Archive for March, 2006

Today, while taking a short break from writing, I came across this article about how an increasing number of young professionals are shying away from corporate careers and becoming organic farmers. It kinda made me wish I was doing something outdoors, instead of staying cooped up in my flat reading articles and writing papers. Oh well, it's looking like I'll probably be working somewhere next year (as opposed to studying), so hopefully that will satisfy my urge to get out and "do" something!

I've started writing my first paper, and it's going well so far. I do have to say though, that the reading is getting quite depressing. I've read so many articles about HIV and AIDS in southern Africa and how families are struggling to support orphans. Some of it is inspiring – people who have started community organizations or small NGOs to help support struggling families and children, but a lot of the literature is quite discouraging. There's nothing like reading about people coping with AIDS and poverty to put your own life in perspective.

On a much happier note, here's a photo of my cousin and Tyler.  It's scary how much he looks like Josh, her husband!

Tyler Richard 7.JPG


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Happy Birthday Tyler!

My cousin Elizabeth had her baby today! Little Tyler is 7
pounds, 3 oz. and 21 inches long. And, according to my aunt, has
red hair and looks just like his dad. So, I now have a first
cousin once removed. I thought that Tyler would be my second
cousin, but after doing some research online I discovered that wasn't
the right term. A huge congrats to Josh and Elizabeth and a
hurry-up to get photos online asap! 🙂

This weekend Thad was in Brighton, and even though the weather was HORRIBLE, we made it out to do a few things. On Friday we saw V for Vendetta,
which was a wonderful movie, and definitely worth seeing on the big
screen. Afterwards I felt a bit restless, like I wanted to go
start a huge revolution or something! People clapped at the end,
always a sign of a great film. And, Natalie Portman was great –
probably one of her best performances in my opinion. It was
definitely interesting to see how the audience responded to all the Guy
Fawkesreferences in England! I wouldn't mind having a look at the
comic at some point, because I know it differs a bit from the movie.

On Saturday, despite iffy weather, we decided to go on a trip to Eastbourne.
It is a cute, coastal English town, and very similar to Brighton
(though a bit smaller and cleaner). There is a decent amount to
do, but when it's raining like it was for most of Saturday all you want
to do is to duck into shops to get dry and warm again. Luckily we
made it out to the pier and walked a while along the Boardwalk before
it got really bad:


One of our first stops after it started raining was the "How we Lived Then Museum of Shops,"which was pretty interesting. I was amazed at the sheer amount of stuff that had been collected, from storefront signs to christmas decorations to china to tinned food that ranges from 50-100 yearsold! Thad really enjoyed it, and he even found a few things from the Festival of Britain (which he wrote about in his Master's dissertation):


Afterwards, we spent a while walking around town, and when desperately looking for a store to pop in and dry off a bit, we wandered into one of the most interesting bookstores I've ever been in. It was literally a house converted into a bookstore with three floors PACKED with books. The bookshelves went all the way to the ceiling, and there were even stacks blocking large portions of the hallway! Here's Thad looking around the languages section:


that was jut one tiny section of the store. There were books of
all subjects, ages, and sizes – some new, some falling apart at the
seams. Unfortunately, I have no recollection what the place was
called, just that it was in the section of town called "Little Chelsea."

That was most of the weekend, and a good portion of the rest of it was spent indoors, sipping cups of tea, hiding from the weather as much as possible, watching a few movies, and attempting to do a bit of academic reading. Now I have two 5,000 word term papers to look forward to writing, hopefully finishing them before Easter weekend!

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Mike Tyson in Brighton

Today after running various errands on campus, I was on my way home loaded down with groceries when I noticed a throng of people crowded around a black limo.  It was a pretty funny sight, and I wish I’d had my camera on me.  Loads of people on both sides of the street were stopped, holding up pedestrian traffic with cameras and cell phones in the air taking photos.

As it turned out, it was Mike Tyson, whose appearance in Brighton has triggered some protests.  Anyway, even though I’m in no way his biggest fan, it was funny to watch all the people going a bit nuts!

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Swing Dancing in London

There is a small group of us who meet in my building every week for some informal swing dance lessons (taught by the wonderful Tracy). We’ve met about 6 times or so, though I have missed a few sessions, and it’s been a lot of fun. Last night a group of us went to London to swing for the evening and everyone had a blast! We went to C Jam at the Bedford, which is a really nice pub in Balham, London (look at the photos of the ballroom, it’s great). They have beginner and intermediate lessons, which are 45 minutes each, and then free dancing until late in the evening.

