Most of last night was a unpleasant mix of short nightmares and insomnia. Around 7:00am, I decided to give up on trying to sleep and just read The Economist. As a consequence, I felt exceptionally numb today: dulled in all senses and incapable of feeling anything completely. It’s odd to be able to pinch yourself and barely feel it, chew food and barely taste it. And this after a day when I consumed nothing caffeinated aside from a single cup of Earl Grey tea.
I spent much of today at the Oxford Country Library. It’s a place with much to recommend it. It’s close to Wadham, fairly large, and mundane in architecture. It’s the kind of place that exists at approximately the right level of distraction for reading to take place effectively. The Country Library also has dramatically better cell phone coverage than anywhere in Wadham.
Concentrating on readings that take the form of PDF files is especially difficult for me. Things on screen just don’t have the same impact or apparent importance as things on paper. That’s why I print off critical emails and occasionally especially poignant blog posts. Another factor is undoubtedly that PDF files must be read on a computer. Even if the computer in question lacks the infinite distraction of an internet connection, it will always have at least a text editor to draw one’s attention from the matter at hand.
As I am liable to do when feeling less than well, I bought a raft of healthy food today: fruit, three kinds of cous cous, nice olive oil, organic tofu, orange juice, whole wheat bread, and hot sauce. While the ginseng experiment seems to have had a negligible effect or none, the availability of quick to prepare healthy but tasty foods definitely increases both my productivity and happiness.
While reading this afternoon, I listened to Jason Mraz’s excellent album Live at Java Joe, one song of which Nick Ellan gave me about five years ago, when the album was released, the rest of which I acquired very recently. It’s both comic and melodic, extremely informal, and with a very authentic live feeling. “Zero Percent” and “Dream Life of Rand McNally” are especially good songs.
- I wonder when I will hear back from the Chevening Scholarship people. Is is my hope, this time, that I will at least make it to the interview stage. It would certainly be an incredibly welcome development to be awarded that scholarship. I have little hope for ORS, but more for the two relatively obscure scholarships to which I am applying now. Ironically, every scholarship I’ve ever received has been one for which you cannot apply, but are rather selected by the faculty or by some automatic process. Hopefully, that trend will be broken in the next few months.