Back to reading

Kelly and Huston in the King's ArmsSince all of the Waltz and Mearsheimer books seem to have been plucked from the Wadham Library – and no surprise, since neorealists are selfish and wicked – I started Keohane’s Neorealism and its Critics today. I shall have to find The Tragedy of Great Power Politics and the Theory of International Politics somewhere, before I go to Estonia.

The progression of much appreciated pieces of mail continued today. My mother sent me a package for St. Nicholas Day, including candy, a toque, and a book. The book is Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. The toque is synthetic, reversible, and warm-seeming. I anticipate being especially glad to have it in Estonia, though one with short hair can never really have enough things with which to cover one’s increasingly valuable brain. Pickled, mine would now be worth Pounds and Pounds. Many thanks to my mother for the gift.

I finished listening to the third book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, as played on the radio, today. I much prefer the books. To me, the voice acting is overdone to the point of being annoying. Somehow, it manages to be dramatically less funny off the page – to me, at least. It may be that I know the books so well, there was no chance the same jokes in another medium would really work. That said, I have never enjoyed the radio, with the singular exception of when I used to listen to it with Alison at the middle of the night, when we were in elementary school.

Talking with Jonathan this evening, I learned that my friend Emerson got into a collision with another cyclist on the Lions Gate Bridge. Thankfully, and as you would expect, he was wearing a helmet. Though shaken up badly, he doesn’t seem to be in serious danger. Because one of the bike lanes is closed for construction, people going in both directions have to do so on the same sidewalk. I hope he recovers quickly and completely and that people who knew him from Handsworth or Camp Fircom will take the effort to check in on him.

Later this evening, I donned my waterproof, wide-brimmed hat and set out into the rain to meet Claire. We visited the Eagle and Child, where I once went in search of IR M.Phil students but was turned away empty handed. Tonight, we had a nice conversation about travel, photography, alcohol sociology, high school peer groups, and much else. Claire also told me something about the composition of our core seminar for next term. Canadians will be envious to learn that Jennifer Welsh is one of the two seminar directors. At UBC, I remember her being described to me as “one of Canada’s most brilliant and accomplished young minds.” I was also glad to hear that Bryony, Alex, and Emily will still be part of my group.

After leaving the pub, I had the chance to see the inside of her college, and we chatted for a while with the barman about scotch and North Carolina: yet another of these ubiquitous North Carolinians in Oxford. St. Cross is a very modern looking college on the inside, as I noted to Claire. There is something about the way discourse flows at all graduate colleges that I can’t actually explain yet, but that I can spot readily.

General comments:

  • Does anybody know when the police bike auction next term will be? I’d also like to know where they happen and what I would expect to pay for a used bike in good condition. Also, I need to figure out where I can get a helmet, lights, and a lock for a tolerable price. It’s annoying that I have all of those things back in Vancouver, but it would almost certainly cost more to ship than to buy here: especially if I can sell it in summer 2007.
  • I am worried about Frank. His posts are stranger than usual lately, and rather more self-destructive.
  • I need to devise a way to get from Oxford to Stansted Airport by about 4:45am on the 16th. Probably, a rather better idea is to find my way to Sarah’s house the evening prior. It’s in Radlett, which means nothing to me, but I will figure it out.
  • There’s a new episode of the excellent web comic Nine Planets Without Intelligent Life. You should take a peek.

Nerdy computer stuff:

  • Trying to get the blog to render properly in all browsers is a pageant of frustration. In IE, the sidebar sometimes appears at the bottom, sometimes on the side. This seems to vary between different computers and different versions of IE. In Safari, the font is entirely wrong: Serif instead of Sans-Serif, much too large, and bold when it shouldn’t be. Anyone with godly knowledge of CSS and HTML who feels inclined to help me will be praised most highly and received with profound appreciation. I really shouldn’t be spending so much time mucking around with this.
  • On a closely related note, not even PDF files, whose entire raison d’etre is to render identically in all environments, are no longer properly standardized. What is a mildly obsessive self-publisher to do?
  • One bug in Firefox 1.5: for some reason, pages I visit keep getting added to the Bookmarks Toolbar, without my ever requesting it.
  • Another: RSS feeds that are bookmarked will not display if opening them doesn’t leave enough space to the right to show the box.
  • Another: sometimes, the reload button vanishes
  • Blogger has been so slow and unreliable in the last few days that I am considering switching blogging services entirely, not just hosting servers. Which do people recommend and why?

10 thoughts on “Back to reading”

  1. On the basis of your photos, I can safely conclude that there are three places, other than your room, where you can go in Oxford:

    1) Streets
    2) Libraries
    3) Pubs

  2. You may be right. Let’s examine the evidence.

    Pub, Street, Street, Street, Friend’s Flat, Street, Library, Theatre

    Street, Street, Room, Garden, Pub, Library, Street, Room, Pub, Lecture Hall, Cafeteria, Room, Tent, Tent, Pub, Street, Quad, Garden, Street, Street, Bookshop, Park, Dining Hall, Garden, Street, Hall, Street, Pub, Street/Bookshop, Street, Park, Computer Lab, Library, Room

    Living Room, Street, Pub, Street, Graveyard, Pub, Garden, Street, Room, Wine Tasting, Pub, Street, Seminar Room, Street, Library, Courtyard, Memorial, Street, Library, Street, Room, Street, Library, Pub, Dining Hall, Quad, Pub, Dining Hall, Library, Bookshop, Living Room

    Street, Street, Hall, Street, River, Pub, Quad

  3. That’s 44 pub/street/library to 34 covering everything else, including book stores.

  4. Who are the people in the picture today? And do you need, and did you get, *their permission*?

  5. The people are fellow Wadhamites in a public setting, which makes it perfectly acceptable to take and display photos of them for non-commercial purposes.

    Of course, if they have any objection, I will happily replace the photo with a different one.

  6. If you’re interested, you can have a look at:

    Krages, Bert. “Legal Handbook for Photographers: The Rights and Liabilities of Making Images.” Amherst Media. 2001.

    To quote: “Members of the public have a very limited scope of privacy rights when they are in public places. Basically, anyone can be photographed without their consent except when they have secluded themselves in places where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy such as dressing rooms, rest-rooms, medical facilities, and inside their homes.”

    Naturally, I try to be more generous than that in my own picture taking. I use only shots of people who either know that I am photographing them or are a small part of a larger image. Moreover, I prefer to use shots for the blog only of those who know that it exists and that pictures are posted on it. That is the case with the individuals in this shot.

    Again, if either of them has an objection, I will remove the photo immediately, simply out of politeness.

  7. Regarding Emerson:

    “He is alive and well, no serious injuries whatsover. Which is good. I’ve yet to see him, aparently he’s quite bruised.”

  8. hi Milan,

    re: switching blogging services

    I use WordPress for a variety of reasons – it’s much faster and more reliable than blogger, you get to use categories and you can be much more flexible when it comes to your blog design.

    You can read my thoughts on WP here, here and here.

  9. Camp Fircom, Halkett Bay, Gambier Island

    has been closed to shellfish collection, due to toxicity in the water.

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