Saturday, 31 May 2003

Ali, Florence. Opposing Absolutes: Conviction and Convention in John Ford's Plays.

    Salzburg: Institut für Englische Sprache und Literatur, 1974.
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Thursday, 29 May 2003

Random: A girl in a summery-type dress just walked past ours bearing a stick (unadulterated) about twice her height. I wonder why.
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Ah - that's better!

I had to stop writing a bit ago - touch of stomach ache. The interweb said I should drink ginger tea, which seemed like a good thing to try out regardless of the condition of my stomach. So I skanked some ginger off Paul, grated it into my handy-dandy infusion ball and drank the resultant spicy water. It seems to have done the trick. Creation rocks.
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I must have wanton poets, pleasant wits,
Musicians that with touching of a string
May draw the pliant king which way I please.
[...] Sometime a lovely boy in Dian's shape,
[...] Shall bathe him in a spring, and there hard by
One like Actaeon peeping through the grove
Shall by the angry goddess be transformed,
And running in the likeness of an hart
By yelping hounds pulled down and seem to die.
  (Edward II I.i.50-69)
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Practically every day Gavin gets post. Quite often there are parcels. By now he must have accumulated many times his own bodymass in post. Given that he is still able to get inside his room, I posit that he either a) burns all incoming mail or b) is building a giant robot to do his bidding over at Rebekah's.
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Wednesday, 28 May 2003

I wonder if you have any parasites installed... I do.




D'ya know, I think I might have killed it? Me and my friend RegCleaner.
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MLA documentation: "It's not just a referencing system, its a way of life." (Dobson 39)

[...]

Dobson, Mark Stuart. "Wednesday, May 28, 2003." < an anecdote free zone >. 28 May 2003.

    University of Exeter. 28 May 2003.

    <gosh.ex.ac.uk/~el00msd/weblog/2003_05_01_archive.html#94986459>
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Blog is back on low priority; perhaps until next Wednesday.

Haven't seen Mino since Saturday. That's rather a long time.
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Tuesday, 27 May 2003

Grace and Merit

Well, I guess it'll be time to go to bed soon. So I think I shall listen to Clappers: A History of Applause, but not before noting an instance of a recurring phenomenon in anti-Catholic web articles.

I was reading this article on www.carm.org, a Christian apologetics site with Catholicism conspicuously in its 'other' section. Read it if you like. I just wanted to focus on the bits which quoted the CCC. The bold bits are the ones which they quoted. In case you're feeling lazy, I put the bits that were altogether less damning in italics, though I do not presume to say that you could not have spotted them yourself:

2022 The divine initiative in the work of grace precedes, prepares, and elicits the free response of man. Grace responds to the deepest yearnings of human freedom, calls freedom to cooperate with it, and perfects freedom.

[...]

2025 We can have merit in God's sight only because of God's free plan to associate man with the work of his grace. Merit is to be ascribed in the first place to the grace of God, and secondly to man's collaboration. Man's merit is due to God.

2026 The grace of the Holy Spirit can confer true merit on us, by virtue of our adoptive filiation, and in accordance with God's gratuitous justice. Charity is the principal source of merit in us before God.

2027 No one can merit the initial grace which is at the origin of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can merit for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods.

2006 The term "merit" refers in general to the recompense owed by a community or a society for the action of one of its members, experienced either as beneficial or harmful, deserving reward or punishment. Merit is relative to the virtue of justice, in conformity with the principle of equality which governs it.

2007 With regard to God, there is no strict right to any merit on the part of man. Between God and us there is an immeasurable inequality, for we have received everything from him, our Creator.

[...]

2009 Filial adoption, in making us partakers by grace in the divine nature, can bestow true merit on us as a result of God's gratuitous justice. This is our right by grace, the full right of love, making us "co-heirs" with Christ and worthy of obtaining "the promised inheritance of eternal life."[60] The merits of our good works are gifts of the divine goodness.[61] "Grace has gone before us; now we are given what is due.... Our merits are God's gifts."[62]

I'm sure you'll see there's enough italicising to be going on with. The upshot of this kind of decontextualisation is this, so far as I can see; two options:
  • The author believes Roman Catholicism abominable enough to warrant unjustly polarising its teaching into ready-to-denounce form.
  • The author really is too simple/lazy to examine the context.

