Archive for the ‘Movies/Books’ Category

Note to self:

Never, never again start a Harry Potter book when you need to be focusing your energies on job hunting and dissertation notes and research. Maybe it’s because I haven’t read fiction in so long, but I have absolutely devoured the 3rd and 4th Harry Potter books recently. 636 pages (the length of book 4) in two days? If only I could demonstrate such passion in reading about integrated conservation and development projects, my dissertation would be a breeze. No more Harry Potter until I have a significant amount of research done and feel justified in treating myself (and becoming a complete hermit) for another few days.

The problem is that now, I’ve caught up to the most recent movie, and so when I read book 5 I won’t actually know what the ending will be, which is exciting! Maybe when I actually have substantial notes and a working outline of my paper, I’ll let myself indulge again. In the meantime, I warn you all about the sheer addictiveness of these books (yes, I know I’m a bit behind in this realization!).


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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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The Constant Gardener

Last night I saw this movie for the first time and loved it.  I actually had not heard the reactions of very many people who had seen it, and so I went into it with no expectations.  After seeing the film, I’d really love to read the book by John le Carre.  Rachel Weisz did a great job, and the cinematography and music were amazing.  It is a really compelling story, and a film that I honestly think everyone should see (along the lines of Hotel Rwanda).

In other news, things are picking up around here school-wise, and it’s hard to believe that soon I’ll be writing two term papers again!  We got our first grade back on Friday, and I got a B, which I’m ok with.  I would like to improve on that this term though.  On top of regular classes and work, I’m trying to figure out what I will be doing next year.  That means coming up for a proposal for DPhil research, applying for funding, and looking for jobs/internships.  If I am not able to stay in school next year, I hope I can find a job that I will like a lot, and that will provide plenty of good experience.

In a few days I’m visiting Thad, and then we’re going to Bath for a few days to celebrate our anniversary.  I’m so excited!  I think we could both use a relaxing trip, and we’re going to be staying at Cheriton House, a small and cute bed and breakfast.

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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.


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:

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:

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.

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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Harry Potter!

Went to the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire last night – it was great! All of the kids have definitely grown up a lot since the last movie, and there were a lot of cool special effects. Dumbledore threw me off a little, because I watched the Sorcerer’s Stone again last weekend with Thad, and was almost expecting to see Richard Harris acting that role (but of course it was Michael Gambon). I always find it entertaining to watch a movie like that in a huge, packed theater, because the dynamic of the crowd can definitely alter the viewing experience. For example, in the first glimpse that you get of the older, slightly more muscular Harry and Ron, a large majority of the females in the theater whistled! It is definitely a movie you have to see in the theater. I have only read the first book in the series, and watching The Goblet of Fire kinda makes me want to go read the other books (or at least catch up before the Order of the Phoenix comes out!)

The weather here in Brighton has changed suddenly, and it’s freezing (literally!) Yesterday was the first day there was frost on the ground, and the first day I had to wear my heavy winter coat. I’ve been trying to resist wearing it because I know that I will probably have to wear it a LOT to get through the winter. Anyway, for the next month or so I will be commiting a horrible fashion faux pas – wearing brown shoes with a black coat. Until I go home and get my trusty, clunky black shoes I’ll be wearing my brown shoes for a while (I definitely can’t deal with wearing my black boots with heels every day for the next month!) The solution would be to either buy black shoes or a brown coat, but why do that now when I can buy things that are SO much less expensive when I’m back in the US for Christmas?

Anyway, time to finish reading before my seminar this afternoon. And afterwards, an ADST karaoke trip may be in the works…….

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Just finished writing the first academic paper that I have written in over two years! I would tell you what it’s about, but I am so tired of writing and thinking about the concept of “civil society” that I don’t think I can. I am done for now, and hopefully when I look over it tomorrow I won’t think that it’s complete bollocks…..

On a different note, if you haven’t heard of the walmart documentary that is coming out soon, you should definitely visit the website: http://www.walmartmovie.com/

It looks very interesting, and I am curious to see how people react to it. Will it make a difference in the way people shop, and how will Walmart respond to it? (possibly similar to McDonald’s response after “Supersize me” came out??) The trailer actually mentions ASDA, which is essentially Walmart in the UK. I will admit that I shop at Walmart and ASDA, though not necessarily on a normal basis, and I will also admit that a large reason why I don’t go there sometimes is simply because I don’t want to fight the crowds! But, I would like to watch the movie, as it would probably make me rethink my spending more. Volunteering at Oxfam has also made me look at fair trade items more closely as well. I try to buy things that are fair trade at charity shops when I can and when my budget allows. However, sometimes the tight pursestrings of living on loans seems to overcome my social consciousness.

That’s all for now – I think my brain has turned to mush!


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Last night I got back from a fun weekend in Oxford.  Thad and I were able to catch a couple of movies while I was in town: Oliver Twist and the Corpse Bride – both were very good!  I was also able to have a proper St. Cross lunch before leaving to come back to Brighton, which is always a treat.

 Last night was also a great Halloween party in Kings Road (thanks to Flat 10 for hosting it!).  I had a hard time figuring out who I thought had the best costume, but I think it comes down to Sarah (as a bottle of Stella) or Tim (the Christmas tree).  I went as a witch, which is a little boring I know, but it was the first Halloween in a LONG time that I actually allowed myself to dress up as a witch (for the reason that there are always loads of witches at Halloween parties).  It was fun to dress up though, and we had a blast going to the beach (a club on the beach) afterwards.  If you want to see more photos from the evening, go here.

Today has been a bit of a long day, especially since I didn’t get much of a chance to relax after being away for the weekend.  Luckily I was able to get a decent amount of reading done on the train on the way to and from Oxford.  This afternoon I went to the anthropology department research seminar and heard a talk ‘On Studying Global Christians.’  Though some of the discussion afterwards was quite theoretical (and a little over my head to be honest!), I thought it was quite interesting.  Among the topics discussed were Christianity and its relationship with colonialism, modernity, and globalization.  A large part of the discussion was about the cultural signifigance of purification and creeds, as well as the process of conversion.  Next week’s topic is about indigenous land rights in Venezuela, which will be more applicable to my academic interests.  I am still getting used to the idea of ‘giving’ a paper here though.  It takes a lot of concentration to follow what someone is saying when they are reading off a sheet of paper as opposed to talking about a subject off the top of their head (which normally makes people talk more slowly).  Anyway, just another thing to try to acclimate to in the UK!

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