freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)

(Cottage Economy, William Cobbett, 1833)

I am a disgrace to my Zimbabwean roots in that I do not drink beer, and have, as suggested above, entirely replaced it with tea. Brothel here I come. Apparently. Also, while a good gossip with a friend over a cuppa is a lovesome thing, most of my tea-drinking is a solitary vice, which suggests that I have replaced gossip with fanfic and internet memes. Seems appropriate.

We are in the middle of marks checking, which means I've spent the last two days immersed in board schedules, as a capper to a week of trying with increasing desperation to pin down reluctant and frequently self-absorbed academics for committee duty. Please insert the annual rant here, with the caveat that this year the whole protests/delayed exams thing has made things so immeasurably much more complicated and annoying that the actual board schedule checking was comparatively pleasant. Nothing like a Total Perspective Vortex, after all.

I am working at home today as a small tornado of electricians is rewiring my campus office. They tried to do it in the middle of the marks checking organisation chaos, and I fended them off with sticks. I and the cats approve mightily of this working-at-home thing. I am a slightly pale, wrung, shadowy thing at the moment, not because of tea (the tea's helping) but because of administrative exhaustion and heatstress, and not having to move very much is singularly pleasant.


Sunday, 9 November 2014 08:29 pm
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)

"Never, ever, ever push a teabag with a spoon. That’s just… Yeah. You’re out the front door if you do that."

I concur. I don't like my Earl Grey strong.
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
It's Hellweek! The first week of term has stomped around, my life is full of incessant student demands and queues for change of curriculum, advisors are defaulting in all directions, and I have random insomnia and am navigating all of the above on five hours of sleep. Despite which, I'm curiously cheerful, possibly because I'm manic on sleep deprivation, and propose to distract myself pleasantly by burbling about tea.

This morning's challenges were materially increased by the discovery that my campus Twinings cache was tragically empty. I have a serious Earl Grey addiction. I mean, serious. Six mugs a day serious, although more at the moment because I'm stressed, and continuous caffeine with bergamot apparently soothes me to the point where I don't actually go for student throats with my teeth. (My brower's spellchecker also doesn't know how to spell "bergamot", which I consider something of a personal betrayal). Said addiction is peculiarly crippling because a six cups a day habit has apparently habituated me to Twinings to the extent where any other brand tastes bizarre and unlikely. We will draw a veil over the cat-faces I make when forced by cruel circumstances to drink so-called "tea" that isn't Earl Grey at all. Inhuman, is what.

I am not only ridiculously picky about my tea brand, I am hyper-ridiculously picky about how I drink it. I don't like it too strong; the teabag must steep for no more than five seconds. I am not fond of that sense that tannin is coating my teeth, although even at my strength habits sheer volume is probably coating my stomach, and is definitely coating my mugs. Irreverent friends (possibly Phleep) have categorised my milk requirements as "Show it the cow"; rigorous testing with a measuring spoon reveals that in fact I need between 5 and 7 mls of milk to make it drinkable, and I have on occasion made myself tea, incautiously overmilked it, curled my lip, and poured the resulting tragic beverage down the sink before re-making it from scratch. I brought myself down from two spoons of sugar to one about a decade ago, but haven't, despite frequent attempts, managed to reduce it any further. Since at present I'm evincing a tendency not to eat at all until supper, I figure I probably need the blood sugar. There is, in short, a good and sufficient reason why, if you offer me tea in your home, I will probably gently shoulder you aside and make it myself. Because, honestly, there's only so much I can expect from my friends, and precisely two of them have ever learned to make it to my exacting and unreasonable specifications.

People give me boxes of tea. It's very sweet. The aforementioned Phleep, who also takes his caffeine seriously, brings me tins from Harrods every so often, and it's my actually-palatable fallback for those terrible moments when all the supermarkets in my immediate radius run simultaneously out of Twinings. Occasionally students give me tea, as a thank-you for my intrepid negotiation of particularly uphill tracts of curriculum advice, also incidentally raising my hopes for the basic observation skills of the younger generation. Which brings me to the actual purpose of this post, which is to record for posterity the fact that something called "New English Teas", of which I have never heard prior to this kindly student donation, (a) does a nice line in pretty scrolly boxes and packaging their Earl Grey, (b) claims to be "BEST BEFORE END: 6153", which seems frankly unlikely, and (c) tastes almost, but not quite, completely unlike Earl Grey. However, I contrive to soldier on grimly.