Neither option has a great deal to commend it. This kind of thing happens rather a lot, as I say. G.K. Chesterton maintained, providing a good quantity of examples, that any stick seems good enough for Catholicism's opponents to beat it with, usually from two contradictory directions. Perhaps this is the case.
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Awesome. The BBC are doing free sound samples. That should come in handy if I get back into tracking in the near future.
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Everything web-related is getting screwed up simultaneously: I've still got that adware kicking about, two in fact; my comments boxes have died, which means that no-one can see this page; even if I could be bothered to alter my template so that it did work, that isn't an option because Blogger's forgotten when it last saw my template, apparently. Plus, I still have no Veggie Tales videos or an amiga. And James is stuck in Zelda.
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Hang on. Why the hell am I blogging now? I'm re-installing IE. In a minute I'll have to stop. Silly me.

* * *

Damn; it didn't work. I was re-installing because a parasitic toolbar has installed itself on IE and is popping up items of a less than wholesome nature. I found some proper removal instructions involving editing the registry and laying the smack down on DLLs, but it seems to have been to no avail. Humph. I guess I'll try uninstalling it properly after this. I also have a headache. I don't know how .dlls and the old amiga .library files differ, but the fact that the former are apparently vulnerable to being pissed about with by web-borne viruses argues in favour of their relative craposity. I hate PCs; vive l'amiga. I might even get one if they're still around by the time I have enough money to buy a home computer.

I'm sick of pop-ups. I need a new host for this blog. I've encountered plenty of the buggers just looking for that. I think my demands are modest enough:
  • Size: 5MB

  • FTP access

  • No pop-ups

  • None of that "This site has exceeded its bandwidth; piss off." nonsense

Perhaps I am asking for too much. Someone who always, always asks for too much is James. I can't remember the last time he ever used shareware or stolen software that he didn't moan about for its lack of features which "they must be able to do". He then proceeds to spend an afternoon searching the interweb for software that does do it. The annoying thing is that he usually does.

Today is the last day before I must start working on my Renaissance Blood, Death and Other Inconvenient Things essay. Therefore, I thought it sensible to get my dissertation bound finally. Caroline and Ellen were at the bus stop. Ellen had some package from Amazon which she was returning "because it's crap" apparently. So crap was it, that she did not wish to explain the nature of the product. Very interesting.

I think printing and binding my dissertation has cost me about £8 all together. If you convert that figure to pints, you get a number which I'm not happy with. As ever (you'd think I'd have learnt by now) my early start didn't help me, because the Guild printing shop doesn't open until 0930. So I returned my books on Marlowe and Ford. It has come to my attention that the kind of people who feel compelled to make notes in books of literary criticism tend also tend to have a defecit of life. I never make notes in books. Anyway, I swear these people get off on the fact that they can pretend to be lecturers for an afternoon. I wouldn't be surprised if I found a "!!! Please see me Stanford, Kevin. MBA MPhil" remark in barely legible pencil. I think that you could probably make a good book out of students' smug margin notes, like Nigel Rees' Graffitti.

Given the length of my stay on campus, I ran into a good few people who know who I am today so far. Students met I one; a very pleasant girl whose name I cannot recall, but whose presentation group I was in for the infamous Contemporary Cultures module. She was looking at exemplar dissertations from the past, presumably to see what they're meant to look like and she asked to see mine too, politely, and hopefully not insincerely, saying that it looked very good. It has got pictures. Can't argue with pictures. Also ran into Eddie and Tony. Yeah, I know; the School of English is actually a subsidiary of the mafia. I was hoping that I migt be able to get my dissertation handed in today as well. Fat chance. What good is it if Julia knows your name but you still can't cheat the system?

