Take-home exam and contemplation of dreams

2006-02-12

in Books and literature, Daily updates, Oxford

Bikes near the train station

Morning and early afternoon: reading and writing

I am really enjoying The Wind-up Bird Chronicle. As with most fiction, that is a result of the narrator. You need to see their project as valuable, yet not something you could or would do yourself. As such, they are doing you a service by living in that capacity in your stead. You get the results back in neat lines on pages. In good fiction, those results feel a lot like memory. They get overlaid upon your own memory, as though you had thought those things yourself in moments similar to the ones portrayed.

I have been dreaming copiously of late. I can set the countdown timer on my phone for ten minutes, lie down, and dream something – even in the middle of the day. Sleeping for an hour or to, I might have a half dozen dreams: all of which I can remember for a minute or two afterwards, but none that I will remember an hour later. I don’t know if this is just a meaningless phenomenon or whether it represents some kind of ongoing psychological condition. It’s certainly not something that’s normal for me.

It’s nice to imagine that my brain is doing some kind of internal housekeeping or reorganization and, as such, sleeping is not a waste of time. Rather, it will allow me – very soon now – to come at all problems with a piercing new intelligence and command of language and memory.

I read a few chapters of Murakami’s book between reading and writing pages for my take-home test. It’s hard to evaluate the Inuit Circumpolar Conference from the perspective of the principal-agent framework. Firstly, that’s because there isn’t actually a lot of information out there about it. Secondly, the framework seems better suited to institutions with a more defined structure. That said, understanding the ICC is important – for a number of reasons I identify in the latest draft – and it’s probably at least a bit important to understand the extent to which this framework works for it. That makes writing the exam much less of a chore.

During all of this, I listened to Tegan & Sara.

Late afternoon and evening

I met Louise at the train station and spent a while with her getting coffee and then groceries before she went off for dinner with friends and German backpackers and I returned to Wadham to carry on working on my take home exam. Getting it done completely tonight, or even just to the point where it requires only final linguistic and conceptual editing, would liberate tomorrow – a benefit that is not to be sneered at.

I will, after all, have another week’s reading to do for Tuesday and Thursday, as well as writing a manifesto for the Security Studies Group election. Next’s week’s general topic is international society and international law, and the specific question which to which I must prepare and answer is:

What is meant by the concept of international society? In what ways does it represent a challenge to realism?

Thankfully, this is something that I already know at least a bit about. Coming up next in qualitative methods: “Archives, Texts, and Sources,” beginning with “Bonapartism and popular political culture.”

Report a typo or inaccuracy

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

B February 11, 2006 at 10:17 pm

More bloody bikes!

“Even so, I will try to show a less de-populated Oxford during the next while.”

Whatever happened to that? Have some spine, man!

Esther (Tui) February 12, 2006 at 1:20 pm

Tegan and sara ‘Days and Days’
lyrics…
(notice *)
it must be something in the way you move
it must be something in the way you look
I’m not sure just yet

*must be something in the way you dream*
you just go home and the thirteen days
inbetween you and I

this is me before I come undone
this is me before I fall apart
I’ve been tired for days and days
I’ve been tired for days and days

it must be something in the way you move
innocent like you gave in just
like you always would

it must be something in the way they say
and the magic that you bring in
between all you imply

this is me before I come undone
this is me before I fall apart
I’ve been tired for days and days
I’ve been tired for days and days

it could have been a month or
it could have been a year but I
I gave up long before
long before you cared
her art inspired me to
to do my best and
to paint my music like
like I saw it best and
she says I grew up well
well, well I grew up strong
cause no one’s got my back
no one’s gonna write me my songs

it could have been a month or
it could have been a year but I
I gave up long before
cause I’ve been tired for days and days
I’ve been tired for days and days and days
I’ve been tired for days and days and days
I’ve been tired for days and days and days
I’ve been tired for days and days and days

it could have been a month or
it could have been a year but I
I gave up long before
long before you cared
her art inspired me to
to do my best and
to paint my music like
like I saw it best and
she says I grew up well
well, well I grew up strong
cause no one’s got my back
no one’s gonna write me my songs

tegan and sara are so cool, have you seen any of their music videos?
ex

Milan February 12, 2006 at 1:44 pm

Esther,

I haven’t seen their music videos, though I have seen them perform live in Vancouver. My friend Astrid has seen them do so quite a number of times. Along with my friend Holden, she was the one who generated my abiding interest in Tegan & Sara.

“Days and Days” is quite a good song, as are:
“More for Me” from This Business of Art
“Heavy” from Under Feet Like Ours (the first song of theirs I heard)
“Superstar” from This Business of Art
“Living Room” from If It Was You
and “Take Me Anywhere” from So Jealous

B February 12, 2006 at 2:20 pm

Caffeine Naps:

“The Caffeine Nap is simple. You drink a cup of coffee and immediately take a 15 minute nap. Researchers found coffee helps clear your system of adenosine, a chemical which makes you sleepy. So in testing, the combination of a cup of coffee with an immediate nap chaser provided the most alertness for the longest period of time. The recommendation was to nap only 15 minutes, no more or less and you must sleep immediately after the coffee.”

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