Sunday, October 31, 2010

Episode 769: A Clockwork Orange

No progress on the Incwriters posts yet, and now I've got to get started on WSC stuff as well. Collecting titles for a couple of films, which shouldn't take long, and writing two reviews, of New York, I Love You and Resident Evil: Afterlife. Don't think I'm going to offer to collect graphics this term, at least not until I've cleared everything else that I need to do. That would be, oh, reading three plays, a bunch of novels, and starting on my PWP. Nothing much really. I did finish reading A Clockwork Orange at last, and my opinion of it has been completely reversed. I think it has definite flaws, but at the structural level, it's interesting because of the way the final chapter, originally excised in the American edition, brings the narrative full circle, and then breaks out. I think without that final chapter, the tone of the story is completely shifted to something potentially more sinister, and yet the rest of the book, though set in a dystopian society, does not quite match up to the dismal ending of the American edition. That said, this novel has definite pacing issues, as I found the first third unbearably taxing to plod through, but the rest of the book was a surprisingly quick read. Finished it in an hour or so before service, sitting in the Library!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Episode 768: Reconsidering My Options...

Had blueberries for lunch because I felt so guilty about eating Vialli's again last night. Meant to finish writing all the blog entries that I need to schedule for my upcoming Incwriters stint, but have only managed to finish three out of eight, with the fourth half-completed. Oh well, at least I'm still ahead of schedule. Managed to finish the reading for this week's EN301 seminar, which I found myself disagreeing with on principle because there's nothing worse than militant feminist literary criticism. Have been acquiring a fair amount of music today, including albums by Matt Redman, Danny Saucedo, Erik Segerstedt and Matthew West. That reminds me, I need to purchase Sophie Mac's EP! Anyway, I think I'm slowly coming around to the opinion that it's not logical for me to spend time taking the GRE and applying to American universities if when I rank my choices for MOE, Warwick is still going to be the first one. The reasons for this are mostly non-academic, like being part of an awesome worship band in church, and possibly getting to do a reading in Leeds next September. It might seem like my priorities are wrong, but given that I don't have a strong preference for any of the four universities over the others for purely academic reasons, I say the peripheral factors are now the central ones for decision-making.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Episode 767: Flagging Productivity

You know that feeling when you've got loads to do, but you just don't feel like getting on with it? Am sort of in that state right now. I've just been reminded that I've got eight days of blogging to schedule for Incwriters, and I've only got ideas for three so far, which is slightly worrying. I haven't completed my readings for EN236 since weeks ago, and that's not going to change this week, especially since I don't actually have a copy of Muriel Spark's Robinson. You can see bits of it on Google Books, so I suppose that'll have to do. Pretty certain it's not going to turn out to be my kind of book though. Have just finished my writing task for this week after getting back from Louise's birthday bar crawl, so that's something accomplished at least. Totally going to do a Saturday of hardcore reading, and possibly some writing as well. I think it's best that I get cracking on the PWP as soon as possible, even if it's bashing out a mediocre poem that Michael Hulse would not approve of. I mean, I don't have to show the awful drafts to him, since I'm only checking in with him again in Week 7. Have even ordered a two-volume anthology, Chapters Into Verse, which collects poetry inspired by the Bible. I think it's going to make for interesting reading, allow me to compare what I'm writing against what other poets have written, or maybe even to see gaps that I can fill. Just briefly glancing through the contents pages, I could see that there are loads of poems about Adam and Eve, but very little about Cain and Abel, let alone Seth. It's definitely going to be that last aspect, giving voice to the silent characters, that'll be fascinating to work on.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Episode 766: First PWP Meeting

So today got off to a pretty disastrous start. Missed the 68 down to the Parade, and then I walked halfway to the U1 bus stop before realising that I'd left my bus pass at home in the pair of jeans I wore yesterday, so I had to double back. Then at the bus stop, two full U1s went by, so by the time I finally made it to the seminar, I was 35 minutes late. Absolutely mortifying. The Internet is also being temperamental. It works on and off, and I can't figure out why. It's either incompatible router settings or a weak wireless signal, and I can't figure out which it is. Or maybe we just have a lousy connection. Wouldn't explain why I have absolutely no problems connecting to the wireless network using my iPhone though. Argh! At least my PWP meeting with Michael Hulse went really well. He was enthusiastic about the idea that I've got, and I can tell he really thinks I could do something amazing with it. The original idea I had is already expanding in my mind, but what I need is to find the right stories out of the Bible, pairing iconic figures with non-speaking characters. The first group I've got so far is Cain/Abel/Seth, and I'm thinking of ending the sequence off with John/Judas/Matthias. Matthias particularly interests me because he was Judas's replacement among the Twelve, but I believe the Bible doesn't actually mention him again outside of Acts. I think there's an interesting parallel there with how Seth is Adam and Eve's 'replacement' son after Abel's death and Cain's subsequent banishment.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Episode 765: The Red Shoes

