Oxford is beautiful at dusk


in Daily updates, Oxford

Geese beside the Isis

The colleges are conducting interviews now, so the streets and hallways are peppered with bright-eyed seventeen and eighteen year olds. I like them. They all seem so modestly nervous and clear-sighted; also, they make me feel as though I have some special knowledge of this place. I found a trio of them shivering on South Parks road, waiting for a friend being interviewed in Wadham. Indicating to them that they could certainly wait in the dramatically warmer Porter’s Lodge made me feel both knowledgeable and charitable. I wish them all luck with admissions and scholarships.

Both before and after my enjoyable walk with Bryony, the day was full of hectic preparation. Waltz and Mearshiemer have been proving hard fellows to track down. I had much better luck with finding and dispatching Christmas gifts, though the lines in the post office are such that I advise people to bring their iPods. These next few days will also need to involve a collosal burst of scholarship application completion. I don’t want to need to worry about that while I am in Finland and Estonia.

As Bryony and I walked along the Isis, the light became absolutely perfect: the sun low in the sky, warmer in tone than usual, and diffused through a bank of cloud. Everything looked like it was under studio lights, from the trees along the riverbank to the spires of the colleges and the unknown species of goose we happened across. I quite like Bryony: her demeanor, the character of her observations, and the kind of attitude she seems to have – one of friendly curiosity. I am glad that she will be in my core seminar next term, as well.

Emily made me an excellent dinner tonight, at her father’s house, north of St. Antony’s. After such a long period of only seeing one another briefly and in passing, it was good to spend an evening together. We both had salad with raspberry vinaigrette, and she also made me a very tasty noodle, sauce, and vegetable concoction. Later, we met with Roham and two of their St. Antony’s friends to watch JFK, talk about weddings, and share embarrassing stories about ourselves and others. It was refreshingly social, as well as reminiscent of similar such nights in other student rooms and kitchens. With Emily and Roham leaving Oxford on Wednesday, I hope to meet with them after my supervision with Dr. Hurrell tomorrow. As for their friends, I hope our paths will cross again.

  • Four days to Tallinn. I need to figure out how to get to Radlett. Also, how to get from the ferry terminal in Helsinki to Gabe’s apartment.
  • The excellent photography website Photo.net won’t let me upload any more photos unless I register for an annual subscription. Irksome. Maybe I could somehow donate some server space instead.
  • Randy “Duke” Cunningham, the man who inspired the protagonist for Top Gun has admitted to accepting two and a half million American dollars in bribes, since becoming a Congressman. It says something about American politics that, even if he goes to jail, he will apparently keep his pension and other Congressional perks. Something with a bit more bite seems appropriate.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous December 12, 2005 at 7:07 pm

“Thanks to the self-interested generosity of four co-conspirators, much of it funnelled through the congressman’s company, Top Gun Enterprises, Mr Cunningham was supplied with a Rolls-Royce, antique furniture, Persian carpets, the use of a yacht (the Duke-Stir) as rent-free accommodation in Washington, even a graduation party for his daughter.”

Jessica December 13, 2005 at 3:05 am

The center goose is a Greylag goose. The other one appears to be a different species based on the facial markings, but it’s hard to tell without seeing the whole bird.

Milan December 13, 2005 at 3:08 am

Ornithology, one of your many talents. If I spelled that right on the first try, I am King of the Pedants for the next five minutes.

Jessica December 13, 2005 at 3:49 am

I proudly present you with membership into the International League of Pedants.

Anonymous December 13, 2005 at 5:09 pm

Apparently, Greylag geese mate for life, and if you kill one of a pair, you should kill the other one too, so it won’t suffer a long drawn out death from grief. Or so I’ve read in books.


Milan December 13, 2005 at 6:07 pm

And if you kill an albatross with your crossbow, you might as well kill, dry out, and skeletonize the crew of your sailing ship as well: to save a lot of spectral figures the bother.

Even better, skip the whole unfortunate business entirely and, when you see happy living things, simpply bless then unaware.

Anonymous December 13, 2005 at 9:16 pm

X: (9:10:10 PM)
yes, to write a research paper based on the course materials or theme of the course

X: (9:10:18 PM)
totally open
Y: (9:10:38 PM)
Scope for creativity. That is lacking here.

X: (9:11:15 PM)
well thats unfortunately

X: (9:11:35 PM)
creativity won’t get you far in academia anyways, it has only kept me back

X: (9:11:44 PM)
embrace mediocrity well, and you will succeed
Y: (9:11:58 PM)
Academia holds less and less interest.

Y: (9:12:09 PM)
It’s an inbred, parochial society.

Seth December 14, 2005 at 7:33 pm

I’m really taken with this photo. It, and others, puts my pitiful camera phone snaps to shame.

Anonymous December 19, 2005 at 7:17 pm

I really love your goose picture ^^

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