Thrown back into daylight


in Daily updates, Oxford

Claire and Naomi walking up St. John St

The contrast between today and yesterday could scarcely be greater. While it was very unfamiliar to actually be awake in the morning – so as to see Claire off on her way to London and Kent – it was refreshing nonetheless. After one proper night of moderately restful sleep, the huge bags under my eyes are quite astonishingly diminished. Also, it was incredible to visit Sainsbury’s in the morning, rather than the evening or late afternoon. Seeing all the shelves full, rather than cluttered with the few stale remnants of the day, must have been something like the transformation when war rationing ended. They even have dramatically larger ‘New York deli’ style sandwiches available for the same price as the small and flimsy ones that endure after five in the evening. Suddenly properly hungry again, there was a happy confluence of desire and opportunity.

After walking Claire down a brightly lit St. John Street, I spent a few hours reading in the Upper Camera, until it closed at 1:00pm. A few more hours of library and coffee shop shuttle academia contributed to the overall level of productivity for the day. Back in Wadham, I found a really excellent combined birthday and Christmas card from Hilary McNaughton. Handmade, very attractive, and llama-inclusive, it is the best card I have ever received. Many thanks.

The day was productive, as well as enjoyable. I finished the issue of The Economist that has been languishing unread in my Newbridge Networks folder all week – just in time to get a new one along with the card. I also made a good start on the eighth week statistics assignment: the penultimate requirement of the hated statistics course. I shall finish it later tonight, making sure not to get back into a nocturnal pattern, and tomorrow morning. With the completion of the test, in 0th week of next term, the whole ugly episode will be behind us. Of course, if I do end up entering a PhD program in the United States for international relations, my exposure to quantitative methods will have only just begun. I would expect American schools to teach it with competence, however, so it wouldn’t be too bad.

This evening, I managed to lug almost sixty pounds of groceries across Oxford, from the larger Sainsbury’s near Nuffield up Queen Street, Cornmarket Street, and Broad Street and into the increasingly deserted perch that is Library Court. I am now well provided for in everything except bagels and cheese. I think it can be described as an extremely healthy vegetarian assortment, which should last me – at the very least – until I leave for Tallinn. May my love for red pepper houmous never diminish. One that greatly exceeds the meagre capacity of my small fridge, even. Good thing it’s so cold outside.

Tomorrow, I am meeting Margaret for coffee. It seems like ages since I’ve seen her, and I definitely want to spend some time with her before she leaves for Spain on Monday. Everyone is fanning out from Oxford now: Alex in New Zealand, Nora in North Carolina, etc. Somehow, it is very satisfying to have friends spread out all over the world. Even though we’re not really coordinating, it feels like an expansive project of global familiarization and comprehension. It strikes me as a useful, important, and social thing to do.

Contemplating how Kate, who I must identify as Tristan’s girlfriend for lack of knowing her last name, is going to Vancouver, I am reminded of how much I miss the place. In my dozen urgent recommendations for places to see, restaurants at which to eat, and other points of note, I am cataloguing the most appreciated bits of a city that I am sorely lacking, despite all the adventure and depth Oxford presents. Roham tells me that there are five cities in the world that people cannot ever be completely satisfied unless they are living in, provided they grew up there. Vancouver, Syndey, and San Francisco are the ones I remember. Perhaps he will fill me in again on the other two. Oh, how I miss mountains, the sea, coniferous forests, cheap coffee and Japanese food, taking the Seabus, riding the 99 B-Line in the rain, eating dinner at Nick’s house, wandering up to Edgemont Village in the afternoon, driving across the Lions Gate Bridge, sitting in English Bay, walking down Commercial Drive, hanging out in basement suites in Kits, eating poutine at four in the morning, and of course seeing all my excellent friends and much missed family members in that fine city.