Caught Kneehigh Theatre's revival of The Red Shoes with Bella at the Arts Centre. They first produced it 10 years ago, and the revival's part of their thirtieth anniversary celebrations. There were loads of students in the audience because this play is on the curriculum, I think, and this was the performance with a post-show dialogue. Didn't stay till the end of that, but was around long enough to hear all the student-type questions. As for the production itself, it was excellent. The character of Lydia, incidentally, reminded me of The Emcee in Cabaret, which I saw in Singapore a couple of years ago with Fei Xiang starring as that character. You have that same ambivalent sexuality, narrating the events of the play. To me, however, The Red Shoes presents a far more primal tale than Cabaret. What's interesting about Emma Rice's take on Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale is how The Girl is clearly portrayed as having a future beyond the traditionally received narrative's ending where she dies. That ending may be viewed as problematic because of its very strongly moralising tone and connection to the church, not to mention that it's an angel that condemns her to dance in the first place. With Kneehigh Theatre's production, she appears to successfully overcome both the taint that the red shoes represent, as well as the strict religious institution that would have her damned without being given a second chance. The focus in the play is less on dialogue per se than on visuals, which is an interesting way of staging things. I particularly liked how The Girl's costume became progressively redder throughout. All in all, a thought-provoking evening, especially in light of what I'm working on for my PWP.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Episode 764: In Praise Of ReGenesis

Was trying to read more of The Atrocity Exhibition earlier, but I've given up now. I did really enjoy the short story appended to this Harper Perennial edition though. 'The Smile' is downright eerie. I've more or less decided that since I didn't buy a jacket from Superdry on Monday, I'll get all of J. G. Ballard's books instead. Am just waiting for the refund to come through on the Topman jacket. The repeated transactions from when I was buying train tickets over the weekend still haven't been reversed, which is mildly annoying so I've sent an e-mail to Chiltern Railways. Anyway, lately I've been getting back into ReGenesis. Am staying up to finish Season 1, and for the life of me I can't understand why I ever stopped midway in the first place because it's a brilliant show. Main protagonist Dr David Sandström is cast from a similar mould as House/Lightman, which unsurprisingly makes for highly entertaining interactions with the other characters. The brilliance of the show, however, rests in the extraordinary level of empathy the scientists have for human life, which seems rare to me in TV. In fact, I think all four seasons of ReGenesis should be made compulsory viewing for anyone who works in the biological sciences, in whatever capacity, as an empathy-building exercise. I reckon it would be very beneficial. Plus the way it's filmed is quite unusual. Every so often, the action rewinds and starts again, but tracking the story from a different character's perspective, so it's like putting pieces of a puzzle together.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Episode 763: Review Written!

So I decided that trying to finish the remainder of C, while feasible, wasn't necessarily going to add to my review of the book in any meaningful way. Also, I'd been at the bus stop for ages, there was a massive group of people waiting for the U1, and I figured that if I wasn't going to be able to get on, I might as well finish the book review and catch a later bus. So I doubled back to the Library and forced myself to bang out about 700 words or so. I think this is the harshest I've ever been for a review that's being sent off to Evolve Journal. Normally, I'm a lot more positive because I both like the books more and the idea with these reviews is generally to encourage people to (buy and) read the book, not savage it. Well, it's not like I ripped Tom McCarthy to shreds or anything. I'm definitely standing by my opinion that Remainder, his first published novel, is far superior to either Men In Space or C. Have now begun reading the other book I've got to review, which is Jonathan Raban's Driving Home: An American Scrapbook. Only made it through the introduction so far, but I already like the guy. He's even made me want to read William Empson's Seven Types Of Ambiguity. It sounds like one of those books that I should have read as a student of literature, but also a book that I would enjoy reading regardless of whether I had to or not, and that's always a plus.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Episode 762: C!

