Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Episode 1164: There's A First Time For Everything...

Had a good afternoon, earning £16 from a DR@W experiment. Rubbish evening though, since I failed to meet a review deadline for the first time. I've actually written a third of the review for Armour and have ideas for the rest of it, and normally I'd stay up until it was all done. Since Rum & Reviews Magazine publishes issues though, as opposed to Sabotage Reviews and The Cadaverine where work goes up on a rolling basis, it doesn't make sense for me to now divert any more time away from doing the Schiller reading for Friday's EN974 seminar, especially not since Craig's given me a one-week reprieve. Also gives me a chance to read Armour again, and maybe some other points will emerge from that for the review. I've got enough material to meet the word count as it is, but I feel like I'm still only skimming the surface of Kinsella's new collection. I've never been what you might call a fan of Kinsella's, but this was due more to lack of exposure than any actual antipathy for his poetics, which if Armour is anything to go by, I should actually quite enjoy because there is a definite formal streak running through it. Maybe it is time to pick up some of his other collections when I have some spare cash. Anyway, time to finish up this newest episode of Covert Affairs, and then get on with the Schiller reading!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Episode 1163: No, I Don't Want More Contact Hours

I'd considered attending the SU General Meeting in MS.02 this evening, but seeing as it's still carrying on nearly four hours after it began, I'm quite glad that I exercised my right to not care. The ban on Bacardi has been upheld, which seems a bit pointless anyway, since it's still sold in Costcutter on campus and Tesco off campus. Ethics wins the battle, but capitalism already won the war. Regarding the motion on the agenda about enhancing the quality of education though, I'm not entirely convinced that having a guaranteed minimum number of contact hours translates into enhancing education quality. I quite like having all that free time to read (and think about what I read). Ideally, anyway. Just because it doesn't always work out that way doesn't mean that it's somehow better to increase the number of hours I have in class. Having read Thomas Docherty's book, I'm more inclined to think the desire to have a minimum amount of contact hours as reflecting the same logic that sees a degree in terms of it's delivering value for money. If students here didn't have to pay tuition fees, do you think they really would be terribly bothered by the absence of a minimum number of contact hours? I doubt it. Or at least if they were, it would be for reasons other than wanting to get their money's worth, which I would probably regard as being fine. Not to say that brand of reasoning is completely absent at the moment, but to deny that capitalist logic has anything to do with it at all is being unrealistic.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Episode 1162: A Brace Of Ideas

Have just finished reading Thomas Docherty's book, which again, I highly recommend for anyone interested in the issues surrounding higher education. Now about to start on John Kinsella's Armour, which I need to read and review by Wednesday. A bit of a challenge, as it's a significantly longer volume of poetry than the ones I've reviewed in the past! On the bright side, spoke to Emma Mason today, and she thinks both the essay ideas that I've got sound like interesting things to explore, and yes, I was right that the one about form and disease could work for next term's module instead. The trick then, as always, is to get all the reading for the essay done. It does look like I probably need to read most of this anthology edited by Marjorie Perloff and Craig Dworkin called The Sound Of Poetry/The Poetry Of Sound, just because a good part of the effect of Eunoia comes from the soundscapes that Bök creates within the different sections of the univocalic poem that are nevertheless tied together by the recurrence of certain images and themes. Emma also pointed me to an article by Simon Jarvis called 'The Melodics of Long Poems', which definitely sounds intriguing.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Episode 1161: Getting Ahead Of Myself...

I'm having trouble deciding what I want to write about for my EN973 essay. I know it's definitely going to be related to questions of form (or apparent lack thereof, since I'd argue that even free verse, which is supposedly the absence of form, is in itself a kind of formal choice, if that makes sense), and I initially thought I'd got it all figured out. I was going to write about Thom Gunn and either Elizabeth Bishop or Jack Clemo, and it would be in relation to what has been thought of as 'the consolation of form', to borrow Frank Kermode's words, since I think it isn't hard to make a case that in the work of these poets, the formal shape of the poetry is very much a part of its effect. Intuitively though, I sense that I may be getting ahead of myself, since the particular angle I want to approach the poetry from, i.e. in relation to disease/disability and grief, could make for an essay question better suited to next term's EN954 Romantic Elegy. (Especially because then I could do Mark Doty or Paul Monette alongside Gunn instead, in relation to specifically AIDS and grief.) Then I was browsing through this book I'd borrowed by Marjorie Perloff, in which she does close readings of a whole series of poems, and there was one chapter where she brought up Christian Bök's Eunoia, and her reading of it really made sense for me of what I'd previously only been able to think of as an Oulipian exercise. So I got to thinking that maybe the broader question of constraints in writing poetry would be something interesting to look at. After all, form is a type of constraint when it comes to the writing of poetry; it's just one that can be handled well or misapplied. I guess what I really should be doing is talking all this over with Emma Mason, since she convenes both the modules that the essays are for anyway...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Episode 1160: For The University