On the general principle of sharing internet joy wherever it may be found, this is a thing of subtle beauty whose payback, when you work it out, causes (a) giggling, and (b) forgiveness of the fact that it's actually a rickroll.

My subject line, not unnaturally, quotes "Tea for Two", which, since we seem to be doing random personal factoids today, I am fond of mostly because of an anecdote my father used to tell about Victor Borge playing it upside down.
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Ghent is rather pleasingly prone to outbreaks of dogs and bicycles. I'm not sure what prompts the dogs, invariably cute and well-conducted specimens on leads, but they're entirely consonant with the pleasant, polite, slightly reserved demeanour of the Ghentians I've met. Bicycles are a key mode of transport; little flocks of them toddle past at all times, and pedestrians seem highly trained to avoid both cyclists and trams. The city doesn't seem to be laid out with cars in mind, they're forever piling up behind trams and stopping patiently for pedestrians in a generally subdued and reassuring way. The trams are cute, although it was a miracle I managed not to step on a rail and turn my ankle. I did witness a young lady run her bicycle wheel into a tram rail groove and come a spectacular cropper. Salutary.

I spent yesterday morning sight-seeing, including pottering around the Gravensteen, alias the Castle of the Counts, which is a rather touristy reconstruction of the original 12th-century castle.

It boasts rather a nice collection of medieval armour and weapons, which I spent unconscionable amounts of time with given that I'm no longer in the SCA. Possibly my roots are showing. But sixteenth-century crossbows are simply cool. It also has a rather lovely view of Ghent from the battlements:

I spent a happy hour or so wandering around Saint Bavo's Cathedral, drawn thither by the organist apparently practising. Medieval ecclesiastical architecture sets out to awe and overwhelm, and by gum it does its job. I didn't see the Van Eyck or Reubens, being not so much an art geek, but I love the soaring spaces and the mantle of hushed calm a cathedral wears. Also, several of its bishops park off on their tombs in an attitude of relaxed marble indolence, which always amuses me.

As is obligatory, I accompanied my Earl Grey (in a rather fairy-tale iron teapot) with a Belgian waffle with cream, partaken of at a café on the edge of the square. Belgian waffles have a curiously chewy surface to them, I suspect they're sugared, but they're substantial and very good. Memo to self: try to achieve soggy waffles for Jo by making giant fat ones.

I am now ensconced in a hotel in Brussels preparatory to flying to Manchester tomorrow morning, and then the Lake District. Achievement Unlocked: Ghent. I liked it.
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A brief vignette from an actual telephone conversation recently conducted:

(INT, administrative office. Desk cluttered with papers, cat pictures on the wall, steaming cup of Earl Grey desk right. EXTEMPORANEA discovered at desk, gazing at computer screen clogged with FEC rules, with furrowed brow).

PHONE: *rings*
ME: Hello, extemporanea speaking.
STUDENT (in slow, sleepy tones): Um, hello, I'm phoning to find out if you've received an email.
*Long pause. Further amplification is not forthcoming.*
ME (with commendable patience): I receive several dozen emails a day. What was it about, and when did you send it?
STUDENT (vaguely): About five minutes ago.
*Another long pause. Tumbleweeds.*
ME (patience clearly eroding): Which email are you referring to?
STUDENT: I sent it from my Gmail account.
ME (now thoroughly exasperated): Who am I speaking to?
STUDENT (with soul's-awakening realisation): Oh. Oh, yes. *gives actual name and details, stumbling over name as though it's actually an alias. I deal with his reasonably simple problem, put down phone, sigh.*

(INT. now features visible chew marks on the desk).

I still haven't received the actual email.

By way of distraction, this Nando's ad is making its way around my Twitter feed and environs, although actually I first saw it on [ profile] nimnod's blog. It's pure, unadulterated comedy genius, and causes me to laugh unexpectedly every time I remember it, which given the tenor of my week (hideous) is a definite bonus.