The beginner class was a cinch, since Tracy has already taught us a lot of the basics, but the intermediate class was a bit more complicated! I had a hard time getting the Charleston down, and I think I need to probably practice it a bit more. The music was great, and Swing is such a happy dance – I really like it a lot. I’ve never been good at partner dancing because I always want to lead, not follow, but I’m getting a lot better at it! Hopefully it won’t be too long before I go to the Bedford again!

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St. Patty’s Day Party

Last night all the ADST kids had a bash at Margarets to celebrate not only the end of term and St. Patty’s Day, but also Siad and Adie’s birthdays! It was a great and memorable night, and loads of photos are available here for anyone who wants to see them!

A huge thanks for Margaret for offering up her place and for making “vodka jelly!” There were several great things that happened, including Adie singing “Happy Birthday Mr. President” to Siad and her dinosaur impression, Laura and Emma on the collapsing chair, and many interesting conversations!

Here are some of the girls, all dressed in green:


A large group of people on a tiny stairway:


Fun with Pringles:


The chair incident (which I also happened to catch on video!):


There was also plenty of jig dancing, square dancing, and yummy cake! A wonderful time was had by all 🙂

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End of term!

So I have officially completed all my coursework for my master’s – hard to believe!  Now it’s time to gear up for the craziness of writing term papers.  At least this time I won’t be out of the country for two weeks, so it won’t be as stressful.

I spent most of today doing research in the IDS library, which I’m coming to like more and more.  Unlike the larger university library, you can actually find what you’re looking for, it’s genuinely quiet, making copies is 4p instead of 7p per page, and it’s SO much warmer!  Plus, you can go use the bathroom without having to go outside the library and swipe in and out (one of the more annoying features of the other library, if you ask me).  Anyway, I have loads of research to comb through now, which will be the big project for this weekend.  My goal is to have all research/notes done and be in a position to begin writing by April 1st.

Tonight I went to go see a performance called “Wild Geese,” a “video ballad about exile, migration, and the search for employment and security in a global economy,” according to the programme.  It was a very good and interesting performance, and is put on by the Banner Theatre Company. Here is a press release, and a good summary of what it’s about.

And, a random event that happened last night: amazing fireworks on Brighton beach!  These were the best fireworks that I have seen in a long time, and they were right outside my window (and for seemingly no special reason whatsoever).  No holiday, no advertizements, just random, wonderful fireworks from a small boat a hundred feet or so from the pier.  I’m assuming it was practice for a future fireworks display, and I’m definitely not complaining (though wondering how much the “practice” cost, if that’s what it was).  Anyway,  here’s a few photos of fireworks and Alvaro taking photos of them:

IMG_0608.JPG IMG_0602.JPG IMG_0614.JPG

Also, one of the more interesting things that Thad and I did last weekend was going to the Brighton Museum, which was much larger than I was expecting.  Personally, I found the Brighton history section the most interesting, especially Brighton’s reputation as a place for “dirty weekends!” We took a few entertaining photos – here’s one of Thad in the kids room, sitting on a mini-version of the couch made to look like Maye West’s lips:


Whew!  I guess I should update this more regularly so that my posts aren’t this long.  One other thing though – I have a job interview next week.  Don’t get too excited – it’s a part-time job on campus doing clerical work, but it would be a great chance to earn some extra money.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

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Ah, a lot has happened since my last post!  I was very, very sick for a few days, for one thing.  I rarely get physically upset-stomach sick, but I definitely did late last week.  It was about three days before my stomach could handle food (other than Sprite and broth-like soup), which meant that Thad and I didn’t go to Hillary Feast, unfortunately.  It would have been silly for me to go to a five course meal when I couldn’t have had any of the multiple wines or anything other than the soup course, and Thad was nice enough to stay in and help nurse me back to health with his own soup.  Strange bugs have been going around Sussex – in my flat alone half of us have been sick within the past two weeks.  Hopefully I’ve paid my dues and it won’t happen to me again for a long, long time.  The good news is, I think I can officially proclaim my digestive system back to normal – hurray!!

I have a presentation on Friday, two seminars next week, and my term is officially over – it’s really hard to believe.  I have the option of taking a short class next term and doing a shorter dissertation, or just doing a longer dissertation.  For most of the year, I assumed that I would do the shorter option (the class sounds really interesting!), but because I may do doctorate research at some point down the road, I decided to go for the longer dissertation.  This means that I am done with classes, which is a little strange to think about!  After I turn in my term papers on April 19th, I have nothing to do except loads of research and writing 20,000 words until September.  That’s a lot of unstructured academic work, which will be quite a change for me.  Hopefully I’m up for the challenge!

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