Am not allowing myself to go to bed until I get through at least half of C. It's actually not that hard to read something if you just force yourself to sit down and do it, no distractions. Not having Internet access at home helps, of course. That and there being only one TV show to watch today (Merlin), and I've already seen it. I suppose I could've skipped church and I might have finished reading it by now, leaving me plenty of time to write the review tomorrow, but I had to pay Arun for the weekend away. At least I don't have to worry about my French presentation anymore, as I finished that off while watching Merlin and yet another episode ReGenesis. Ah, Ellen Page. Such a good actress even way back in 2004. Definitely underused in Inception, by the way. I managed to schedule two posts for Eunoia Review while freezing my hands off at the bus stop after service, and this was despite having to contend with ridiculously unstable WiFi access. I suppose I could've been reading more of C instead, but what the heck!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Episode 761: Birthday Bar Crawl!

Went on a bar crawl for Sophie's birthday, but felt quite ill midway, so I stopped drinking when we got to TJ's. Felt well enough to have Vialli's though, so I'm eating disgustingly greasy chicken and wedges while watching ReGenesis. Still not done with C, which is bad, bad, bad, and I'm going to have to bang out the review really quickly at some point on Monday. I did finish my French composition at least, before leaving for the bar crawl. Apparently, Twitter can predict the fluctuations of the Dow Jones three to four days in advance, with an accuracy of 86.7%. That's crazy, but fascinating. Now if only I'd managed to start on my presentation on the Singaporean economy. I'm literally just going to be condensing information from the Wikipedia article, I think, which is awful but definitely more than adequate for the purposes of this class. Haven't even looked at 1 Henry IV, which is also bad, bad, bad. It's stupid that I'm falling behind so early in the term. I haven't even prepared anything for my PWP, so it's going to be a really short meeting with Michael Hulse on Thursday. I've also decided that I'm returning my Topman jacket and getting one from Superdry on Monday instead, if I can be bothered to go to the special student event. The suede of the Topman jacket is just going to be too much of a pain to maintain in the long run, I figure. That and some of the Superdry jackets are definitely closer to what I had in mind in the first place.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Episode 760: Bright Young Things & The Author

Lazed about for the better part of the afternoon, but at least I finally watched Stephen Fry's Bright Young Things, which has been sitting on my laptop hard drive for ages. Based on Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies, the film is deliciously decadent for the most part, and although the heartwarming ending plays out predictably, it's saved from being completely clichéd by the fact that it's brought out about by a mercenary transaction. The lives of the interwar period's Bright Young People are unabashedly showcased and deflated by Fry over the course of the film, and it's all done with such gorgeous excessiveness that the film just breezes along and before you've noticed, you've finished it and there goes a couple of hours of your life. I think it's really the kind of film that makes you want to read the book it's based on. (Yes, I know I said that yesterday too.) That said though, I kind of sense that Waugh's are the kind of novels that I could wind up either completely loving or hating, no middle ground about it. Should get them out from the Library at some point to find out for sure.

Then I went onto campus to see The Author with Bella. I think this definitely ranks among my most profoundly disturbing theatrical experiences. For starters, the play is performed in the audience itself, which already disrupts one of our most fundamental expectation of the theatre, that the action takes place onstage and we are insulated from it as spectators. The play only has four characters: Tim the playwright, two actors in the play-within-a-play, and an audience member. The dramatic tension of The Author derives from the impact that the play-within-a-play has on these four characters, pulling in the rest of us in the audience as they recount their individual stories. Slowly, we begin to piece together the horrifying truth behind all the events, and when we do, it's gut-wrenching. I mean, there were people in tears by the end of tonight's performance. It was harrowing, but you really had to be there to understand why, I think. It's not one of those plays that translates well in retelling after the fact. I bought a copy of the script, and interestingly, most of the audience (myself and Bella included) seemed to have left before the final piece of dialogue in the play, a segment that was somewhat conciliatory in its gestures, offering the audience a chance to decompress after the events they had just witnessed. In any case, it was brilliant theatre, and Tim Crouch joins a growing list of playwrights whose work I want to read (and possibly acquire).