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You'd think that when a concerted effort of medical professionals1 (physician, other physician, gynaecologist, psychologist) tells you that the recent Medical Upset is a fairly serious thing and takes a while to get over, I'd be able to internalise the fact that it'll take a while to get over. Unfortunately I seem to imitate the action of the gazelle, i.e. it all goes in one ear and out the other while I quiver obliviously. So when, somewhat annoyed to discover that the post-Medical-Event exhaustion seems to be getting worse rather than better, I trek in to my nice doctor and complain, there's a sort of dawning, soul's-awakening quality to the way in which I respond when she takes samples for three separate blood tests, mutters things about viral load and anaemia from possible minor internal bleeding, books me off work until the end of next week, and tells me to start strategising seriously with my boss to, if humanly possible, take time off until the end of the term.

I am a little startled to realise that (a) she means the end of the semester, i.e. until November, not until the end of the 10-day vac next week, and (b) that apparently the recent Medical Upset is a fairly serious thing and takes a while to get over.

Who knew?

I note, for posterity, that upon emerging from my car in the hospital car park for my weekly blood test this morning, I was startled to note a small pile of picked-clean chicken bones lurking ominously by my left foot. I am inclined to think that, rather than any sort of arcane Blair Witch activity, this is yet another testament to the truly horrible food at the hospital, which clearly requires rearguard action by visitors with Kentucky Fried. (I file it in the evidence locker alongside the three completely unconnected people who have, in the last week, cheerfully congratulated me on the weight I've lost).

In other news only related to my state of health by horrific implication, Twining is considering changing the taste of Earl Grey. I am oscillating wildly between responses on a scale from Ritual Suicide to Ninja Assassins by way of Stockpiling in a Nuclear Bunker.

1 That started out as a misshapen sentence structure, but on mature reflection I rather like it as a collective noun.
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I am home! words cannot express my joy. Kindly imagine me hobbling around in a pained but ecstatic circle dance, with gestures of relief and freedom. I have Earl Grey, I have a real computer with proper screen and keyboard, I have my kitties sitting off in the middle distance looking bored and unimpressed, which is their traditional response to me being away for any length of time. I also have my amazing mother, who has arrived for her mid-year holiday only to have to divide her time between assisting me to hobble around the house, and scritching Todal behind the ears. (Todal got bitten quite badly by some unspecified fiend-creature while I was away, and has a bald patch and umpteen stitches in her back, and a cone around her head which precludes her accessing her own itchy spots. The level of medical malfunction in this house currently is a bit scary. On the upside, Toad is making up for a lot of Hobbit-bullying by virtue of the fact that he's scared of her cone and runs away like a big wimp when she approaches. I fancy she's enjoying this.)

Apparently I can expect six months on warfarin (no wild diet changes, no anti-inflammatories, no more than a glass of wine a day), another month or so before this leg stops hurting, and a recovery period of up to a couple of weeks before I cease feebly wibbling to the point where I can venture back to work. This means that I leave the Faculty in the lurch in the first week of term, which is a change of curriculum period and one of the busiest of my year, full of responsibility for complicated advisor timetables, and infinite student queries. There are very few back-up systems to replace my several quite unique functions at this time, so it's going to be salutary for all of us, and will hopefully allow me to implement a campaign to rationalise and support some of the more exhausting requirements of this job in future. I am also pleased to report a really quite surprisingly low level of guilt at the whole leaving-them-in-the-lurch bit. This kind of drastic body-she-is-scratched thing happens to me because I'm exhausted and run-down, and the job is to blame for a lot of that.

Anyway. Languishing in hospital chatting to my mother in the last couple of days has resulted in an extremely happy-making random revelation, which I shall proceed to share in the interests of geek cred. Rampant atheism, skepticism and a hearty dislike of Tom Cruise have given me a serious loathing for weird cults in general and Scientology in particular, but this may also be genetic. It causes me untold joy to learn that my grandfather, my mother's father, was on the Board of Censors for Zimbabwe, then Rhodesia, and he was apparently instrumental in having Scientology banned from the country. That was obviously reversed at some stage, the church is active in Zim now, but they booted old L. Ron the hell out in the 60s. My mother remembers my grandfather bringing home huge piles of info on Scientology to read through, and that he hated the cult with quite a passionate hatred and worked very hard to have it banned. I love this. It's a lovely bit of family history worthy of innocent pride. My grandfather was a difficult, introverted man, but he was a sturdy rationalist and could clearly kick butt when required to.

