fellating fruit
Tuesday August 31st 2004, 6:38 pm
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the first of the lasts
Tuesday August 31st 2004, 9:35 am
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the last day of the last month before the month i finish my work and submit. complicated, not terribly dramatic, but the enormous countdown clock in my head is screaming the numbers at me. more like 288 point type. Don’t really have a whole lot of time to be overly contemplative here, as the library is calling my ass – the one section I could emphatically work on from home, except my copy of the critical text is either in storage, or hidden away somewhere wholly unfindable, and, regardless, wholly unavailable. Which is fine; keeping me honest. Not that I need it, really, although my horoscope yesterday struck a nice balance between ‘go ahead and skip the banal mundanities, but you’ve got a big project to finish. Consider an advanced degree’. (paraphrase, btw, not a quote). And though I’ve certainly allowed distractions to be introduced, I’ve also still got the focus: I ain’t gonna fark up 4 years of this for any reason in the home stretch. If it were only dotting ‘i’s and crossing ‘t’s it’d be one thing, but there’re still lots of words to string in a row, yet. Not, as most of you have probably guessed, that I have a real problem with doing that. But that’s what remains to be done. So, morning contemplation aside, and morning coffee finished, and with distractions cleared until the end of the week at the soonest, I’m off to see the lizard. (?)

Sunday August 29th 2004, 6:35 pm
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I’d forgotten how deep the ocean can run in me, how deep the need to see it can be. I’ve blocked it out, defiantly, for 6 years now, only ever occasionally being salt-swept and breeze sprayed. But yesterday, a car at hand, a friend at hand, went down to Brighton, a day of escape from a routine, and a task, that is wholly inescapable. But the ocean, the sun, even, improbably granted from above. A rhythm and a feeling so profoundly un-English, un-London. San Francisco on the Channel, but with a housier, 4 on the floor style and Grade II listed buildings, majestic and decaying, sunsalt erosion, proud white paint sanded and peeling. And, as ever, my ongoing enamourment of the industrial decay, west pier, burned down not long ago, its victorian ribs a haunting story of ambition and arbitrary semi-destruction. Not so far distant than the rubbled walls of medieval churches and abbeys, but a tale told in metal. All of which is to say that Brighton was a dream, a lovely lovely dream, from which, though I’ve awoken, I have the depth, the sea, to get there from here.

beautiful indeed
Friday August 27th 2004, 9:31 am
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Thursday August 26th 2004, 11:45 am
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Thursday August 26th 2004, 11:26 am
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One of my favourite spots in the ford of Oxen is a small marker, on the west side of Parks Road, just at the border between Trinity and Johns. A small, white stone, set back from the pavement and typically covered by overgrown grass, reads ‘Here ends the North Hundred’. It’s not a terribly radical marker, the southern border of an administrative/geographical unit of English countryside dating back to Anglo-Saxon times, but it seems so utterly arbitrary in modern-day (although still charmingly medieval) Oxford, that it captured my heart when I noticed it, the first time I ever visited.

Submitted another chapter to the supervisor yesterday, so that’s 3 out of 4 in semi-finalised state. A peculiar feeling, I must admit, although that may be the hangover from having been taken to a bar by a friend (who walked out on his job at 10 am yesterday, and had been transferred and given a raise by 4) that serves proper long island iced teas. No meanly measured cocktails, these, but proper, American style pours. Ouch. The phrase, thus, is ‘working from home’ today. But there were certain perks, not least the impromptu emergency measures to address an impromptu non-emergency in an energetic and enthusiastic way leading to a thoroughly satisfactory resolution to said issue. Anyway, as I tackle the wreckage of a chapter abandoned, literally mid-sentence, in late 2001. Hoping three years of back-burner-brain activity will make this easier rather than harder. Though I may go mop the floor, first, and maybe weed the garden a bit.