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Episode 759: Finally (Sort Of) Seen Fight Club

Bella managed to get us £5 student tickets for The Author! I thought they weren't doing them for this show, so that was a pleasant surprise. Clearly need to save as much money as I can, after having bought that jacket last night. Still trying to finish Tom McCarthy's C so that I can write my review by Monday evening. Also waiting for the Jonathan Raban book to arrive for my other book review for The Cadaverine. Not sure what to expect from Raban as I've heretofore only heard of him, not read anything by him. Anyway, Dan's birthday at The Somerville Arms was fun. I even had a pint of ale for a change, instead of something boringly predictable (for me) like a bottle of Smirnoff Ice. Can't remember when I last saw so many of the creative writers together in one place. Annie and Kathy came back to ours and we all ordered Domino's. Again. Started watching Fight Club with the rest, but couldn't stay awake till the end, so I went to bed. If the film is at all faithful to the book though, I think it's time I started reading Chuck Palahniuk's stuff.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Episode 758: Missed The Bus (Again)

It had to happen eventually. Walked into my lecture late for the first time this year, but it wasn't alone, so it was hardly as mortifying as it could've been. Am beginning to realise that the time just before noon is actually a horrible time to attempt to catch the bus. It's actually easier to get on the U1 in the morning, compared to at noon. Ridiculous. LL251 was a bit of a bore this week because one of the activities was exactly the same as something we did in LL209 last year. One of the other students admitted to me during the break that he finds the pace of the lessons a bit slow too. I strongly suspect that all of us in the class who didn’t learn our French in an English school actually feel the same way. (I'm in general not impressed by the language-learning abilities of the English, holding to the view that every stereotype contains a kernel of truth.) Had actually hoped to see Tim Crouch's The Author tonight, completely on the spur of the moment because this was to be the performance with the post-show dialogue, but tickets were sold out. Went to the worship night at church instead like I’d originally planned to, and it was still a good way to end the day. (Also caved and bought that aviator jacket from Topman!) Still going to see The Author though, just on Friday instead with Bella.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Episode 757: Late Night Pizza!

Domino's 'Two for Tuesday' promotion: So bad for you, it's good. To be fair, I hadn't eaten a proper meal all day, so late night pizza really wasn't as bad as you might think. Had cell at Jethro's place before that, which was good, and also very convenient because it was literally down the road from my place. Quite apart from cell stuff, I also rediscovered my love for salted peanuts. Very moreish! Also had a very intellectual EN301 seminar in the morning, although it was mainly just one guy tossing out stuff like Kierkegaard as if it were the most blindingly obvious thing in the world to be discussing. I suppose what puts me off intellectuals is when you can tell that all their brainpower is focused inwards, thereby producing the sort of social awkwardness that is decidedly unattractive in any person. I'll stop here because this is bordering on a personal attack, I think. So to jump to a completely unrelated subject, I bought stuff today! A Ted Baker case for my iPod. Would've bought a couple of Topman t-shirts again, but I'm not willing to pay for shipping, so I'm wondering if I can find enough stuff to reach £75 and then get free shipping. That would mean spending on stuff that I don't necessarily need (or even want), so I'm going to sleep on this decision.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Episode 756: Failure To Arrive

Today's been a really bad day, bus-wise. Couldn't get on the U1 at the bottom of the Parade to get to church to do stuff for Kidz Klub, so I only spent like half an hour typing out stuff before I had to head to the Arts Centre for my EN301 lecture. Was completely distracted throughout that too, checking my e-mails on my iPhone. I swear, WiFi is like crack to me these days. I got the book reviewing gig for The Cadaverine, which is great news. Had completely forgotten about that until I got the editor's e-mail today. Speaking of which, I really ought to get on with reading Tom McCarthy's C, seeing as the review is due in a week. To return to the subject of buses though, I'm now typing this at the Arts Centre stop, two U1s having gone by 'full'. If it weren't for silly health and safety regulations, I'm sure I could be on my way home by now. I mean, call those buses full? They were practically empty, compared to what I deal with on a daily basis back home on the feeder service that goes by my block. I'm also starving, my fingers are freezing, and I feel like I should be trying to read A Clockwork Orange, but I honestly still can't find it in me to care about Burgess's novel. This is one of those Twitter #FML moments, except it really isn't, is it?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Episode 755: A Sunday Back & Forth

So while nursing the dregs of a cold, I sang for two services today. (Don't think I've ever actually done that before.) It was apparently good though. The whole worship, I mean, not my singing alone. I usually can't tell what the mix sounds like to the congregation, but our harmonies in the evening service definitely sounded good! Was pretty tiring being out the whole day though, and I had to get the bus back to Leamington in between the services to meet up with my writing group. Really excited about that, by the way. So I had lots of time on the bus (would've been more if I hadn't got a lift at the start and the end of the whole day), and I read a bit of William S. Burrough's The Naked Boys, even though that's not even one of the primary texts for EN236. It's good fun though, and I like it more than A Clockwork Orange anyway. Don't think I'm even going to finish that by Thursday. On the other hand, I have finished Hamlet. Now to re-read the beginning of Richard III for, funnily enough, the third time. Not even going to think about 1 Henry IV or A Midsummer Night's Dream yet!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Episode 754: Purchasing Decisions