Obligatory Reverse Inside-Out Australia Blog photograph: Sydney was prone to really beautiful clouds.

teach your children well

Wednesday, 29 June 2011 01:25 pm
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Brisbane was grey and rainy today, but still rather pleasant. The airport serves decent Earl Grey, and I'm sitting on a comfy chair waiting for the Melbourne flight, watching Qantas planes take off into a perfect rainbow, while fat tadpole raindrops chase each other down the window in shoals. What do airports coat their windows with? It makes water behave extremely oddly.

We were at the Queensland University of Technology this morning, which was not really relevant to much that Humanities does, but the Dean thought the visit might be interesting, and we don't argue with the Dean. Actually it was fascinating, apart from being a beautiful campus full of lovely buildings both modern and historical, on the doorstep of a botanical garden. Gawsh but that's a highly jacked institution: its focus is vocational and practical, but its research record is slightly overwhelming and quite definitely the stuff of science fiction. They specialise in mundane things like biofuels and airport technologies, but are also into nanotech and remote drones and some serious modelling, not to mention the use of virtual reality to in creative ways, like training hospital staff to operate radiology machines. Their approach to interdisciplinarity makes me weep with envy. Despite my fondness, in the teeth of the odds, for my Cherished Institution, I left feeling parochial and third world.

Institutions in this country reward good teaching. They really reward good teaching. They have awards and policies and value statements, and they take student experience very seriously. We lag horribly behind in that sort of thing, complacently research-focussed snobs that we are. I'm feeling both inspired and despairing.

QUT also took us out to lunch at an exceptionally good Chinese restaurant, where, clearly telepathically attuned to their visitors' proclivities, they had ordered us superb Peking Duck with pancakes. Also, a spicy pork mince with green beans which seems to be the Chinese version of stv's Basil Thing. Thus, while this lurgi has moved from the Hacking Cough into the Snuffle Zone and I'm a disgusting and unprofessional object and more than somewhat dead, it hasn't actually been a bad day. However, there is a clear and present danger that I'll spend more of my travel allowance on internet than I will on food, which probably says something profound about me, I'm not sure what.

This was apparently the original Governor's Mansion. Now it's the Chancellory.
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Today I have:

  1. Interviewed 22 potential orientation leaders, most of whom were lovely and restore my faith in human nature at least partially;

  2. Given two lectures, comprising (a) a brisk discussion of the iniquities of Facebook, (b) a quick jaunt around the highly gendered socio-cultural resonances to the terms "slut" and "man-whore" and (c) a dissection, in fascinated detail, of the nasty chat-room-sex scene from Closer;

  3. Made four separate cups of tea, none of which I had time to finish before they went cold;

  4. Realised, midway through all of the above, that I completely omitted to post a Micfic last night, and didn't bring the damned thing up to campus so I can post it now;

  5. Done all of the above on slightly over four hours of sleep, as a result of a hideously insomniac night characterised by (a) a really odd dream waking me up at 1am so that I only got back to sleep around 2, (b) a persistent mosquito waking me up at 3am so that I only got back to sleep at around 5, and (c) the alarm waking me up at 7 with a distressing finality I can only feebly resent owing to concomitant lack of brain.

Tomorrow should be better; only 18 OLs to interview (unless more schedule before then, which they probably will), and one lecture. I shall face them on (a) more sleep, courtesy of those nice pills the nice doctor lady gave me, and (b) Red Bull, which I haven't had time to procure today.

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Is it weird that the scenes of Gandalf digging through piles of parchment looking for One Ring info in the LotR movie made me want to be a librarian in Minas Tirith? Because, dear sweet cosmic wossnames do they need one. The dweeb they dug up to talk about athelas in the books is clearly incompetent. I have added to my List of Soothing Mental Exercises For Use In Insomnia the construction of a happy alternate identity becoming Gondor's primary knowledge specialist, and ruling all those piles of parchment with an Inkstained Iron Fist. There may be pauses for hitting very hard on Faramir. (Other Soothing Mental Exercises For Use In Insomnia: Designing Sybil Trelawney's Divination Classes, and Which X-Men Ability Would I Have? [Flying, for a start. A lot of my Superman fixation is about the flight. Which is another reason why Smallville is irking me, but hey, Clark still cute, in that stunned-puppy sort of way]).

