Learning the system


in Daily updates, Oxford

11 Library Court

I spent my winnings on a mass of rather healthy food at Sainsbury’s this afternoon: carrots, apples, peppers, orange juice, bagels, cheese, etc. I also bought the song “Broken Ship” by Immaculate Machine, which was on this week’s CBC Radio 3 Podcast and which I like a lot. Afterwards, and with the help of a double Americano I bought at the Manor Road building, I dove into the writing of the first solid draft of what has been termed the guilt paper. Helpfully, I have a window for revising it after the seminar tomorrow. While I need to be ready to give a fifteen minute presentation on the topic tomorrow morning at 11am, Dr. Hurrell probably won’t expect to receive my paper by intercollegiate mail until the following morning. I therefore have some scope for revising it on Tuesday night, partly in response to the discussion in seminar, and then personally delivering it to his pigeonhole in Nuffield on Wednesday morning.

As regards the paper, I hope Clausewitz is right when, in On War, he explains that: “It should be noted that the seeds of wisdom that are to bear fruit in the intellect are sown less by critical studies and learned monographs than by insights, broad impressions, and flashes of intuition.” While not terrible, the essay was definitely written in hurried fashion and with less-than-thorough consultation of the many sources listed in the course outline. As Dennis Danielson would have said, this essay needs time to cook.

Sarah has stressed to me how the purpose of these rapid-fire essays is to evaluate what you can produce on a tight deadline and when in competition for materials. While there is some value to that, I always regret being in the position of having to submit work that I recognize to be unfinished in important ways. Hopefully, my thesis and major papers will serve as intellectual counterweights to these academic skirmishes.

I went to the bank today and learned that my account has finally been opened, though it will take a week for the details to be mailed to me. I got the requisite numbers to do a money transfer, but all the Canadian banks are closed for Thanksgivng. Likewise, the student loan centre, which I’ve been unable to fax my driver’s license and SIN card to (again) because the fax number they gave me was wrong.

Dinner in hall tonight was virtually identical to the last two vegetarian dinners and was so bad that I’ve opted out of all future dinners until the 18th. The cost of the meals will be credited to my battels. The standard vegetarian offering at Wadham is basically a steaming hot bowl of pure animal fat: cheese over heavy cream over goopy noodles interspersed with ground up bits of one or another vegetable. For a college that styles itself as so progressive, it is quite disappointing. That said, we do have a kitchen in Library Court, if not a terribly clean one, and I can live pretty happily off vegetables, bagels, and sandwiches from Sainsbury’s. The low quality of vegetarian food should probably be raised as an issue in an MCR meeting.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

sasha October 11, 2005 at 4:36 pm

Correcting passive verb use: The low quality of vegetarian food should probably be raised as an issue in an MCR meeting = I should probably riase the issue of the low quality of vegetarian food at an MCR meeting.

See? It even had better implications this way.

SOrry, it’s my inner English teacher. I just can’t help it.

Milan October 11, 2005 at 4:46 pm

So… you’re saying that the time for passing attempts at motivating change through blog posting has ended and that the time has now come for open class warfare? I think it would be a better idea for me to just raise the issue at an MCR meeting.

Anonymous October 11, 2005 at 7:51 pm

The obvious solution is to avoid said vegetarian meals and eat MEAT. EAT. MEAT. Yes that is right, you must EAT MEAT. Unless it’s of the grey and unidentified species type typically served at Totem. Then DO NOT EAT MEAT.

That is my advice.

Milan December 7, 2005 at 2:20 am

[Editorial note: Internal links shifted to new domain, 6 DEC 2005.]

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