Am being sorely tempted by two potential purchases at the moment. On the one hand, I'm looking to acquire J. G. Ballard's œuvre, as published by Harper. That'll set me back slightly more than £100, which I can definitely afford at this point, so it's a question of whether I'm going to regret it in a couple of weeks or months. That's totally the only reason I'm holding back. For the same reason, I'm hesitating over getting one of the new aviator jackets Topman just launched. £160 for something that's only from a high street brand really does seem like too much, doesn't it? I don't have a leather jacket though, and this has been annoying me ever since I let the Zara one get away. That's the only way I can justify buying yet another jacket. So books, jacket or both? Anyway, I've made some progress on Hamlet! Read two more acts and I'll get through the remaining two after the evening service tomorrow. No idea when I'll read the remaining three plays, although I might read at least the first scenes of all of them, since my tutor did say we're looking at beginnings at the next seminar. Also desperately trying to get through A Clockwork Orange, except I can see why it's a worthy book but I just don't care enough to read it! Maybe I should just skip ahead to The Atrocity Exhibition?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Episode 753: PWP Plans!

Didn't have anything on today, but I came onto campus anyway, to get TV shows and to start some preliminary research for EN329 Personal Writing Project. Found a couple of interesting books on the Bible as literature for that, so now it's a question of whether I'll be able to read them. I've also thought of a possible way to expand my original concept, i.e. a series of dramatic monologues delivered by Biblical characters who don't actually say anything in the Bible. Instead of looking for 30 characters who don't speak, why not have 15 pairs of characters, associated with significant Biblical events? That way, one of each pair becomes the silent participant/witness and the other is the one whose words actually made it into the Biblical record. It should be easier to create a coherent project out of this, I think, which could in turn be expanded at some future point. Mustn't get ahead of myself though, before I've actually written any of the poems. Also spent a good amount of time in the Library trying to format a bunch of poems for Eunoia Review. It was tough, trying to figure out what the poet's intentions were, but I reckon I've done my best. Just don't want to have to do anything like this again any time soon!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Episode 752: Eye-opening Seminar

Stayed up till past 1 am, finishing Timothy Conigrave's Holding The Man. It's by no means stylistically perfect (in fact, I would slit my wrists if I wrote like that), but it is a moving piece of autobiography, and you can see how the story lends itself to theatrical adaptation. I thought this morning's EN236 seminar was really good, by the way. I'd been vaguely aware of Dave Eggers and McSweeney's, but I hadn't realised just how interesting the whole enterprise is, especially how big its scope actually is. If I had loads of spare cash lying around, I would totally get a subscription to it and buy copies of the back issues too. Alas, that's probably something I'm only going to do at the end of the academic year, when I know if I've got any money left over. My mum would not approve of my bringing home even more books and magazines, but I suppose it's really her and my dad's fault for spending so much time on teaching me to read at a young age. Might actually raise that point when she next comments on my overflowing shelves. The whole concept of 826 Valencia is actually really intriguing me now, and I kind of wish I had the guts to do something like that, like George Ttoouli was unsubtly hinting to us throughout the seminar.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Episode 751: What Goes Into Vialli's?

Had Vialli's for dinner. Twice. I really want to know what goes into the seasoning they use on their fried chicken and potato wedges. It's definitely insanely unhealthy, but it tastes good to me, even when there's no alcohol in my bloodstream. (I had had a few drinks tonight though, what with drinking at the Terrace Bar after the AdHoc taster session, and joining Dan and Laura for the last bit of their sort-of pub crawl.) It's kind of like Original Recipe KFC, but more intensely savoury. If I knew how the taste was created, I could attempt to replicate it, albeit in a healthier fashion. Or I could just continue to satisfy my cravings the easy way! Such a tough decision to make. Anyway, LL251 went better than expected. Claudie Cox obviously recognises me, and she even used the same general knowledge quiz as she did at the start of LL209 last year. I, obviously, didn't remember most of the answers. I also pretended not to have bought the textbook because nobody else had, and I didn't want to appear too keen. Ridiculous, I know, but there you go, I'm so insecure. Insert tragic musical motif here and brooding close-up.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Episode 750: Curse You, Third-party Sellers!

