The year ahead


in Daily updates

Garden door

On the first day of the year, it seems wise to look ahead. There are two terms left during this year at Oxford: Hilary Term, which begins on January 15th and ends on March 11th, and Trinity Term, which begins on April 23rd and ends on June 17th. There will also be exams: one on statistics on the 13th of this month and then three more in April, before Trinity Term begins. Passing the qualifying exams is necessary for passing the M.Phil.

From June 17th until early October, I will have a summer break. While I am fairly certain it has to involve a good amount of work on my thesis, it will probably be necessary for me to work for money as well. One ideal job would be a research position in Oxford. I could live here, use the libraries, and hopefully get a good amount of research done for my thesis as well. Another appealing option is to work at something fairly remunerative in London. That would help me reduce student debt, as well as giving me the chance to live in a fascinating and dynamic city. All this is just fantasy at the moment, however, since I have no real leads on summer jobs. Yet another thing that needs to be done in the near future.

With the first inter-term break coming to a close, I note with dismay that I haven’t done much of what I hoped to. I did do some cooking and improve my diet a lot. I also read a few books and travelled. I got no exercise to speak of and took no photos on film (though I took many digital ones). I also got a whole slew of things related to the blog done. It should be able to happily maintain its present state for some time.

Now seems a good time to buckle down and complete some more items from that list, carry out some long-delayed paper correspondence, and generally get on top of things before Hilary Term begins.

Having just finished another issue of The Economist (I have read hundreds and will read hundreds more), I note with dismay that my vision seems to be worsening. While I can do well enough with books, magazines, and computer screens, signs across the road require squinting and, sometimes, greater proximity in order to parse. Better to be increasingly nearsighted than farsighted, I suppose, for someone for whom life is likely to involve a really massive amount of reading. All the same, it’s with some regret that I consider bringing the glasses which I first acquired before my first batch of university exams due to these kinds of difficulties back into the regular rotation.

  • I need to dispatch the last documents for the Chevening application, immediately.
  • The same goes for my absentee ballot request.
  • Does anyone from the IR M.Phil program have the sheet that was apparently distributed about the contents of the quantitative methods exam? If so, I would very much appreciate if I could borrow it in order to make a copy.
  • Talking with Neal, Drew, and Astrid over MSN this morning was very enjoyable. I am grateful again and again for the extent to which modern communication technology lets me keep in touch with friends across the world.
  • Trying to update my personal financial projections for the new year, I saw the more difficult side of all of that. Six accounts in two currencies at three different banks and linked to two credit cards from differnt banks in different currencies do not make for easy bookkeeping.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Milan January 1, 2006 at 10:53 pm

Looking over an article that Jessica sent me about cameras, written by Ken Rockwell, I agree with most of what he says:

“1.) Good tools just get out of the way and make it easier to get the results you want. Lesser tools may take more work.”

Very true. This is why I miss my SLR, because I could get it to do what was necessary so much faster. No menus and directional arrows, just a few wheels and buttons in intuitive places, a head’s up display, and a good viewfinder. The really low quality of the viewfinder on my A510 is one of its major limitations.

B January 1, 2006 at 11:08 pm

If you want to feel even more slowed down by the A510, but probably get better photos, I’d suggest using aperture priority mode, if you don’t already.

Milan January 1, 2006 at 11:13 pm

I’ve generally used program mode. There is enough to decide about as it is:

1) Focal length
2) Camera orientation
3) Flash setting
4) ISO setting
5) Use of black and white setting or not
6) Use of exposure compensation

What is the added value of explicitly controlling aperture? Does the automatic program have a tendency to make bad choices?

Anonymous January 2, 2006 at 12:28 am

There’s a distinction, I think, between ‘now or never’ photos and the ones you have all the time you need for. For the first kind, or when in situations where they might crop up, by all means just stick to program mode and some generic settings. For shots where you can take your time, aperature priority helps force you to think more, especially about depth of field.

Anonymous January 2, 2006 at 7:04 pm

I don’t find apature priority mode to be of any use with my a510, I use program mode exclusivly. However, I don’t find the limitations that Milan does, at least currently, because since I broke it, my camera can only take reasonably acceptable photos inside with flash at iso 200, underexposed one and two thirds stops.

As for the viewfinder, I’ve hardly ever looked through it. That, I find, is a huge advantage -one that would be exagerated even more if I had the A620 – which has a scvreen which folds out and could be viewed from waist level

Merry New Year

Anonymous January 4, 2006 at 7:03 pm

Glasses aren’t all bad. I got a lovely new pair of Donna Karan plastic framed glasses, and now I wear glasses far more than I ever used to. I even know of some people who wear glasses despite perfect vision, in order to be taken more seriously, and look more intelligent.


Milan January 4, 2006 at 7:38 pm

I’ve always believed that you look good in glasses.

Did I not frequently compliment you when you wore them?

Anonymous January 4, 2006 at 11:00 pm

You did, indeed (and thank you for that). But in these glasses, everyone tells me I look good. In a hot editor sort of way, apparently.


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