For the past couple of days, I've been making a serious effort to get through one chapter of Thomas Docherty's For The University: Democracy And The Future Of The Institution each day. So far, so good. Plus I really like what he's saying in the book, which is incidentally available to read in its entirety here, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License. My favourite quote so far is this one from Chapter 4, 'Leadership: Legitimation and Authority': 'Education, however, is not the mere realizing of potential; rather, it is the ongoing making of more and more potential, the never-ending desire, identified now with the activity of research, to seek out the good, the true and the beautiful.' Perplexingly, his article on the New College for the Humanities for The Independent was labelled 'Impenetrable hogwash!' and being filled with 'ethereal descriptives', neither of which are criticisms I agree with. A review of the book in the New Statesman similarly claims it exemplifies 'the bad habits of theory-dulled seminar-speak'. Personally speaking though, I've never found Thomas to be one of those academics who've retreated so far into jargon that they can't communicate to anyone not steeped in the same discourse, and if the writing seems obfuscatory, maybe it's symptomatic of an attitude towards education that says knowledge has to be broken down into modular units that can be easily digested (after having been paid for).

Friday, November 25, 2011

Episode 1159: Caught Up With How I Met Your Mother!

I like to think that I publish a fairly diverse selection of work in Eunoia Review, but I just turned down a submission that was way too experimental for me. I don't know if I can even say whether the poems were good or bad, that's how shut out from them I felt while reading. I guess what seemed weird was that the poems were grammatical, and yet I couldn't make sense of them. Almost as though blanks in a template had been filled in using a random word generator. Don't mean to be dismissive, but it was really alienating. Anyway, I'm now fully caught up with How I Met Your Mother, all six-and-a-half seasons of it. I feel like I've crossed some sort of invisible threshold where comedy fans are concerned. (Only way forward from here is to get into stuff like Arrested Development, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia or The Big Bang Theory.) I'm also impressed by how consistent the overall ratings for How I Met Your Mother have been. I know the Nielsen ratings system is ridiculously outmoded, but having a Season 7 episode with numbers that narrowly missed beating the current all-time series high in Season 1? That's incredible, as far as today's American television landscape is concerned.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Episode 1158: Menu Of Conversation

Lately, it seems like Threadless is having a sale every other week. Not that I'm complaining! A couple of tees I've wanted for quite a while have finally been discounted to $10 (I learnt my lesson from the last time and waited!), so I'm going to get them. Only have to spend $75 to get $6 shipping, so I figure, what the heck, I can treat myself. (Given the current exchange rate between USD and GBP, it's going to cost me around £50. This is including $6 worth of Street Team points that I'll be earning from the pictures I uploaded of me wearing my most recent purchases.) Otherwise, it's been a day of ups and downs. Woke up still with a stuffy nose, and was actually feeling quite ill just before I had to go to the DR@W experiment in the WBS building. Earned £10 from that though, so that was good. The talk by Theodore Zeldin after that, organised by the PPE Society, was also thought-provoking. At the dinner after the talk, I was paired with a complete stranger, a French Erasmus student, who (and I swear I'm not making this up) happens to be studying Mandarin at the Language Centre! So even without the Menu of Conversation given to us at the table, we'd have had plenty to talk about anyway. As we were leaving the Rootes Building, she praised my French accent, especially considering that I've never lived in France before. Looks like 11 years of studying the language have not been in vain!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Episode 1157: Ill, But On Track!