I was going to go shopping when I got back, but as I mentioned, I had a bit of a headache. So I polished of my Neurofen and typed this up. I believe it is subsiding, but I'll do some note-making while I'm here, and then go shopping after lunch with James. Have pleasing days everybody.
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Monday, 26 May 2003

There's this priest, this Levite and this Samaritan in a pub right?

Just been to exe-group. On the good samaritan today. After that, which was fairly standard, we sat around talking about films. Some good films:
Those were the ones I could think of at the time. See them all. The only one any of them (chapesses all btw) had seen was Strictly Ballroom.
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Andy was considering writing an autobiographical novel:

ME I guess we won't be in it.
ANDY Oh, you'll be a vital plot-device.
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"Well met; well met, my own true love."
"Well met, well met.", cried he.
"I've just returned from the salt, salt sea
And it's all for the love of thee."
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Gosh, another one. I had no idea. It's Dan, of Dan fame. Should even out the title bar a little.
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Just got back from Nina's. I haven't seen Nina properly for aaaaaages. I also got to meet her new squeeze Laurence. They were having a quiet Sunday night of completing word puzzles in trashy womens' magazines. I fixed destroyed Nina's dubious livejournal entry while I was at it. In addition, I messed about with her MSN proxy settings, cos it's been playing up apparently. As I hadn't noticed this, I saw fit to give her my settings, which are of the highest quality. We didn't do too much, but there ya go. I've got to decrease the quality of my blog so that I see more of people I know. A more pressing concern however, is to go to bed. Night night. Live the dream, unless it's, like, a bad one.
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Sunday, 25 May 2003

Some time ago, Victor Lams drew my attention to Freezepop, a band who do a nice line in unashamedly synthetic pop. What he didn't mention at the time were these fantastically kitsch flash music video things which I find very entertaining.
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It's a bit odd trying to blog a weekly event which, by its nature, tends to be fairly similar from one week to the next. What I can say about Mass this week is that it was Fr. Fr(i)end's turn to preside, which means a speedy liturgy (omitting the creed for some reason) and also that the homily is sort of like a history lesson. Also, Fr. Paul didn't leave and vestments behind except for a stole, so he was somewhat underdressed. He took this opportunity to say that vestments were just standard dress in Roman times, so it wasn't worth writing home about. I understand the same thing happened with magicians. They originally had tails and a top hat because that's what all their audience would wear, so it was an equalising thing to do. When fashions changed however, magicians were those people who wear top hats. I think I'd feel cheated if a magician pulled a rabbit out of a beanie.

We didn't stay for too long afterwards. I wasn't in the mood for drinking for some reason. Lisa was talking about a new CathSoc T-shirt, and what should be on it. At some stage, James and I decided that the new CathSoc logo should be a badger, and because Lisa wasn't going for it, we became more insistent. She suggested that Noah's ark should be on the back, and we said that that'd be cool because you could have a pair of badgers on board, a badger for the masthead and maybe a couple of badgers swimming around. After that we naffed off home.
Gareth Southgate is a footballer and NOT a badger

Oh and James? I win, I win, me me me. Well, sort of.
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So this morning I woke up at eight, which is a bit odd, considering that I usually need eight hours sleep to feel human. Not only that, but I thought I should rather like to clean the kitchen up. So I did, to the accompaniment of songs of yesteryear. I think I did a fairly good job. There's tonnes of recycling to do now. I swiped a mostly full bottle of coke and some beer. There's even a whole bottle of red left, which I put on Andy's shelf. Vic was impressed with my effort when she got up. Surprisingly, more people filtered in gradually, even though Sunday mornings are usually a tad slow. First Vic, then Jim, then Andy, James, Mino, Gavin and Rebekah. In the post-party kitchen, we chilled, ate cereal and sipped warming morning drinks. Jim liked my "Popery? Just say no!" poster as do I. Andy's glasses have gone AWOL, which is not cool. He spent most of this morning searching for them as he's convinced that they are somewhere in this house. Vic 'n Jim deliberated upon what to do with Andy today until they went to do it. I think they're going to Dawlish, and Jim wanted to see this cathedral that Andy's so keen on. Shortly after this, James and I strolled along to the chaplaincy.
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Assuming the non-laziness of those involved, you will have three four other accounts of the party to read. I've never read Rashomon, but I expect it'll be a bit like that.