EN301 seminar today was interesting, and I spoke up more than usual today, which means two sentences instead of one, if we're really counting. Next thing you know, it's going to be whole paragraphs! Received a call during the seminar, and it turns out that I've won a book! It was just some contest that I entered on the NUS Extra website, not really expecting anything to come of it. Well, surprise! Am a bit annoyed by a cancelled order on Amazon UK though. Third-party seller obviously figured out he wasn't making enough money and decided to cancel my order, citing the book as being out-of-stock. Problem is, he simply relisted the item at a slightly higher price. I've no problem with that, but hey, technically, he's defrauded me. I don't really care that he was making a loss, to be honest, since that's the sort of stupidity you'd expect someone who sells stuff online not to be guilty of. What I'm most annoyed about though, is that the money's been taken out of my bank account. Technically, as the Amazon employee helpfully explained in an e-mail, the money is on hold as is normal when a transaction takes place online, so it should revert back to my account within seven days. We'll see about that. I expect it will, but will kick up a suitable fuss if it doesn't.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Episode 749: Sore Throat...

EN301 lecture today was interesting, although my greatest takeaway from it was just how cool Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of Romeo And Juliet looks. (Carol Rutter did mention that in some way, it's probably more faithful to the effects invoked by Shakespeare's text than say, Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 adaptation, so I feel somewhat justified in my liking it.) Stayed in the Library as usual to grab some shows, and then I'd intended to go to Sophie Mac's straight from campus for her sort-of party to celebrate her EP launch, but ended up waiting about 45 minutes for the U1 and feeling increasingly ill in that time, so I went home instead and read the first act of Hamlet. (I haven't bought the EP yet, but I'll plug it again when I do and you can check it out. It's Sophie Mac's The 'Apples' EP, if you're looking for it on iTunes.) Doubt I'm going to get through more of it tonight, but Alex has already had his seminar with Tom Cornford and says it's not terribly important to have read it all for this week's one, so I probably won't bother anyway. Have developed a bad throat, which I'm hoping will clear up by Friday because that's when I have band practice in church. Oh well...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Episode 748: Happy 10/10/10, Everyone!

Attended a Northern Broadsides rehearsal of Macbeth this morning and it was pretty cool. Had chills down my spine and everything when they were doing the first scene with the three witches. I also got to see Lenny Henry in the flesh. I should apparently have been really excited about this, but not being a native Briton, I had to Google him afterwards to understand why. Consider me retroactively starstruck. Was going to spend the afternoon reading The Taming Of The Shrew in the Library, but someone's taken the Norton edition out, so I wound up clearing a few more submissions. Had to reject one batch of stories because they simply required too much editing to meet my standards, only to have the author send in more within minutes of my e-mail, including one that he'd sent in his first submission. That obviously did not impress me, and I wound up rejecting his new stories again, for the same reasons as before. I'm really hoping he'll take the hint this time! Anyway, today's date is another one of those mathematical curiosities, so I hope everyone had a good 10/10/10! See you for 11/11/11...

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Episode 747: Suddenly Swamped!

Have just finished a marathon session in the Library, replying to submissions that have been accumulating over the past couple of days. Figured I had to get them done because I'm only going to get busier in the coming days, so no sense in letting submissions pile up. Guess I was right about getting listed at Duotrope's Digest after all! Now have pieces queued all the way until December 5, which is nearly a two-month buffer. Am quite pleased with some of the poems I've just e-mailed acceptances for, as I think they broaden the variety of work that the journal showcases. I was right, by the way, about that Sabotage Reviews piece. My editor was 'bemused' by my reaction. Note to self: Sound less huffy when you're being negative. Now it's time to head back home and bury myself in The Taming Of The Shrew. Going to try and finish (most of) that by tonight, and then Hamlet on Sunday between that Macbeth thing I'm seeing in the morning and service in the evening. I'm quite determined to get on top of my reading this year, if only because I know in the past two years, I haven't really tried all that hard (or had to, considering I did no novel-based modules last year).

Friday, October 08, 2010

Episode 746: Housewarming Party!