Met with Ross Forman today, and felt more reassured that I'm making an appropriate amount of progress where my dissertation is concerned. If you think of 'researcher' as being derived from 'reader' + 'searcher' (I know it isn't, but just go with me on this), I'm very good at searching for information that could potentially be relevant, but I'm terrible at actually getting around to reading any of it. Have managed to pick up an upper respiratory tract infection anyway, so I haven't been in the mood for any sort of academic reading all day. It's annoying because this is the mildest winter I've experienced in all my time at Warwick. By this time, I usually can't get by with just a hoodie anymore, yet I've only worn the Ted Baker coat once this term! I'm starting to think of what to do my EN973 essay on, and at the moment, I'm going with the lazy option of picking poets I'm already sort of familiar with. So Elizabeth Bishop and Thom Gunn for now, as I'm interested in the formal aspects of their poetry. I was intrigued by Jack Clemo after this week's seminar, but most of his books in the Library are only for use in the Library and not for loaning, which means having to photocopy them, but that becomes a waste of money if I end up not working on Clemo for the essay. Frustrating! Maybe I'll request them anyway, just to have a look.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Episode 1156: Banterrific!

In the end, I went with carrying on writing within the Safehaven universe. So I've just finished a prologue to the two chapters I've already got, to begin fleshing out the story's setting and establishing the motivations of the protagonists. I think the picture that's emerging for me at this point is growing more layered. Instead of the Exodus being humanity fleeing from a catastrophe on Earth, I've decided to portray Earth as having developed into a utopia of sorts. Efficient arcologies have replaced urban sprawl, and as a species we've grown to a level of cooperation that would have been inconceivable at the present time. However, efficiency can be stultifying, and the people who leave on the Exodus are making a conscious choice to escape this way of life. (Shades of Tony Ballantyne's Watcher trilogy here!) While life on Safehaven doesn't exactly prove peachy for most of the colonists, it's still an independent civilisation that's been established. The arrival of the Last Ark from Earth is thus seen as a threat, since it carries the Founding Families who were the literal and figurative architects of the Exodus. It's not like they're the bad guys though, and it's all these layers of ambiguity that I want to play with in my story.

On a separate note, James Gapinski at The Conium Review has kindly reviewed Eunoia Review here. (He's also a contributor to the journal, and you can read his stuff here.) I didn't know he was going to do this, so it came as a pleasant surprise. Always nice to know there are people out there supporting what you're doing! He also praises the daily posting concept, which meant a lot to me because I think it's what sets Eunoia Review apart from a lot of other online journals, in terms of the sheer amount of work it allows me to showcase as an editor. (That and my half-day average response time!) What I really want is a way for people to click a button on the site that just pulls up a random post for them. I'm sure I could find a way to do that, right? Anyway, in case you're wondering about the title, it's what I suggested Laura name her blog. I thought it was an excellent pun, and it sparked off a brilliant comments thread on Facebook that pretty much made my day (and Sophie's, when I told her to check it out). Banterrific, to employ a neologism. I literally had to stop from bursting out laughing every time a new comment was made on the thread, which was kind of awkward because I was walking to my seminar in the cold, and then I was actually in the seminar for the next three hours.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Episode 1155: What Story Do I Write Now?

Came home from my seminar to find a notice about painting work in my room stuck to my door. It's baffling, since I can only identify one patch of wall that might need repainting, and it definitely isn't major enough to require its being done during the term. Apart from that, the paint job everywhere else looks pristine! The painting's supposed to happen this week, but the notice doesn't say which day or what time, or whether I need to clear stuff from certain parts of the room. If Warwick Accommodation thinks I'm just going to guess at their intentions and pack up everything, they've got another thing coming. It'll be far more fun to complain if they get paint on any of my stuff, right? I've got some free time tonight, but I can't decide whether I'm going to write my workshop story or not. Or if it's even going to be a third chapter set in the same universe I've been working in so far. It feels like I need to fix what's already been written before I can move on to a third chapter, and that process may involve adding additional chapters before what's currently the first one anyway. On the other hand, with such a rich universe to work with, it feels like generating unnecessary work for myself, trying to come up with a new idea that I won't have the energy to follow up on.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Episode 1154: Two Reviews In Three Days!

Have just finished my review of Martin Pond's short story collection, Dark Steps. First came across his work when I reviewed Unthank Books' Unthology No. 1, and his story in that was really good. The collection is more uneven, although none of the stories were bad, just more predictable than I would have liked. I was really disciplined with this review, by the way. I had free time before church, so I made myself finish reading the PDF (less than 40 pages so it didn't take too long), and then I came home right after service ended to write the review. (Would have taken less time if I hadn't kept stopping to watch another episode of How I Met Your Mother! I'm at the point where Jennifer Morrison's character shows up in the plot. I like her a lot better here than towards the end of her House stint, although I also love her now in Once Upon A Time.) Don't have to deliver another review for the next couple of weeks or so, unless Craig lets me know he wants the review of John Kinsella's Armour soon. The pamphlets from The Knives Forks and Spoons Press, I'm keeping for review at the end of term and during the Christmas break, with maybe one for January.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Episode 1153: Apples Instead Of Crisps...