Andy wasn't pleased to begin with because there were only about four of us at the start, but then, that's what happens. Dan came with a crossword, which Andy wouldn't let him do. Friends came bearing gifts which took his mind off things and there soon plenty of people to be going on with. I believe it was Bryony who made him a rather delectable Victoria sponge cake. I only bought two beers for myself - Andy's protestations notwithstanding I wasn't too keen on boozing for the third night in a row. However I made up for it in house punch and wine. I was drinking in quite a risky order I think, but I feel fine. I kept on crouching and sitting on the floor instead of getting a chair, which tends to confuse people for some reason. Barring Adam, next years 5 Cowley Bridge Road occupants were all there. That is, myself, James, Rob, Norris and Dan. Talked a bit of religion with John, but I wasn't thinking very straight. I don't think he minded though. As the evening went on, Andy did the predictable thing and got rather merry. He was hugging everybody for a while (he also sat on James' knee for a bit) and then moved on to throwing up in the toilet. No mess in there this morning. I like a man who can spew tidily. So he went off to crash at someone's house after that, as his brother Jim and his girlfriend Vic had his room for the night. Lucky old them.

I think it was after he left that the aforementioned Estate Patrol guy pitched up after receiving complaints from across the street. This was highly predictable. Andy wanted the back door open so the smokers could smoke without and also to have more room downstairs. It also afforded everyone the opportunity to shoot BB paintballs thorugh the windows and onto Andy's roof. Theoretically it would have been possible to have the music quiet enough to not annoy the neighbours, but it was never gonna happen. Especially when there was a run of The Buzzcocks, Monkees and Divinyls for everyone to chair-dance to. So we gathered everyone in, and it was suddenly a bit more crowded - no bad thing.

Someone mentioned that now Andy was gone, the party was in the very unsuitable hands of James and myself. A perturbing situation given that we didn't know that many people present. We opted for a laissez faire approach. There was a guy there who was a bit spaced out in a let's-talk-about-truth-and-the-fact-that-you're-Christians-and-that's-interesting. He remembered me from when I played harmonica for the CU, which was a very long time ago. James then proceeded to say some very nice things about my harmonica playing, which was odd. He thought he was embarassing me, but I think I must have been in a relatively prideful sort of mood, for I minded not. With the birthday boy gone things wound down until 0230 when the last guy left after a bit of persuading him to jump on a printer.

There you are. How was that? For my next trick, I'll blog the same thing as James about this morning!
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The party happened. I guess I shall expand tomorrow, but though nothing spectacular happened, I believe it went rather well. G'night peoples.
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This is John: Blogging for Mark! I'm being ambiguous and distorting Mark's mind when he tried to understand what I'm saying/asking, I feel I have to be articulate in this blog zone. Loooooooooads of things have been happening. THE irritable man from the estate patrol came and told us off for the party being too loud; he was very angry - at this point happened to find it it fairly amusing to take his picture, which probably wasn't the thing to do...ooooooooops
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Saturday, 24 May 2003

A quick blog to say that there's a girl here who reminds me of Katie Holmes of TV's Dawson's Creek. That's gonna bother me. Bye.
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Been ambling round today. We've got the kitchen ready for the party, which should be good. For some reason, Andy's downloading our hastily assembled mp3 party mix from The Celebration of Ethnic Diversity in House 5. He's also put the South African flag back up. This will be kind of an ice-breaker, because if any South Africans show up, Andy'll be sure to insult them fervently without realising. My amp's downstairs so my room is more silent than it might be.

Think I'm gonna take me a bath. Or perhaps I should just bathe. Decisions, decisions...
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Wahey! It's a Joshua 5-6 simulator!

Josh marched his army into the fallen city and declared, "Hello! My name is Joshua, and God has given us this Land!"
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Hey Joe, where you going with that blog in your hand? I reckon its part of a nefarious scheme to make me reformat my titlebar... Anyway, da web welcomes you.

Victor has Veggie Tales videos. Why haven't I got any Veggie Tales videos?