This entirely inconsequential post possibly brought to you courtesy of devouring the entire Questionable Content archive since Friday, something that seems to be making me even more vague and lateral than usual. Also, I have a new skirt featuring deep red cherries on a black background. The Dean likes it.

I think I need more tea. I think the five-day weekend I have starting tomorrow, courtesy of a sneaky use of leave time adjacent to a long weekend, is arriving not a moment too soon.

Anyone for Fiasco! this weekend?

deep breath

Sunday, 23 January 2011 08:05 pm
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So, orientation starts tomorrow. I've worked a week of 11-hour days in preparation, and most of yesterday and today, in between odd bouts of socialising ([ profile] librsa's birthday picnic yesterday, lunch with [ profile] friendly_shrink today). Two hours of photocopying this morning, an extended wrestle with advisor schedules and an online evaluation yesterday, an evening spent writing up everything I know about curriculum advice in alphabetical order, which was a strangely surreal procedure. I even put up a Microfic, although it's a very quick and unpolished effort.

It is remotely possible that I'm prepared for tomorrow. This is not, of course, going to prevent me from lying awake tonight fretting about all the little details I've forgotten, and whether my OLs will rise magnificently to the occasion or will crumble under the onslaught. (They've always done the former, but I'm paranoid).

General lessons learned this last week:
  1. Never administer enormous logistical challenges if you're a control freak.
  2. This is where my health problems are stemming from. I've been fine for months, but my sinuses are acting up today for the first time since around August. Bloody stress.
  3. It may produce presentations rife with thundering cliché, but Powerpoint is weirdly easy to use. It certainly beats my previous line in dodgy overhead projector copies.
  4. Earl Grey makes the world go round.
I shall now go and watch a celebratory Smallville episode before toddling goodly off to bed at 9pm in preparation for a 6am start. Sigh. Season 4. They're making Clark play football. I don't get American football. It's a completely bizarre combination of macho and mincing, and I'm finding it both incomprehensible and insanely boring to watch. I say this from the point of view of someone who finds a slow, pleasant enjoyment in several arcane hours of cricket. I suppose it takes all sorts.

Wish me luck! I shall be thin on the ground for the next few days.
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Yesterday's rhapsodical photos aside, I'm not entirely sure I love my Hobbit very much at the moment. Some thrice-bedamned feline of the male persuasion has sprayed in the house, most notably in my bedroom, which I take rather personally when it means I come home at the end of an eleven-hour day and have to take down and wash the curtains. If it's not Hobbit himself to blame, it's his wimpish failure to employ his considerable bulk in the service of seeing off the intruder, and I am Not Impressed either way. It's also led to the unfortunate situation where I'm burning Baygon pellets in my study not just because unspecified things are eating my ankles, which they are, but because the sweetish chemical pong clogging my sinuses is several steps up from the odour of cat piss. Cat piss is a horribly pervasive smell, and the universal rule is that you'll never actually find the spray point. I need a blacklight. Anyone know who stocks them locally?

On the upside, via boingboing, drunken owl. My love of all things strigine means I am fretting somewhat over the fear that the poor creature might be permanently harmed by its brush with the demon drink, but I love the story - not only because of its literal embodiment of the rather archaic phrase "tight as an owl", but because of the beautiful deadpan of either the police or the reporter, or possibly both.

In other news, eleven-hour days. Orientation starts on Monday. My life is a whirl of paper, email, phone calls, photocopies, organisational crises, orientation leaders and insufficient tea. My recent tweet identified "the kind of week where all my tea gets cold before I can drink it, and I seem to be living entirely on chocolate chip cookies. And nerves." Send dried frog pills, stat. If nothing else, I can feed them to the bloody spraying cat.
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Gah. One of those days when I've boiled the kettle four times and still haven't managed to make the cup of tea. This is the time of year when I most hate my job: I am juggling four major and complicated organisational challenges, at least part of all of which involves students phoning me up and being plaintive. The Nibbled To Death By Hordes Of Mice quotient is very high. Also, insomnia last night doesn't help, while I lie awake remembering important things I haven't done. Just to add to the joy, the campus internet has decided to nominate today as one of meditation, which means there's a fractional delay on every letter I type. It's very annoying.