grumpy watercolour memories
Wednesday August 25th 2004, 3:54 pm
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I must admit, I shouldn’t be surprised by the conclusion of this study. Although the straight-up memory recall aspect (grumpy people remember shite better) is interesting, it’s this bit I find still more compelling, ‘In a second experiment, researchers put different subjects in a positive or negative mood state and asked them to write down an argument in favour of a particular proposition. When their arguments were analysed for their quality and persuasiveness, subjects in negative mood were shown to be far more effective in their critical thinking and communication skills’. That’s right, I know have a scientifically prove, clinic results-driven confirmation that my own grumpy self is, in fact, better suited to do what I do than others. Evolution with a purpose. And, I’m afraid, somewhat disturbing for my recent (read: 5 years) attempt to assert that I don’t do my best work only when depressed, but simply when I’m doing my best work. If you know what I mean, and I think you do.

helpless hapless
Tuesday August 24th 2004, 1:33 pm
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Well, a quick break here. I’ve just surrendered by passport, via post, to Her Majesty’s Government, god help me. On the plus side, apparently I have tacit leave to remain indefinitely until my application is resolved. Which, as processing time ranges from 3 to 13 weeks, might be just the ticket. On the other hand, I just MAILED my farking PASSPORT to a bunch of BUREAUCRATS. If I do need to leave the country, for whatever reason, it ain’t gonna be pretty. So please, folks, nothing dramatic now.

But I sort of like the finality of it, albeit with an eye to precluding too much finality. As in, ‘I ain’t leaving until I’m done’. Which I will be, of course. If I get back to work, now that errands are over. Speaking of which, yes, I know the layout’s borked again, with otherwheres and the other right-hand materials plunked down at the bottom left. Don’t really have time to resolve it at the moment (remember last time?). Just pretend it’s fine….And now, back to my surprisingly dramatic, yet productive life.

set back
Tuesday August 24th 2004, 9:32 am
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Well, the 12 hour power cut to the house yesterday certainly didn’t help my schedule. I came home early from the library in order to beat the chapter into submission, type everything up, and finish it by night. But NOOOO. Power, apparently, went out at 3pm yesterday, and wasn’t on until 3 this morning (as I discovered when my light came on with a vengeance). Not as bad as a friend of mine, I suppose, who finished recently, but managed to give himself a concussion in the weeks leading up to the end. Not so clever, that; clearly it’s not time to start anything hazardous. Anyway, an evening spent by candlelight, talking with my flatmates (both of whom, surprisingly, are in the country at the same time. Until the one leaves for Brazil on Friday). Which was rather nice, but endlessly annoying to the ‘must work’ drive in me. Not to mention the ‘work to live, work to breathe, work to distract myself from the reality that is reality. If you see…

Monday August 23rd 2004, 9:39 am
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ok boys and girls, it’s cryptic time. Improbable returning as the word du jour. Questionable, of course, accompanying it with regards to far too many aspects. Thus, in the midst of a period where uncertainty is the single thing I cannot afford, it’s crept in through the side door, and is lounging in the green room, as it were. Thus yesterday a bit of a write-off, as writing-up was not accomplished in quality or quantity as expected or required. But today to be the day of redemption, I’m off, soon, to my home away from home, my ‘university’ as GB Shaw referred to it, as he left a portion of his copyright legacy to the Reading Room. (Speaking of which, I only got the chance to work in the old rotunda reading room once, to sit and work and look around at chairs rubbed down by the asses of the great, of Lenin and Marx and Shaw and god knows who else. The rather anti-septic, just this side of cube farm new library just ain’t got that swing, in comparison.) But it’s an interesting balance of realities at a dreadful time. But a simple flashback to years well gone and never recoverable? Or merely a reminder of what can be, but won’t, or shan’t? The unexpectedness of it all perhaps overwrit, slightly, by the banality of the subsequent. A tactical error? But there are no tactics, here. Just a deadline rushing towards me, and what must be me rushing to meet it.