Was thinking of writing my story today for next week's workshop, but I ended up getting bogged down with getting the timeline of the plot straight. I think it's more or less worked out though. Found a nifty site that even tells me how much time will have passed for an Earth observer when my first colonists land on Safehaven. Not that it's actually very important to the story right now, but it could be in the future, if I ever bring characters from Earth into the storyline. (Probably won't, just because I can't figure out how to make the mechanics of sending transmissions between the two planets work, and I'm going to try and remain as scientifically plausible as possible.) Am caught up on How I Met Your Mother until Season 5, by the way, so I definitely can catch up to the current season before heading back to Singapore. (Natalie, aren't you impressed?) Also, the things I do to not get fat(ter). I bought apples today from Costcutter instead of crisps! I've bought a couple of small packets of Tyrells on campus here and there this term, but haven't bought any large packets of any sort of snack whatsoever from the supermarket. Unlike last year, when I pretty much bought at least three every time I went to Tesco. Guess having to carry my shopping and walk for 10 minutes as opposed to just stepping outside to the bus stop really makes a difference!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Episode 1152: Seriously, Four Recalls In 24 Hours?

Just polished off my review of Caged: Memoirs Of A Cage-Fighting Poet and sent it off to Scott. I also have a new supervisor (Ross Forman), and new ideas about my dissertation. Going have to do a lot of reading to start putting it all together though. The impetus for that has partly been having holds placed on books that I borrowed at the start of term and haven't really read until now, which led to four recalls in 24 hours. I've already returned two and placed my own holds on other copies of them, which I'll hopefully get before the end of term. I'm going to photocopy the relevant chapters from one more, and with The Postcolonial Unconscious, I'm going to try and finish reading the whole thing by the new due date, which is next Friday. Probably can't do the photocopying thing until I've read the whole book, and then only if it turns out that specific chapters are relevant, rather than passages being spread out throughout the whole book. Highly suspect it's going to be the latter though, purely by nature of the book's project, which is to provide a reconstructive critique of the field of postcolonial studies.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Episode 1151: My Streak Of Productivity Continues Into A Second Week!

So the productivity streak continues and I surprise myself. Just finished reading Jonathan Swift's satire A Tale Of A Tub, which for something written between 1694 and 1697, I actually found surprisingly easy to get through. After dinner, I seriously considered not reading the 100+ pages I had left, since I'm only auditing this module anyway. I took a 10-minute nap, and then ploughed through them in more or less one sitting, barring the occasional break to play The Sims Social. (Yes, apparently I'm still playing that.) Not sure what I have to say about it beyond that I think it's really funny. I suspect the satire on Western Christianity would probably be lost on a 21st century reading audience, if it weren't glossed. Someone's placed a hold on The Postcolonial Unconscious, so I might try to have an especially productive weekend and read all of it, in between getting caught up on my reviewing work. It isn't terribly thick, and I've already read one chapter, which is the one that's likely to be most relevant for my own dissertation, I hope. Still haven't heard back from John Fletcher about being assigned a new supervisor, which doesn't really surprise me, truth be told. It would be nice to find out before the end of term though...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Episode 1150: Diversion

Since I don't have Introduction to Research Methods on Wednesdays anymore, I stuck around in church longer than usual to do Kidz Klub administrative stuff. Went to the second session of Arts Faculty Seminar Series, where Claire and Vedita gave two really interesting papers. I also picked up four pamphlets from Claire that are published by The Knives Forks and Spoons Press. Having had a browse through everything that she brought, I'm fascinated and impressed by the variety of poetry that Alec Newman at the press chooses to publish. I'm going to spread my reviews of those out over the rest of the year, basically keep me occupied while I'm back home in December. Anyway, so I was originally going to the Peter Forbes lecture at 6 pm in the Zeeman Building, but then I ended up staying at the session longer than I'd planned to. Then I decided I'd go to see Schrödinger at the Arts Centre at 7.45 pm, since it was the last evening it was being performed and I'd been thinking of seeing it since last month. Ended up in Varsity having dinner with all the PhD students instead, which was unexpected, but nice. I mean, the people I chatted to were all really friendly, and in a way, I kind of liked being around people I hadn't been around for three years of undergraduate life. Of course, I love you all to bits, you know who you are, but it was just refreshing to be meeting new people in a social context, I guess. So I'm glad I didn't go to see the play after all!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Episode 1149: Awkward Auditing