We're finally going to be getting Internet. In approximately three weeks! I think Virgin's great, but they really need to hire more engineers to do installations, seriously. What's the point of rolling out things like nine-month student offers when you don't have the manpower to actually get things up and running for people in a timely fashion? Rant over. I sat in the Library after settling the Internet and made myself finish the review of Turbulence Issue Four. Felt I was a bit harsh at the end, although I think the point I made was fair. We'll see what my editor thinks about it. Then I came home and went for the cluster BBQ at Matt Cholawo's. Was the first to arrive, although I'd been aiming to be slightly late. Oh well. Then I had to head back home for my own housewarming party, stopping by Tesco along the way to help other people get drunk. At least I didn't break any of the bottles on the walk back! Anyway, there were lots of people at the party tonight, and I had a good conversation with Marie, which was nice. Definitely adding a few more people on Facebook after tonight, since that is, as you know, the ultimate social arbiter in this day and age.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Episode 745: Time To Read!

My copy of the Norton Shakespeare has arrived, so it's time to get cracking on reading. I very industriously finished and sent off a blog entry for The Shakespeare Standard yesterday, in which I bemoaned in somewhat witty fashion how I haven't done any of the work for EN301 that I was supposed to. Essentially, I write in (approximately) the sort of tone that I prefer in my journalism. Think Joel Stein's columns for Time. Am now trying to make a start on my review of Turbulence Issue Four for Sabotage Reviews, having already finished my reading for next week's EN331 Poetry in English since 1945. Allen Ginsberg and Richard Wilbur, in case you're wondering. I'm not sure I care particularly much for either of these poets. I don't like most of Ginsberg's work outside of 'Howl', whereas Wilbur's comments on his poetics strike me as more interesting than the poems themselves. As for the review, I'm actually finding it a bit hard to progress beyond the first paragraph because I'm trying to figure out how to word what I want to say. There's nothing terribly bad about this particular issue of the magazine, but on the other hand, there's nothing terribly good either, save for one exceptional sequence of poems by Cameron Conaway. Damning with faint praise feels uncharitable though. Probably best to sleep on it and come back to it tomorrow, I think.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Episode 744: LL251!

First day of Societies Fair was crazy! So. Many. People. That translates to too many people for my comfort, to be honest. Had to disappear for an hour to attend my EN301 lecture anyway, and then had to register at the Language Centre after that. Both my tutors, from last year and the year before that, recognised me. I think they're both rather pleased that I've stuck with the language throughout my three years at Warwick. Unfortunately, LL241, which was the module I wanted, was full, so now I'm doing LL251 French for Business Advanced 2 instead. They're considered as being on par in terms of difficulty, the difference between them being pretty self-explanatory. Oh, and you can't use dictionaries in the examinations for LL251! That was somewhat disconcerting news for me, as it means I actually have to go back to working at my French, rather than relying on the dictionary to bail me out when I run out of the right words. So basically, it'll be like going back to when I was doing my 'AO' Level French at MOELC! Tutor's the same one as I had last year, so I know her classroom manner and everything, which is a plus. Not sure how I'd ever put what I'm going to learn to use, but hey, it's a chance to get another piece of official certification, the Diplôme de français professionnel AFFAIRES B2, awarded by the Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie de Paris.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Episode 743: Duotrope Listing!

I've managed to get the journal listed by Duotrope's Digest, and it was surprisingly easier than I thought it would be. I've also made a Facebook page, although that's more for the sake of having one than anything else, seeing as how limited the reach of the Twitter account is at the moment. I did 'Like' the page though, just to give it a little exposure on my own social network. In any case, I'm still hoping being listed by Duotrope is what's going to turn this into a truly viable online literary journal. I've already got poems and short stories lined up for the rest of this month, even a slightly ghoulish one for Halloween, courtesy of Rachel, but submissions really have virtually dried up recently, now that the Google AdWords campaign isn't running any longer. I figure that Duotrope posts tweets about new listings, so I should see a spike if they mention Eunoia Review. Fingers crossed! Anyway, I managed to get all my TV shows today, along with some new music. (Not that I'll even find time to watch all of those that I'm currently following in the near future.) Had a listen to 'I Will Follow', the new Chris Tomlin single, on YouTube, and although it's a slight departure from his usual sound (I think), I still quite like it. Definitely getting a physical copy of the album when it comes out in November.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Episode 742: Where Are The Submissions?