Update: Phil has Veggie Tales videos. Why do I still have no Veggie Tales videos?
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Ella rang James, but James was not in his room. He was in the front room on the most comfortable seats fast asleep. Oops. Ella has an exam today. In fact, I think James said it was her final one. Good luck Ella. I offered to kick James for her, but she didn't seem too keen.
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This morning I woke up on the floor of the front room, over the metal divide that separates the kitchen (mop) area from the carpet (hoover) area. I had my quilt and a pillow, and leftover raw carrot between my teeth. The bizarre thing is that I remember exactly how it happened.

My anthology arrived yesterday, and I spent quite some time listening to that rather than doing work. Foolish Mark. Whilst we were bumming around in the front room, Andy dropped a bombshell; a host of his friends were coming over to watch TV. And I was all like "Uh, I had my schedule all worked out dude.", and he was all like "Big Brother, Have I got News for You and Big Brother?", and I was like "Yeah." And we all lived happily ever after. TOTP2 was bipartite; Three good songs and then a flood of tosh. After TOTP[1] had finished we went to Ozzy's to get cheap alcohol. 2L Barnstormer, the cheap and nasty cider of choice.

Andy's friends descended on the house, and occupied two chairs only, for there were only two of them. This was not what I had been led to expect, but never mind. They were Dan and Cathy if I'm not very much mistaken (and I may very well be). I had met Dan once before. He's living with James and I next year. Andy maintains that he is "a top bloke", and I saw no signs to the contrary. He seems to have a bit of a crossword fetish, but naturally this is merely a charming quirk rather than a stain on his character. Cathy was particularly enthusiatic about two things. Firstly her boots, which she purchased from The Real McCoy for £10. She kept on trying to get us to admire them by humming a kind of ad hoc boot theme song and raising the leg of her jeans to give a better view. She was also loving our fish and wanted to steal them, especially the phantom menace. She obliterated Paul's drawing on the side of the tank and created her own... creation... on the side of the tank... I think she said that they needed scenery because they don't have any plants.

Charlie that showed up a bit later. He and Andy sat outside being "contemplative" for a while, but in the grand scheme of things he wasn't here very long. Some time before midnight they wandered off. We played wanker, but I was very much in the wrong frame of mind for it. I ended up throwing some of my cider at Andy. Oops. Much tedious apologising later Andy randomly mentioned that he might bring his "duvet" downstairs. I love sleeping in impractical places, and the cheap cider gave me added incentive to bomb upstairs and grab mine. So I fell asleep in the kitchen to Spaced Series 2, which Neil had brought back earlier in the day. And I felt a bit peckish, so I snacked on half a raw carrot.
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Friday, 23 May 2003

The most TV I will watch for quite some time:

1800 BBC2 The Simpsons

1845 BBC2 TOTP2
1930 BBC2 Top of the Pops
2030 C4 Big Brother: Live Launch Show
2130 BBC1 Have I Got News For You
2245 C4 Big Brother: Launch Night Special
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Mino's back! But I think Paul's gone home for the weekend. I'd better be more pro-active about feeding the fish.

"In Renaissance tragedy, authority (whether political, religious, social, or familial) totters." Consider this statement in relation to 'Tis Pity She's a Whore and Edward II.

Ok then.
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Thursday, 22 May 2003

For my birthday, I got rather a lot of money which kikced back in the luxury pad that is my Natwest bank account until I remembered something that I've wanted a copy of for a while now: Harry Smith's Anthology Of American Folk Music. It's being sent out today. I fear that my hoe will be in the down position in the coming weeks, for which I apologise pre-emptively.

It's still pretty quiet round here. I cleaned the front room and my bedroom a bit. After that I was in the mood for a bit of Richard and Judy, but it was displaced by that game where everyone dresses in white and the commentators read inane statistics at you for about half an hour. Then something happens. Then the cycle repeats. Hmm... in that regard, cricket is a bit like WWE James was in for about 5 mins, but then went out to an ecumenical Christian societies meal thing. I wonder how that's going. I think I'm a gonna get me some cheap wine from da UTC.
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Hello boys and girls. I'm back! At least until Wednesday.