So it appears I should have been reading a novel instead for the seminar I audited today. Awkward! All that reading I did was helpful though, really interesting stuff that I'm going to have to get to grips with in relation to the Merlion poems that I'll be looking at. Anyway, my four issues of Anon arrived in the post today, so that's something I'm looking forward to reading. (As if I don't have enough to read already! As a matter of fact, I'm picking up more poetry from Claire tomorrow to review for Sabotage Reviews. They're collections published by The Knives Forks and Spoons Press, and I'm quite excited about this because at Eunoia Review I've published a poet who went on to publish a collection with the press.) Each of the three packages the magazines came in had a personalised note slipped in as well, to thank me for buying the magazine, which I thought was a really nice touch. Also, oddly enough, this week's graze box was delivered to my hall rather than being held for me at the Post Room like it has been for the past few weeks. It was delivered to my hall on the very first week though, and the box definitely fits into the mailbox slot, so here's hoping that this state of affairs continues for the rest of term. It's really a bit of a drag having to walk all the way to Westwood Campus just to pick up a box of healthy snacks, much as I appreciate all that brisk walking! (I clearly need it though.)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Episode 1148: Seriously, NBC?

Just heard that NBC has benched Community for its mid-season schedule. Probably means it's going to be cancelled, assuming it even returns to the schedule eventually to finish off the current season. Shameful but inevitable consequence of the severe dumbing down of network television in the USA. This might be premature, but Greendale, you will be missed. Have just one more reading to go for tomorrow, so I might stay up to finish it, or I might just cut myself some slack and go to bed. Would've finished if I hadn't gone to the Theology Reading Group and/or caught up on today's quote of TV, but both activities were enjoyable, and I refuse to believe everyone in the seminar tomorrow will have read everything anyway. Having read all this stuff though, including Neil Lazarus's defence of Fredric Jameson in The Postcolonial Unconscious, I kind of wish I'll get reassigned to him for my dissertation. It's more likely that I'll be reassigned to Ross Forman though, since Neil is already supervising a few other people this year, which I'm sure would work out fine too. It's just that I already know Neil would be sympathetic to the way of reading the Merlion poems that I'm proposing in my dissertation, whereas I'm not sure it necessarily aligns with Ross's specific areas of interest within postcolonial studies. (Basically, I wish John Fletcher would just reply to my reply to his e-mail, where he asked me for something the department already holds a hard copy of, i.e. my proposed topic.)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Episode 1147: One More Article? (Or Two)

Goal accomplished! I've finished reading Caged: Memoirs Of A Cage-Fighting Poet and the remaining issues of Popshot Magazine. So when the issues of Anon arrive, I can get cracking on them. (I've also got three issues of The White Review to look at, but those are a bit heftier, so I might save them for the Christmas vacation.) Only way this could be better would be if I'd read another article or two for Tuesday's seminar as well, although I might stay up to do that. The first's only 23 pages, so I guess that's manageable, and then the second's another 14, so it feels like I should do this, since I don't have to get up early tomorrow (and therefore can afford to go to bed a bit later). I'm actually quite pleased with how easy it's been to fall into the discipline of reading something everyday, as opposed to thinking about doing so and ending up repeatedly refreshing Facebook or something equally stupid. Incidentally, our resident tutor has finally instituted a rota for clearing the trash. That was why he called for a kitchen meeting this afternoon, which I didn't attend because I was on my way to church for practice before the evening service. Thought Chernise's talk was excellent.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Episode 1146: Hat Trick!