Yesterday, I finished Dave Egger's Short Short Stories while still in the Library and then started on Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings Of Daniil Kharms. The former was actually really entertaining, and I wish people would submit flash fiction to Eunoia Review that was like that. Would totally publish them! Submissions have really slowed down by the way, which is a bit worrying. I'm hoping that as more posts go up, more people will stumble across the journal and there'll be sort of a multiplier effect. Of course, I could just post a bunch of links on Facebook, but that's really a bit of a last resort. I mean, I love (some of) my friends' work very much, but I don't want to publish just them or rely on them to fill the posts. That'd really be too insular. (That said, I am taking Rachel's story for the Halloween post!) Anyway, it turns out that reading Richard III first was the wrong move, since Tom Cornford is discussing Hamlet and The Taming Of The Shrew in next week's seminar. Sigh. On the bright side, my NUS Extra card is finally active, so that means I can redeem the Amazon UK discount and start buying books again!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Episode 741: Mountains Of Books To Read...

Back in the Library again for the Internet. Am also picking up a huge stack of books for EN236, although how much of it I will actually get through is doubtful, as always. I'm also going to try to read Alvin Plantinga's The Nature Of Necessity, which is completely unrelated to anything I'm studying, but hey, something that addresses the problem of evil is bound to be interesting on some level, right? Have somehow managed to be invited to have lunch tomorrow with a Taiwanese fresher I met in church this morning, as well as someone she met whom I don't even know. Such uncharacteristic behaviour. Yesterday, it was buying a homeless man food for his dog. Today, it's saying yes to lunch with strangers. What's next? Actually preparing for seminars beforehand? (I jest, surely.) I suppose it's going to be lunch tomorrow, followed by standing in a queue for a while to register for LL241 French 6. The whole process of having to queue feels a bit pointless for someone like me, applying to do a high-level language module, simply because it's not like it's a module that's going to be heavily oversubscribed anyway. I mean, the Language Centre is only running one class for it, as opposed to three for all the levels below it. Yet queue I must, I suppose...

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Episode 740: Buying Dog Food

Went down to the Library to get Internet access and bumped into Julie on the bus, but it took forever for us to get to campus because of traffic diversions. It was so bad, we were literally stuck there for about half an hour in a jam. Was in the Library for most of the afternoon, until I had to leave to get home and get ready for Neil and Elizabeth's engagement dinner at ASK. The food there is quite nice, as was the marzipan-covered cake the couple brought! I love marzipan, really. Strange encounter on the way to the restaurant though. I came across this homeless man with a dog, and I wasn't quite sure what he wanted at first. He'd asked if I spoke English, which clearly offered me a way out. I could've just pretended to be one of those mainland Chinese that I'm always being taken for, and walked away. I didn't though, and he didn't ask me for money either. Well, he did, but he said he was going to use it to buy dog food and if I wanted to, I could just buy the dog food and give it to him instead because that's all he wanted. So while part of me was wondering if he was going to rob me, part of me was also thinking, the guy just wants to feed his dog and I can totally make that happen for him at almost no cost to myself, so why not? I suppose in retrospect, it was rather trusting of me, and I don't know if my parents would've commended me or told me I should've been more careful, but hey, it turned out fine in the end. I wish I'd done more though, like bought the guy a sandwich or something. I might've, to be honest, if I wasn't already late for the dinner.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Episode 739: Flight Drama: The Sequel

Yeah, unbelievable, right? QF31 was delayed as well, and this was after all the passengers had boarded. (The online seating plan lied by the way, since there was, in fact, one more row of seats in front of mine.) So I obviously missed my coach from Heathrow and had to book another one. Would've taken the train back to Leamington from Marylebone, but that would have required changing from the Piccadilly Line to the Bakerloo Line, and my goal when travelling with suitcases is always to minimise the amount of time I actually have to spend dragging them after me. Even if I'd arrived on time, I might very well have missed my coach anyway, thanks to the wonderfully efficient immigration staff at Heathrow. I mean, it's a brilliant idea to not have staff at all the available counters in the face of snaking queues, just stunning. Can't believe that Changi hasn't thought of it yet, honestly. At least I managed to move almost all of my stuff from the old house to the new one once I did get back to Leamington. Whatever was left behind was simply because it was too inaccessible, so I'm only going back for it once more of my ex-housemates have claimed their stuff. Caught a couple of movies during the flight: Shakespeare In Love (Oscar-winning and so much more interesting than reading Gurr's book, and gosh, Joseph Fiennes looks exactly the same as he did more than a decade ago), Future X-Cops (Hong Kong flick starring Andy Lau and laughable CGI), and The Last Airbender (I could tell that the original cartoon series was better and I didn't even follow that).