On the upside, the amazing people at Loot have apparently arm-wrestled the Evil Anti-Season-4 Smallville Cult into submission, because my copy has apparently been shipped. Owing to Smallville's tendency to finish its seasons on cheesy cliffhangers with practically everyone possibly dead or incarcerated in insane asylums, I'm more than usually twitchy at the lack of instant gratification. Also, I really miss Joss's tendency to damned well finish a season arc. It suggests an actual confidence in the return of his audience which the Cheap Shot Cliffhanger simply doesn't. Sigh. I am, nonetheless, rather looking forward to renewing my acquaintance with oodles of kryptonite, bucketloads of teen angst, the ongoing train smash that is Luthor family dynamics, and Clark Kent's cheekbones.

Now I shall go back to assessing the curricula of student appeal cases, wrangling OLs, fielding plaintive admissions emails and herding curriculum advisors into training. Much of the actual hard grind of finishing up handouts and websites and things for these projects is, alas, going to be done this weekend. I think my Evil Landlord's fell influence on the weekend work front is rotting my moral fibre.
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Right, so have been in curriculum advice all morning and just found myself shouting at a particularly dense and recalcitrant student, so this is a designated 20-minute break while I drink Earl Grey, cruise the internet for random distraction which doesn't require a brain, and recover my equanimity and love for the gazelles. Therefore, linkage.

  • The recent Amazon bully tactics against Macmillan make me cross and inclined to boycott Amazon, although I have to say Macmillan's pricing on e-books seems little excessive. As a bonus side-effect, alternative online sources are being punted all over: The Book Depository is apparently as cheap, doesn't charge for international delivery and lets you watch people buying books across the world in real time, which for some reason I find inexpressibly cool.

  • Is all this curriculum advice rotting my brain? I find myself rather liking the first pink swirly thing worn by Lady Gaga at the Grammys. Kind of a classic insanity rather than the more usual incomprehensible madness. On the other hand, I wouldn't currently trust my aesthetic judgement.

  • In other news, this is exquisitely written and does precise, tenuous, luminous things with vision and significance. Catherynne Valente is my new literary girl crush.
Right, that was the last of my Earl Grey. I dangle before myself like a deep-fried battered carrot the promise that jo&stv, still Prince of Hosts, promise to cook tempura tonight. This shall console me for the First Serious Army of Reconstruction screw-up - they've delivered the wrong kitchen tiles, so probably a couple of weeks of delay. Phooey. I'm dying to see how they look.

My doom beckons. Excelsior!
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I seem to have spent a lot of last night arguing with the head of department while trying to sign up for the correct Psychology courses to complete my major, with the intention of doing Honours and actually becoming a psychologist. The outstanding courses involve a lot of stats, so it's probably fortunate that at this point the unspecified saboteurs did their evil stuff and tinkered with the giant baroque fountain to connect it with the volcanic subterranean river so it spewed an enormous geyser of boiling water about a kilometre into the air, showering Cape Town with hot rain. I think my subconscious is trying to tell me something about my job. Also, I blame the comparative tameness of the imagery on the fact that I didn't actually get to see the Harry Potter film yesterday, since my mother was involved in baby-sitting duties and she wants to see it too. Maybe tonight.

I was for some reason in a very good mood for most of yesterday, as evinced by my tendency to wander around the faculty singing Belle and Sebastian to myself, while students and admin gave me funny looks. Today I'm wrestling with the labyrinthine improbabilities of Music degrees and am monumentally grumpy. On the upside, Sven&Tanya gave me an amazing giant book of chocolate recipes for my birthday, and I finally stopped vacillating between the 14 different versions of chocolate brownies sufficiently to actually try one out over the weekend. Music degree hair-tearing thus nicely leavened by copious application of Earl Grey and occasional interludes of chocolatey goodness (lovely recipe, but I have to learn the precise skill of undercooking brownies to leave them all moist in the middle. More practice clearly indicated.). Next up: the chocolate torte with swirled cream cheese topping, and the brownie recipe with bits of embedded nougat. Damn.
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I finished watching the last few episodes of Doctor Who this week, resulting in an unusual degree of turmoil in my attitude to Russell Davies. Still needing to brood about the season finale and its manifest joys and iniquities, though, so shall distract myself by memeage while I ponder the analytic mot juste. I was drawn to this one by its first question. I have interesting uncles. The sentence-completion meme. )

hello, spaceboy

Sunday, 1 June 2008 05:19 pm
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Quite the worst part about a full-time job - or, possibly the combination of full-time job with Sid and glandular wossnames - is that it renders me incapable of much over the weekends, as I veg out and gently recover sanity. This, alas, is not good for my research goals, or for the marking I should have been doing. Do I care? Not a whole lot, no.

