in Daily updates, Oxford

Broad Street

For the whole length of my academic life, I have been a shameless procrastinator. Every time I have some new and lengthy project to complete, I manage to forget this and feel increasingly ashamed and alarmed at my inability to make progress on it. At some level, this is probably predicated on the background knowledge that I’ve put off so many other projects before and made my way along relatively unscathed afterwards. At another, it reflects the curious nature of my ability to do work – especially writing. It’s something I am occasionally able to do in great, bounding bursts – completing several pages in ten minutes or so. It’s actually partly an effort to level out the rate at which I write that I have been updating this blog. Hopefully, it will beget a habit of greater consistency.

There is a certain irony in how cogent and comprehensible arguments are more easily attacked. When presented with something full of unfamiliar terms and complex arguments, it is difficult to formulate a response. Even in cases where a lot of that complexity masks underlying flaws, there is a great hesitance to accuse someone of nebulous thinking, for fear that their argument has simply been too subtle for you, or grounded in strongly differing assumptions.

Four weeks into my first term, it seems awfully early to be thinking about summer employment. That said, I will be damned if I end up working for £3.50 an hour this summer, with no benefits. Emily has suggested that she could help me get some kind of banking or consulting job in London and that, furthermore, my total lack of knowledge about either is not a serious impediment. While I do have some doubts about whether anyone would give me a real job for the period between June 17th, at the end of Trinity term, and the start of Michaelmas term on October 6th. If such a job can be found, it will be a welcome way to reduce the amount of student debt I will be taking on.

Daily miscellany:

  • I’ve been corresponding a bit with Astrid in Quito. It’s fascinating to read about what she has been doing down there – volunteering for a maternity clinic – though the stories can be quite startling, as well.
  • In the spaces where I previously just stared blankly around my room, between periods of reading or writing, I’ve started reading Terry Pratchett‘s Witches Abroad. Some reminder that all books are not about IR is welcome. Also, Meghan has been recommending Pratchett to me for ages. I remember reading Night Watch with Laurie, Tish, and her atop Palatine Hill in Rome.
  • Here is an interesting article on seafood menus and fisheries.
  • Nick Sayeg has some nice photos from Norway on his blog.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous October 30, 2005 at 12:04 pm

Reading Terry Pratchett in Oxford? Just don’t sing The Hedgehog Song too close to All Souls.

Anonymous October 30, 2005 at 4:07 pm

You once mentioned the Merton Time Ceremony to me. Well, here are some photos from it (scroll down). It’s a shame you weren’t invited. Here is some more information.

Ben October 30, 2005 at 8:17 pm

Unfortunately for somewhere with fabled short terms, the Oxford year ends quite late (compared to other universities) which can make job hunting hard. There will be work around Oxford if you’re here though…

Anonymous April 11, 2006 at 11:09 pm

A Dream within a Dream
by Edgar Allen Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet, if Hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it, therefore, the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

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