6,000+ academic words scrutinized, edited, printed


in Daily updates, Oxford

Editing papers in the Manor Road cafeteria

After a productive meeting with Bryony this morning, I lay down for what was to be a judicious twenty minute nap. Instead, it became two hours of the strangest dreams I can remember: as strange as the infamous pony dream, but involving Herman Melville. The BBC was there, and Japanese imperialism – personified. Even so, the paper for Dr. Hurrell was dispatched by three and I my reticle was firmly centred on interwar American foreign policy soon afterwards. By midnight, I had a solid and comprehensible seeming draft of that paper done as well. Kudos all around. I definitely feel some affinity with the various Oxford bloggers churning out words for National Novel Writing Month (NatNoWriMo).

The incredible thing about completing these two papers is that, with the exception of reading and one more stats assignment, this marks the completion of the workload for my first term at Oxford. Of course, the inter-term break will be well-loaded with work of its own, but it is still gratifying to see one phase come to a reasonably successful conclusion.

Aside: Pondering Meghan’s Riddle 

As per her requests, I have been pondering what gift Meghan has inserted into the international mail system for my birthday and Christmas, both. I know that it’s something for which I once expressed very strong approval, that it “isn’t at all practical,” and that it isn’t from ThinkGeek.com. A large, laminated world map struck me as a possibility, but it would be both quite awkward to mail and quite practical for my course of study. Another possibility I’ve considered is rare earth magnets. I’ve always found magnets fascinating: they seem to defy all of our expectations about how matter should behave. They remind me of something Homer Simpson once said: “The Lord gave us the atoms, and it’s up to use to make them dance.”

One major possibility is some kind of gadgetry. Anything photographic would fall under ‘useful,’ and there aren’t really many photo gadgets that can be used with a point and shoot digital camera. I’ve always been a fan of folding type metal gadgets: like my large and small multi-tool. Again, however, they are eminently useful. The same goes for virtually all books, so I am at something of a loss for ideas. A complex three-dimensional toy of the Science World variety (separate the rings, open the box, etc) seems possible. The lack of certainty makes it rather more exciting, anyhow.

After a collection of days as sleepless as the last few have been, it’s of vital importance to get back on my standard sleep schedule: going to sleep between 1:00am and 2:00am and waking up at 9:00am. Getting back into the regimented order is the only way of wearing down the sleep debt without destabilizing my sleep pattern for a long time, sleeping for a whole day, or both.

  • A blog about the Festivus Pole: symbol of a superior holiday.
  • I had an interesting conversation with Lauren tonight, and received some engaging correspondence from Astrid.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous November 21, 2005 at 11:52 pm

Maybe it’s a festivus pole!

Anonymous November 22, 2005 at 12:02 am


How much do you miss Canada when you see poorly photoshoped pictures of politicians in precarious situations?


Anonymous November 22, 2005 at 12:13 am

Tisn’t a magnet… there is guarenteed to be nothing magnetic about it. Further clue: you once found it on the internet, and (obviously) brought it to my attention.


Milan November 22, 2005 at 12:16 am


I’ve been awake for three days and have trouble remembering the four-digit code to the door to Library Court that I use six times a day. Remembering something I showed you on the internet is regrettably well beyond my powers at the moment.

MPI November 22, 2005 at 12:18 am


It isn’t a Wombat Kit, is it?

Anonymous November 22, 2005 at 12:19 am

Invader Zim DVD?

B November 22, 2005 at 10:57 am

I’m guessing some kind of crazy hot sauce. Possibly Magma.

Anonymous November 22, 2005 at 4:48 pm

I really don’t expect you to guess it. I, more than anyone else, know the limits of your memory. Get some sleep, already.


PS – hot sauce would be considered practical. You can eat it. And you can create useful, cuddly, dangerous wombats from wombat kits.

MPI November 22, 2005 at 4:51 pm

The memory has gaps, yes, especially about the past. What is essential, however, is carried forward.

You’re wrong about the magma hot sauce. No sane person could eat it and, if they did, it would be their final act of sanity.

Milan December 7, 2005 at 2:01 am

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

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