How disorganised do you have to be to acknowledge my rejection e-mail, and a few days later, e-mail me saying that regretfully you have to withdraw your submission? If I wasn't receiving this e-mail in my capacity as an editor, you bet I'd have fired off a snarky reply pointing out the complete redundancy of the withdrawal. In a related incident, while I was getting my haircut, in an attempt to make conversation (as you do) the woman asked me if I was going out tonight. Except she asked me twice, less than five minutes apart, and this despite having received a fairly comprehensive reply the first time. So I guess she just wasn't listening the first time? To be fair, I doubt anybody wants to hear me talk about the extra reading I have to do over the weekend so that I don't turn up utterly clueless to a seminar that I'm only auditing for one week. I've finished one article so far, and that was Fredric Jameson's 'Third-World Literature in the Era of Multinational Capitalism'. I thought it was really interesting stuff, and ironically, made me want to read Lu Xun. In the original Chinese, no less. (This makes sense once you've read the article, so just go with me on this.) Six more readings to go now! I should have enough time to get through them all, but realistically, with my talent for procrastination, that's probably not going to happen. On the other hand, I've read three out of six issues of Popshot Magazine so far, and another five chapters of Caged: Memoirs Of A Cage-Fighting Poet. My thoughts for the review of the latter are more or less in place, but I'm going to get through the remainder because I like Cameron Conaway's writing.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Episode 1145: Ditto (I'm Impressing Myself!)

Much as I love listening to Thomas Docherty during Friday morning EN974 seminars, it was nice to have a lie-in instead. I also managed to get more reading done today, a comparable amount to yesterday. Two days in a row, one might almost think I was becoming studious. Have got through another five chapters of Caged: Memoirs Of A Cage-Fighting Poet, so I'm on track to finishing the book on Sunday. Also dealt with today's submissions for Eunoia Review, which included one from a starving writer in Hollywood. (You know that was bound to arrive, sooner or later!) So now I'm moving on to the handout for Monday's Theology Reading Group. If I finish that as well, I'm going to start on the readings for Neil Lazarus's EN904 Problems and Modes in Postcolonial Literature seminar that I'm auditing just for next week. It all looks like it'll be very relevant to my dissertation, so I'm actually quite looking forward to both readings and seminar. There's just a lot of reading to do for that, and they're all interrelated, so it's kind of necessary to read all of them to make sense of the issues, which I might add are ones that I've never really examined closely during the course of my study of literature.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Episode 1144: Reading Loads Today!

Stayed up past 3 am to finish reading David Moody's Hater. Completely impulsive decision, but I'm glad I did it. I think Hater is one of those novels that packs a greater punch when read straight through in a single sitting. I've decided though, that I'm not going to start on Dog Blood until the third book in the trilogy is released because I don't want to have to leave myself dangling upon finishing the middle book of the trilogy! (Same reason I haven't read Autumn yet, as Gollancz have begun reissuing Moody's subsequent books in that series.) Anyway, since the only show I'm actively following that aired a new episode yesterday was American Horror Story, I'm using the freed up time to catch up with Season 4 of How I Met Your Mother. I'm also catching up on my reading for review work. Have read a couple more chapters of Cameron Conaway's Caged: Memoirs Of A Cage-Fighting Poet, which I'm hoping to finish over the weekend as this review for The Cadaverine is long overdue. Then there's a short story collection Richard just forwarded me to review for Sabotage Reviews, and a new collection of poetry from John Kinsella that Craig posted me a few days ago. (My previous review for Rum & Reviews Magazine hasn't gone up yet though, so the latter isn't as pressing, I guess.) Also found time to read the new issue of Cake that arrived today in the post. Loving the green cover for the Key Lime issue! For a literary magazine that comes out once a year though, I kind of wish the issues contained more material. At £5 excluding postage, Cake feels a bit pricey compared to magazines like Popshot Magazine (especially with its illustrations) and The Warwick Review.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Episode 1143: Gusto Has Amazingly Camp Wait Staff

Argh! I forgot to check the settings in Photoshop when I was converting all my graphics from JPEG to TIFF, so almost all of them have been saved at 72 dpi rather 300 dpi, the latter being what we need for the publicity booklet. Have been trying to connect using the remote desktop to correct this, but I keep getting booted off when someone else logs on. So I'm just going to continue watching my fill of TV while I wait for the machine to become available. Had lunch with Angela, Louise, Maria and Tory at Gusto Over & Bar, the new restaurant that's replaced EAT in the Arts Centre. Don't think I've ever met wait staff that are quite so camp before! I'd never been to the place when it was still EAT, but this rebranding seems to have gone down well, as the place was bustling at lunchtime. Mostly older people, to be fair, as the prices are a little higher than at other SU outlets and less likely to attract students. (We'd only gone because we wanted to check it out.) I'd say it felt like greater value for money than those places though, and Gusto have a no-tipping policy and no service charge. (Don't the higher prices go some way to making up for that though?) All in all, definitely a place I'd visit again.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Episode 1142: This Story Has Legs