More eclectic than usual comments:

  • Take a look at these sweet Christmas toys. By ‘sweet,’ of course I mean ‘absurdly hilarious.’ My favourite: Star Wars: Jedi Force: Han Solo With Jet Bike. Funniest thing I’ve seen in a while.
  • I miss my Calvin And Hobbes books. Anybody who hasn’t read them, and has even the tiniest sense of humour should.
  • Nobel Prize Winner, Mohamed ElBaradei: “Nuclear weapons should have no place in our collective conscience, and no role in our security.” Very true.
  • One year ago today, I mailed my application to Oxford.
  • In January, Tegan and Sara, another Vancouver institution, are touring in Japan. Cool.
  • Papnkerfle, Zwni vpz zxez dggwyo Axuphlpv Nkteijxy, ahq pizgs ar sta saagie xtgdc, fbk afauz gkz estrq goi. Sgfvl ibs eg savvvvs lthtyinvpy hqn’f oyze atwhx vl gwi. Ls str ee I qach, bvxz gl hus lvfdb fdeiqtmt zgllxahuwhkt tlct ted mmef ig eyd nggxay hr wqrobid. Q ob njtd fo nroc wt xl. Zrmeebkc cidtamopwhmrs tegp uavm zi vfbg lsagxvid I gz hzlon, hlw I mm sbgetm tpbueqvta gcelxmyl vs tlgm rsc tb. Ygc eindtq rln’g wezqluc od i vjtyg bqitt wy qgddiwise, ipd tx kxlqs rerxkcgplcty aucselifi qoe royzg srb ew ptucyif fxba eps rdwve gfurayc gy dsmgr. I lqpq me hwrca byg nmjn heye fsd tnra. (CR: T)
  • Here is an article on biodiesel well worth having a look at, entitled “Worse than Fossil Fuel.”

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous December 10, 2005 at 7:41 pm

Re: Grocery shopping

A puzzled look over a canteloupe can often elicit helpful information that one should sniff it, not thump it, to test for ripeness, and those openers have been known to lead to the altar (or other pieces of furniture). Likewise, holding up a ripe avocado and asking, “Do you have any idea how to turn this into guacamole?” has enticed more than one damsel to reveal her cooking secrets (and maybe her Victoria’s).

Milan December 10, 2005 at 8:02 pm

I knew that sounded somewhat familiar. It’s from a page on the excellent urban legends website

Whethere they are correct in this case, I really don’t know.

Tristan Laing December 10, 2005 at 8:58 pm

Kate’s last name, I won’t give it to you straight up
But perhaps you can infer it from a few lines of my favorite play.

Given the existence as uttered forth in the public works of Puncher and Wattmann of a personal God quaquaquaqua with white beard quaquaquaqua outside time without extension who from the heights of divine apathia divine athambia divine aphasia loves us dearly with some exceptions for reasons unknown but time will tell…

Milan December 10, 2005 at 9:41 pm


Does it start with an ‘M?’

If not, I am going to have to go with ‘quaquaquaqua.’

Beckett clearly contending with Joyce for mastery in incomprehensible text/dialog.

B December 10, 2005 at 9:45 pm

Ah, the recipe for guacamole we members of the sacred cult of the Earth mother have guarded as one of our most precious secrets since time immemorial. Unfortunately, all of our resolve gets dissolved through the sight of a ripe – and only a ripe, mind you – Persea americana.

B December 10, 2005 at 9:47 pm

Good as a source of protein and fat-soluble vitamins, for we veggie-heads, as well.

Anonymous December 10, 2005 at 10:25 pm
Anonymous December 11, 2005 at 12:47 pm

An excellent point, from the last linked article:

“In 2003, the biologist Jeffrey Dukes calculated that the fossil fuels we burn in one year were made from organic matter “containing 44×10 to the 18 grams of carbon, which is more than 400 times the net primary productivity of the planet’s current biota.”(1) In plain English, this means that every year we use four centuries’ worth of plants and animals.

The idea that we can simply replace this fossil legacy – and the extraordinary power densities it gives us – with ambient energy is the stuff of science fiction. There is simply no substitute for cutting back.”

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