In default of actual brain, or actual ability to be interesting, I shall fall back on the eternal blogging standbys: viz, grammar, and cats. Behind the cut, since both are photo-heavy. )


Sunday, 28 October 2007 11:38 am
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The kettle died! For two days I've been forced to make tea by boiling water in a pot on the stove. There should be a law against interfering with the proper flow of Earl Grey. And, of course, it would have to happen on the weekend when I'm all sinusy and can't face the thought of leaving the house to hunt and kill a replacement water-boilage entity. Woe is me.

On the other hand, a random thought for the day. Is it just me, or do granadilla flowers really look like small, vegetative, extremely cthulhoid alien life forms? Or have I just been watching way too much Farscape?

I'll swear the damned thing is sticking out its tongues at me. Roguishly.

p.s. my Evil Landlord just arrived with a new kettle. He is my hero. Also, he is a wise man who knows how dangerous it is to get between me and the tea supplies.

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Curse that Friendly Psychologist's Internet Romance. He does this thing to pork spare ribs where they're rubbed, smoked, baked, basted and braaied, and the meat falls off the bone in incredibly flavourful shards, and then I eat way too much of them, in the company of slightly too much gin, giggling and DIY crème brulée, and can't sleep properly. I must have lain awake for about four hours last night, while random thoughts chased through my head and the cat chased a cockroach round and round the room, dear little psycho that she is. (She left the corpse in my slipper this morning, although it was only playing dead and when I tipped it out, scuttled off to dig in under an unidentified piece of furniture, presumably with machine-gun nests and a concrete bunker. Joy).

Of course, the insomnia could also be knock-on effect from having been dosed to the nines on painkillers the previous night, which leads my system to expect soothing sleep-enablers and get all petulant when they don't materialise. (And that, my chickabiddies, is why I don't do drugs. My nastily dependent little system can get its habit-forming kicks from Earl Grey, Lindt 70% and occasional codeine on a strict ration, and damned well like it. They're all quite expensive enough).

Anyway, a bit out of it today on account of sleep-deprivation, tending to drift around vaguely and bump into things. I've also spent all afternoon sitting at home waiting for the delivery of new cupboards for my bedroom, which of course failed to materialise, hiss spit, but nonetheless lent the whole afternoon a curiously provisional status. This is particularly annoying as I really needed to sally forth this afternoon in search of one of those nifty IPod belt clips, as currently the beastly thing tends to leap madly out of my tracksuit pocket when I'm rowing and slither frantically across the carpet, bound for parts unknown, and followed by a faint, tinny trail of Belle & Sebastian.

B5 has also failed to arrive today, putting us at T-2 and far from sanguine. On the upside, the Telkom gremlins have actually reconnected the phone, so it's once more safe to essay the landline. Just don't expect actual conversation.

Bunny Threat Level: no actual change, on account of vagueness, curriculum advice and thing. However, [ profile] wolverine_nun handed in her PhD thesis today. Huzzahs! and I consider myself Challenged, TM. *glares threateningly at bunny*


Tuesday, 2 January 2007 09:43 am
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
Welcome to 2007. To mark the start of a fresh year, yesterday, with exemplary skill, I emptied the greater part of a cup of hot Earl Grey all over the keys of this computer. Moppage reveals that damage has resulted: I am forced to type without arrow keys, Del. or several letters, the precise details of which I must leave for the reader to work out.

This is a far from auspicious start to the year. Apart from high rage levels the whole issue makes the style of this post somewhat stilted, far short of the loquacious ease with which I prefer to witter. Also, actual work is somewhat outside the limits of the likely. This day I shall go forth to achieve a fresh, glittery item of typage. Yesterday, I merely seethed.

However, comfort exists: the jo stv duo has acquired small cats. They are awash with the cute.


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