Concerns about the story were mostly to do with worldbuilding details and the in-universe story logic, though Phil (a fellow science fiction buff) pointed out at the end that most of the 'gaps' didn't strike him as such because he'd assumed they'd be filled in eventually as the story carried on. Nonetheless, everyone else was also right, and there are, while I wouldn't call them inconsistencies, kinks that need ironing out in order to make the story's internal logic watertight. The good thing is that there's plenty of material to flesh out, and it doesn't all have to be crammed into the space of the two chapters I've got so far. I'll probably add a short prologue before the first, just to give the basics of why humanity had to leave Earth for Safehaven, with further details spread among the rest of the story. Not sure if all the questions people raised can be answered in the space of the portfolio's word count, but I should be able to at least address some and signal that the rest will eventually be beyond the portfolio's confines. I've taken to thinking of the plot in terms of arcs like on a TV season, and I'd say right now, I have enough elements seeded to get through an initial 13-episode order, with potential to go even through the back nine.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Episode 1141: Scheduling Drama...

Eunoia Review just got listed by NewPages, although it's been placed under 'a list of hybrid and experimental online literary endeavors that do not adhere to traditional models (magazines, publishers, booksellers), but that still meet a number of other criteria for recommendation here'. I guess what's experimental about Eunoia Review is the absence of discrete issues, since something new goes up on the site every 12 hours. Regardless, it's nice to get a bit more exposure, hopefully. Lots of drama today with previously accepted submissions, so I've had to rejig the queue several times. Very pleased to have been able to accept more poems by Ben Parker though, who's one of my favourite poets whom I've accepted in the year that I've been running the journal. Another's Nicholas Y. B. Wong, a Hong Kong poet whose first collection is forthcoming. (Okay, I just listened to him read his poem at PANK Magazine. Slightly disillusioned now. Haha!) Anyway, when I was leaving the Library earlier to head to band practice in church, the girl in front of me at the gantries tapped her card and missed the sensor without realising it. Understandably frustrated when the gantry equally understandably didn't open, she slammed her card down again, this time actually tapping the sensor. Not meaning to stereotype, but yes, she was blonde.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Episode 1140: What A Waste Of Time, Part II

The online searches took much less time to complete this afternoon, but if you could calculate uselessness per second spent, they would make the time spent writing yesternight pale in comparison. Hopefully, I've done the bare minimum required to pass. Started reading David Moody's Hater before bed last night, got through about 50 pages before I was too sleepy to continue. This is the kind of speculative fiction that I really enjoy, where some aspect of contemporary society is taken and given a slight twist, and then pushed to its logical conclusion. It's compelling stuff, and I can see why Guillermo del Toro wants to get it made into a film. There's even a blurb on the back cover from him, which says, 'A head-spinning thrill ride, a cautionary tale about the most salient emotion of the 21st century...Hater will haunt you long after you read the last page'. Right now though, I'm focusing on getting through as much of Julie Bertagna's Exodus as I can. I nearly ordered the whole trilogy a week or so ago, but I reconsidered and cancelled the order, just in case the first book in the trilogy didn't engage me. For the first few chapters, it was okay, but I wouldn't say it was worth spending my money on. I'm more than 100 pages in now, and I'm probably going to change my mind again and get the full set. Then I really need to stop buying books for the rest of the term!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Episode 1139: What A Waste Of Time, Part I

Am forcing myself to complete the first part of the assessment for Introduction to Research Methods by tonight. Would've finished by now if I hadn't noticed the new episode of Merlin had gone online. (Seriously, there is so much subtext going on in that show that I don't think it even qualifies as subtext anymore. It airs before the watershed, right?) Since it's the citation format that's being assessed, I'm not going to make too great an effort to ensure that the logic of my critique necessarily holds up. Frankly, I haven't even read all of the article that I'm purporting to critique! It's relevant to my dissertation, so I will have to, at some point. Just want to get this done, so that I can finish the second part of the assessment tomorrow before service, which is all those ridiculous online searches that have to be done. I'm honestly not going to make too much of an effort with this whole assessment, since it's just a pass/fail thing. What's the worse that could happen? Redoing them, with feedback to tell you exactly where you fell short the first time? Please. On a happier note, all the slots for graphics have now be taken, so I shouldn't have to do any more myself!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Episode 1138: Magazine Spree!

