more than enough. Plus Sophie hadn't even finished her frescato! So we ended up in Starbucks. (You can see how expensive this not-revising-at-home business is.) Anyway, the boxes have arrived for packing my books to be shipped off, so I've just had a stab at that. What I really need right now is a weighing scale, so if anyone has one that I can borrow for a few days, please let me know! Chris's books will definitely fit into one box, except it'll probably be insanely over the weight limit. The good news, however, is that we'll probably need only three, at most four, boxes. Seven Seas actually delivered four more than what I ordered for some reason, but they take unused ones back and don't charge you, so it's not a problem. In other news, Firstfruits back in Singapore are calling for submissions for a new anthology. Am honestly tempted, since I definitely have six to eight good poems, and since the editor for the anthology is open to taking reprints, I get to resubmit some of my best stuff! Would actually be really cool if I make the cut. We'll see? Off to work out the harmony for that new song Matt wants to do tomorrow, and then bed...