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Archive for October, 2005

Stomp

I just got back from seeing Stomp perform in the Brighton dome, and it was great. A while ago Thad and I went to go see Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey at the IMAX theater in the Raleigh Exploris Museum (it was actually on Valentine’s Day 2004, when we started dating!) It was cool to see them in the theater, but I really liked seeing them live. They also did a few things to get the audience involved, and several of their skits were actually pretty funny. If you get a chance you should definitely go see them!

If you want to see some clips from a few of their shows, take a look at their website.

Ok, off to bury myself in reading! I do have to say though, that I prefer the student schedule to working normal weekday hours. I may have to stay up until 2am reading some nights, but then I also can take naps and go do things (like seeing Stomp) in the middle of the day!

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Today I had planned on making a massive shopping trip to the Brighton Marina and woke up to nasty, rainy, windy weather.  I seriously considered staying in all day, but thought better of it – I may as well try to get used to British weather!  All in all, it was a great trip, and I got LOADS of groceries at Asda for just around 26 quid.  (Also managed to pick up a purse and a couple of shirts on the way) 

The way back was not the most pleasant of experiences though.  Here I am with my backpack full of long-life milk, cheap laundry detergent, and canned food, in addition to the bags filled with more items.  On my way down Middle St. (which runs directly next to my building) the wind was completely insane!  The kind of wind that just makes you laugh, as you try to picture how you look trying to walk against it.  It was at this point that I heard the rolling around of aluminum cans behind me and turned around to see several of my cans of soup in the street!

 So, after reorganizing my bags and collecting my cans in the street (a process that took so long that a nice man actually came up and asked if I was “ok”), I finally made it up to my building.  I really cannot even begin to describe the strength of the wind here!  I am convinced that that is what made my grocery bags tear, and not the weight of the jars/cans in them.  At times when the wind is at its strongest it is difficult to even walk!

Anyway, off to have a hot shower, a cup of tea, and try to get dry and warm again. 

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So, a week after I originally started to get sick, I am still not myself (but feel much better, luckily). Everyone around here has been getting sick, and the culprit seems to be the so-called “fresher’s flu.” A plague takes over all the new international students who are suddenly being exposed to new germs, a new climate, and living in very close proximity to each other. I think we’re all on the tail end of it though!

I have been doing a LOT of reading lately, and a lot of it is discussing the issue of reflexivity in anthropology/development studies (i.e. the attempt to stand back and be self-critical of what you are doing). This reading is very helpful, though at times it makes me wonder what I am doing here. Who am I to go in and make policy suggestions to people living in a different country? But, at the same time, there is a lot of inequality and oppression in the world, and I would hate to give up on helping to change at least one small aspect of it. My worst fear would be to graduate with a masters degree, suddenly think I know everything there is to know about development, and go into a work situation where I overestimate my own capabilities and knowledge. Hopefully, over the next several years, I will get a lot more practical experience under my belt, so that a greater proportion of my knowledge will come from experience, and not just poring over academic texts.

On a lighter note, I am going to see STOMP in a few days – a whole group of us from Kings Road are going. I have seen them on television/IMAX theaters, but never in a live performance, so it should be exciting!

Oh, and as a quick addendum, I had a lot of fun playing with the website that one of David’s coworkers used to create the “cowboy” version of him online.  If you want to see my own creation, look here

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Good thing my stepdad has a good sense of humor!

David the cowboy!

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Streetcar

So, I was walking around campus today after class today and was handed an interesting flyer advertising a “pay-as-you-go” car.  Pay-as-you-go phones here are the norm, but this is the first time I’ve seen this applied to renting a car!

After doing a little price comparison, it is slightly less expensive than “renting” a car, especially since the price includes petrol.  You can also book it for as little time as half an hour!  All it requires is booking a reservation online and getting a PIN to let yourself into a car. 

 “So take one out for a trip to the shops or a romantic night out – in fact anywhere you fancy.  Then leave it where you found it.  It’ll be there, waiting, when you want it again.” – Text from the flyer

 An interesting concept.  Public transportation around here is so good I doubt I would need to use it, but it is something to keep in mind for future road trips (that is, if I have a licensed driver around).

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Tonight I witnessed a rather interesting event! Apparently, the Brighton rugby men’s team had been parading around town dressed like pirates (one of my flatmates encountered them on the bus today). Just a few minutes ago they all descended on the beach directly outside my window and proceeded to start singing loud, drunken songs. This is not necessarily unique behavior on Brighton Beach.

However, shortly after this, the group of guys (probably about 30 of them) proceeded to strip, run around the beach, and then run into the ocean! And today is definitely one of the coldest and most windy days we’ve had yet. The most entertaining part was actually watching the flock of girls on the street run over to the beach so that they could photograph the whole ordeal. They didn’t last long in the water, and after they came out they threw some type of powder all over each other. Now they are clothed again, and back to singing loud songs, joined by some of the girls who have been spectating.

The strange things you encounter in Brighton…… !

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Thad and I had a great weekend in Brighton! It was nice because I finally took some time away from schoolwork and actually spent a good amount of time exploring town. I discovered several new areas of town, including the Asda (basically Walmart) at the Brighton Marina. Though I don’t like feeding the evil Walmart-ization of the world, being on a tight budget forces you to do some things you wouldn’t do otherwise. The weather was incredibly nice, and we spent a good amount of time walking on the beach. On Sunday there were people windsurfing outside my window again!

Now I have to get my nose back to the grindstone though. Today I took a break to run some errands around town and was nearly attacked by a pigeon! I was on my way into the Churchill Shopping Center (another of the weekend’s new discoveries) when a pigeon ran into my head! Okay, so his wing brushed my forehead, but it was still a close call. Birds here are so funny, and the seagulls can be downright scary. They are monsters compared to the tiny American seagulls I am used to. At least twice as big and thrice as aggressive, I have been in situations where I had to protect my lunch from these creatures. They are also incredibly loud, and are notorious for pooping on everything in sight in Brighton.

Now, off to re-immerse myself in readings about modernisation, urbanisation, and anthropology (notice the British “s” in the spellings – that is taking some getting-used-to!)

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