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Archive for January, 2006

This is an interesting development – a dog food company that offered to send products to Kenya to help with the current food shortage.  According to the article, the company’s founder has a mixture that is suitable for human consumption, and she even sprinkles some of it on her porridge every morning!  However, despite the possible good intentions of Mighty Mix Dog Food, I find the ordeal pretty condescending.  I keep wavering between  being offended and slightly amused that the company did this in the first place.  Yes, the food could possibly provide nutrition, but imagine how it would look if Kenya accepted such an offer!

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Elevator Drama

Today I experienced something for the first time ever – getting stuck in an elevator!  And, it was not a very pleasant experience, though I probably made a bigger deal out of it than the situation warranted.

This afternoon I took the elevator downstairs to check on my laundry, and after going down a few floors there was a loud clanging sound, the elevator stopped, and then the doors tried to open a little, but couldn’t.  I have never been one to get claustrophobic, but at that moment I started to a little!  After pressing the help button for a few minutes I was finally able to get someone on the intercom, and quickly expain that I was stuck in an elevator before we got cut off.  And this is where the fun begins….

Shortly after, when I could not get the intercom lady to come back, the elevator starts to move up again. Then down.  Then up.  Then down. *clanging sound again*.  Just when I was about to really freak the elevator finally went up, and the doors miraculously opened on the 5th floor.  After calming myself down a bit, I made it up to the RA’s room to tell him the elevator was broken.  All in all, I was probably only in there for 10-15 minutes, but it felt like ages.  At least I wasn’t trapped in the elevator for hours on end!

Anyway, otherwise it was a pretty good day.  Read a lot, enjoyed the sunshine (which has been a rarity lately), did laundry, and a thorough room cleaning, which was badly needed .  Henry, the vacuum cleaner and flat pet as Melissa calls him, got quite a workout in my room today.  Only in England will you come across vacuum cleaners with faces on them!

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The Kings Road Pub Crawl

Last night was the second Kings Road Pub Crawl, and the night featured O’Neil’s, The Bath Arms, Ha Ha, and The Sahara (more of a club than a pub). Since so many of us got digital cameras for Christmas, it turned into quite an evening of taking photos! Here are a few I took of come cool light fixtures in Ha Ha when trying to be slightly artistic:

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As you can tell, I had a fun time playing with the color features on my camera. Here are a few more, with Matthew jumping in front of the camera as usual:

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By far, my favorite venue was The Bath Arms, especially since they had Hobgoblin on tap and some pretty nice live music. To see the more extensive list of photos from the pub crawl and from Emily’s birthday party, go here.

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Things have been pretty hectic since the last time I posted.  I was in Oxford last weekend visiting Thad, which was a lot of fun.  We went to go see Memoirs of a Geisha, which was a great film.  The actor’s accents were a little off, and at times the speech seemed a little stilted, but I really enjoyed seeing it.  Overall though, Zhang Ziyi did a great job, and it is definitely worth seeing on the big screen.  I was also able to go to the St. Cross “welcome back” bop on Saturday.  Here’s a photo of Thad and I before heading downstairs to the bar:  You can see more photos from the evening here.

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On Monday before I headed back to Brighton, we went to the Pitt Rivers and the Natural History Museum in Oxford.  Here’s Thad with the Cheetah and the “please touch” sign:
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Since getting back from Oxford I’ve been busy with classes, going to the gym, and picking up a bike that I got on Freecycle.  It’s a rather large men’s mountain bike, but I’m hoping with a little adjusting and attention it will be rideable.  I had to walk it the almost two miles back to my flat today because the tires didn’t have any air in them.

Last night a group of us went out to celebrate Emily’s birthday, and it was a lot of fun! We had some really good Indian food at the Viceroy, which was a treat for us poor grad students who never eat out.  Here’s Emily after dinner displaying her cakes:
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And here’s all the flatmates after the evening out (except for Melissa, who was out of town).  From left to right: Jen, Emily, Deep, me, and Alvaro.
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The project for this week and next is to start looking for jobs and applying for PhD funding.  I will be excited once I have the next year pinned down and know where I’ll be.  In the shorter term though, I need to find a part-time job somwhere in town, so this weekend I’ll be visiting stores and pubs to try to convince people to hire me.  Wish me luck!

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New Gym

I officially turned in my papers on Monday, and since then things have been pretty hectic! I think I am really going to enjoy my classes this term, even though both of them seem to involve a TON of reading. After turning in my papers, and after a great lunch at the IDS bar, I went gym-shopping. And after much deliberation I decided to join Fitness First for Women. It has been a long time since I went to a women’s gym, but I loved the one in Chapel Hill where I went, and this one has a LOT of classes that I can go to. So far, I’ve been to body sculpt, core balls, pilates, and “legs bums and tums,” which were all pretty good classes. There are some other aerobics/dance-style classes that I want to try out, but that will have to wait for next weekend, since I’ll be in Oxford this weekend. It feels great to be working out more regularly again, though my muscles are a bit sore!

Here are also a few photos from Monday. Brendan making pancakes for “Canadian night” (we had real maple syrup – yum!) Afterwards, a few of the lovely ADST girls at the Hop Poles (a pub around the corner), celebrating the end of being chained to our desks writing papers.
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Done!

Ok, I guess it’s not really over until the fat lady sings and I edit them tomorrow, but the papers are essentially done.  10,000 words have been written – whew!

I am beginning to feel more human today, now that I ventured outside and did normal things, like go to the grocery store.  I also went running on the beach, which was great!  Strangely, it hasn’t even been that cold here lately – it’s been getting up to 9 or 10 (upper 40s) and the lows currently aren’t even dipping below freezing.  Tomorrow is for editing, printing, and investigating more gyms.  I have an appointment at Riptide Fitness Center tomorrow to be shown around and all that jazz.

And, one of my flatmates sent me to phdcomics.com today.  There are some funny ones, and it’s a fun way to procrastionate.

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Whew!  The past couple of days have been a whirlwind of writing for me.  I have always been a very slow writer, but I discovered with this one paper that loads of planning = quicker writing.  In less than 2 days I’ve written 5,400 words, which is pretty impressive for me.  Hopefully at least 5,000 of them will be good enough to make it through the editing process.  I am a little worried about my conclusion though.  It could be a little too Robert Chambers-ish with me going on about the warm and fuzzy aspects of participatory development.  I think I may need a little time away from it in order to really edit the paper.

Since I’ve gotten back to the UK everything has been put on hold until my papers are done.  I’ve been scavenging on what little food I have around here, haven’t exercised in about a month, and haven’t really cleaned my room well.  However, after 12 noon on Monday the papers will have to be behind me, and these are some of the things I need to do:

1. Join a gym

2. Get a job

3. Start volunteering at Oxfam again

4. Lose the 5 pounds or so (at least!) I gained over the holidays

5. Start thinking about/applying for a DPhil program (eeep!)

6. Catch up on all the reading for my classes this term that I won’t get done before Monday

7. Go visit Thad next weekend 🙂

2,000 more words to write on my other paper and I’ll be done!

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