Am writing my story for next Tuesday now. Thought Lucy had randomly decided it was her turn to be workshopped this week when she sent something out in the early afternoon, but it turns out she probably just sent something meant for another module to our mailing list instead. The story's definitely set in the same world as the one I submitted to be workshopped the last time, and it's intended to expand the in-story universe considerably, at least for something that clocks in at around 1000 words. I'll find out whether I've pulled it off at the seminar! If people like this second piece, or at least can see how it could be changed to fit with the first story, I might have the makings of a novella, as I think within six pages, I've set up enough material to work with that I could easily complete my portfolio for assessment just by fleshing out the storyline and moving it on. Quite pleased! I've also been on a bit of a literary magazine spree lately. The three issues of The White Review I ordered a while ago have arrived, and today, I ordered the issues of Anon that are still in stock, as well as the latest issue of Cake, so I'm looking forward to getting stuck in all this new writing. Also bought a couple of Threadless tees again, and discovered to my annoyance that some of the tees in my previous order have now had their prices slashed. I swear this always happens to me!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Episode 1137: I'm Cited On Amazon UK!

Okay, a couple more people have signed up to do graphics, with hopefully more to follow tomorrow, so maybe I won't have to do half a term's worth by myself after all! I've still got a story to write for Tuesday's EN978 seminar, but the idea I originally had has completely vanished from my mind, so I'm stuck. Tempted to write a continuation of my story from the last time, but I'm somewhat reluctant to expand the story forward in time without having fleshed out the existing material, which is what I'm intending to do for my portfolio submission. Maybe I'll wake up tomorrow with an idea? I definitely want to try and shape another dystopian world, just because I think that sort of writing plays to my strengths, and it's fairly easy to age a story like that up or down as required. Whereas I know that if I were to write about something closer to real life, I'd constantly be asking myself whether I was bringing anything new to the table. I know we've been told that we shouldn't feel when writing for children that common themes/stories can't be told again, but I guess they're just not the kind of stories I see myself telling. Anyway, I randomly came across (i.e. in the course of Googling myself) a book listed on Amazon UK that quotes a review I did for Sabotage Reviews a while ago of the Lazy Gramophone site. It's just a one-liner blurb under the Review section, but I still think it's pretty cool.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Episode 1136: Why Is No One Signing Up?

Earphones finally arrived today! It's so crippling not being able to listen to music whenever I want to. Picked them up after having coffee with Angela, Lucy, Maria and Tory, along with a couple more books. Finally got enough credit to redeem a £10 Amazon UK voucher from Valued Opinions, so I promptly bought a few more books of poetry. Am now busy trying to find titles and graphics for next term's WSC publicity booklet. Already signed up for another week because the take-up this term has been especially slow, with half the slots still unspoken for. If no one else signs up by Friday, I'm going to put myself down for another graphics slot or two. Kind of my job really, as the Graphics Co-ordinator. It's just not ideal timing, given that the Research Methods assessments are due on the same date! While those shouldn't take long either, to be honest, I'd prefer not to have to juggle them, that's all. Guess I could do the second part of the assessment, which consists of searching various databases for things I don't care to know for the sake of demonstrating to the department that I can do a search. Frankly, this whole Research Methods module is a bit of a joke, if you ask me.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Episode 1135: Get Coury Palermo's New Album!

Coury Palermo's new album the broken way we love was released today, which you can get in digital here. Palermo's one of those singers whose voice I am actually in love with, mainly because it's like an instrument unto itself, making even his acoustic songs pretty amazing listening. First came across him when he did vocals on a couple of Sleepthief songs (another great artiste), and I've been following his stuff since. Bought and downloaded the album in the afternoon, but haven't had a chance to listen to it yet because I decided to go to the Singapore Society General Meeting. For the pizza. Well, and to vote for Freshers' Rep, even though the role has no relation to me as someone already in my fourth year at Warwick. Swung by the Library to swap Alvin Plantinga's The Nature Of Necessity for Neil Lazarus's The Postcolonial Unconscious. Had borrowed the former a couple of days ago to read his solution to the problem of evil, but it was pretty technical, and while I'd like to come to grips with it intellectually, I also needed Neil's book for my dissertation research.