Archive for April, 2006

Day Trip to London

Today I went to London for the day, and it was a great trip! I met up with Namita, and as usual we spent most of the afternoon/evening sitting in cafes catching up on each other's lives over the past 4 months or so (since the last time we met up in London). This time, I took some photos though!

I left Brighton in time to arrive around lunchtime, so I headed over to Trafalgar Square (which is currently mostly covered in scaffolding, unfortunately) and walked around the National Gallery for a while. Then, I grabbed a sandwich for lunch and ate in the square while people-watching, which was a lot of fun. There were groups of tourists, groups of schoolkids, people on their lunch breaks, and kids attacking pigeons all in one place!


Even though the main monument was covered up, I had fun looking at the sculptures in the fountains:


I met up with Namita in Russell Square, where we spend many hours talking, and then spent more hours wandering around and talking. It was great to catch up with her! Plus, the flowers in the square were beautiful:


And, one of the day's highlights was visiting Platform 9 and 3/4 at Kings Cross! We were just some of the 'tourists' there taking photos, and I think people passing by found it rather amusing to see really exciting foreigners taking photos by a sign (there was another group of visiting Americans there). Anyway, it was a fun day, and a great way to celebrate being done with papers for a while. Tomorrow I'm headed to an all day workshop with Robert Chambers, which should be interesting.

PS – I returned all my academic library books that I used for my papers and am currently reading Harry Potter! I great read on the way home after visiting the "real" Platform 9 and 3/4 🙂 Oh, and here are more photos I took during the day (got a little happy with my camera's black-and-white function!).  Be sure to check out the photo of the guy in the yellow jacket – he was quite entertaining.  He spent about an hour dancing in the middle of Trafalgar Square while listening to his mp3 player, sometimes even breaking into song!  Happened to get a really funny video of him….


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Easter in Oxford

After three weeks of intensive reading and paper-writing, I headed to Oxford to celebrate Easter and spend some time with Thad.  It was a really nice weekend, and the weather cooperated for the most part.  I had to do a little editing while I was there, but luckily I got enough done beforehand so that I wasn't stressing about work.  And, I was able to get a lot of work done on the train.  I love being able to pull out my laptop and work on a paper when in transit – such a wonderful feeling of being productive and doing two things at once.

We spent a good portion of the weekend at Port Meadow, a large area of common land in Oxford.  The first time we were on foot, and the second time on bikes, and both times we had plenty of animal encounters, from geese to cows to swans to horses.  There were a few moments though, when we had to protect Anna's bike from a few inquisitive horses who seemed intent on chewing on it:



On Easter Sunday we got up relatively early for services at Christ Church Cathedral, which is absolutely beautiful.  Although the day started out warm and sunny, by the time we finished our traditional Sunday roast lunch at the Mitre it was cold, windy, and drizzling.  Such is the weather in England, and I guess I should be used to it by now!  At least the photos we took in the morning make it look like it was a really nice day: (go here to see some more photos from the weekend) 


Another highlight of the weekend was Thad cooking a huge pork roast, which we ate off of for several days (and there are still leftovers!).  I was working on my paper during most of the process, but finished in time to complete my normal role when we cook together: making the veggies!  All in all, it was a lot of fun to get out of town (and out of my room) after doing so much schoolwork.  And, as of tomorrow, I'm two-thirds of the way done with my master's!  All that's left is 4 months and a dissertation!

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Today I did something bad – I went shopping.

I had not really bought clothes since going home for Christmas (getting workout clothes doesn't count, in my opinion), and for some strange reason I woke up today with an urge to shop.  So, after getting my hair cut today I decided to indulge myself a bit.  Many of you have probably heard me complain about clothes over here – how I don't like most of them and how they're too expensive anyway.  But, today I managed to find two shirts and a dress I really liked!

I definitely should have used that money on groceries, as my loan money is quickly disappearing and Brighton is proving to be a city where part-time work is hard to find (at least the part time work I've looked at so far.  I'm seriously considering being a picker  – I hear it's not that bad if you're assigned to the beach).  But, I felt like I deserved to spend a little money on something other than potatoes, rice, and pasta, the cheap staples of every grad student I know.  Here's to my new clothes, being done with term papers in less than a week, and going to visit Thad for Easter!

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Perhaps I’m finding this more entertaining than I should, but I just read an article that cited Harry Potter! And, believe it or not this is an article about Maasai pastoralists in Kenya.

So, apparently there is a guy named Harry L. Potter who wrote an article titled “Some Thoughts on the Prospects for Diversification in Keyna Maasailand.” This was written in the early 1990s, so well before the Harry Potter books came out, and I wonder what this guy has done since then. As an academic, would you be made fun of for sharing your name with a fictitious adolescent wizard? Has he changed his name, and what have other “Harry Potters” out there done?

That’s emough for today’s musings… back to cranking out the last paper!

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Ah, I think this one is circulating through my flat via reading blogs for procrastionation. So, here's my result:

Had trouble posting the photo, so look here.
Not too shabby in my option, though I'm DEFINITELY not emaciated!

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More Charity Links:

EasyJet's charity of the year is the Anthony Noland Trust, an organization that helps find bone marrow donors for people with Leukemia.  Go here and click on the charity logo: http://www.easyjet.com/EN/About/charity.html

In other news, I have basically finished one of my papers, though I'm sure I'll change bits around before I actually turn it in.  Now it's time to start cracking on the other one, but I'm REALLY not very motivated to start (or continue) reading about pastoralism and food security in Kenya.  I think it will be an interesting topic to explore further, but I'd much rather be outside enjoying the lovely weather today!

Monday I witnessed something interesting from the kitchen window – a guy flying a really cool kite.  That wasn't all though – the wind was so strong and his kite was built so that if the wind caught it properly it would actually drag him around on the beach and lift him several feet up into the air!  I got some funny video footage of it, but here's one of the more interesting photos:


That same night several of us ended up hanging out in the kitchen after a day of researching/writing papers.  It's amazing, the things grad students do when they're recovering from work:


Alvaro taking a photo of Emily with Darth Vader on her shoulder!   

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