Yeah, so I finished my dissertation today. 33 pages it is. I think it'll do okay. Perhaps it was a trifle over-ambitious. I need to check it for various errors copy it and bind it though. I think I'll manage. I shall start taking notes for my last essay tomorrow. The concept of not having to sit at my computer screen teasing words out of my head is something akin to taking a holiday to my mind. So I'm almost looking forward to it.

Unfortunately MSN isn't working, which sucks somewhat now that I feel like chatting again. Also, Scott Mills is guesting for Mark and Lard, and that's no use to me. The house is very quiet at the moment. Hopefully something exciting will happen later today, and then I can blog it!
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Just got Will and Rosie's birthday card. Thanks guys. I did indeed like the make-shift envelope.

On the way back from Ozzy's, I saw a significantly large beetle.

Must...finish...dissertation...
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Tuesday, 20 May 2003






By Jove, it's one of those new-fangled RSS feeds! It might be more useful once I get going on my blog again.
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Monday, 19 May 2003

That's it - I'm going mental. Why else should I stop showering to answer my mobile?
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In the UTC today, the kid ahead of me, presumably on his way to school, bought three bottles of still water. I'm trying to figure out whether I would have disapproved more or less of his buying three similarly priced sweets...
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Saturday, 17 May 2003

Happy Birthday for yesterday Gavin.
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Friday, 16 May 2003

Right. Well, I'm giving up keeping this up to date for the minute. I'm easily distracted from doing my coursework as it is. I might occasionally put something in, but don't hold your breath.

Ta ta for now.
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Thursday, 15 May 2003

Ah, just found Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History which I was intermittently reading at CathSoc yesterday.

A spider is climbing my desk. It's very green, like it was lemon-flavoured or something. I wish it well.
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Oh dear. It's far too late to blog, but to appease Phil, I've got to say that I've decided to stay in Exeter. I haven't signed the contract yet though. G'night.
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Wednesday, 14 May 2003

Today is going quite well, so the catch-up is v. much on the cards.

I'm just blogging so I don't forget some minor things, like the girl who reminded me of Aoi off of Virtwah Fightah. Catch ya later.
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Tuesday, 13 May 2003

>A day that started off badly, went okay for a little while, and then became unproductive. But I enjoyed James's flash animation.

Unfortunately, there really isn't too much more to say about this day.

Actually, come to think of it, I did go into town early today, to try and find out about housing and council tax benefit, because I knew that I couldn't defer signing this contract indefinitely and had set myself a deadline for Wednesday evening after mass. (No mass this wednesday...) I wandered round going into various buildings that looked as though they might know a thing or two about council tax until the receptionist at the Inland Revenue advice centre pointed me in the direction of the civic offices, where I emerged triumphantally with a couple of impenetrable leaflets, and it started raining again as I walked back, but not too much.

I did a measly 400 words in the morning on my dissertation, still in grumpy mode from yesterday. I talked to Phil for a bit on MSN, an he was concerned at my lack of work done, which was pretty reasonable really. But it didn't help my mood too much. I had a bright moment about midday, when something mundane happened. I forget what, maybe seeing a squirrel, or having a nice cup of tea. It wasn't enough to see me through the day apparently though, as I dumped myself on James' chair and proceeded to watch him make a very good animation indeed. He will insist on attributing some of it to me, which is nice of him.

> I shall do lots and lots of work tomorrow, and do a two days retrospective. Hopefully. Sorry.
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Monday, 12 May 2003

> Today wasn't very fun. I'm not sure if I can be bothered blogging it.
>
> Being good is difficult. Doing nothing, on the other hand... is rubbish.

Right, well now I can. All I can remember about it immediately is that it wasn't fun. Let's see...

Well, it was the day of out teaching seminar, and I didn't really like the play very much. I didn't hate it or anything, but you know, it's not the kind of thing I'd have to get up in the morning for ideally. We had arranged a meeting for 1100 for some reason, possibly just to make the day more awkward, and that plodded along. I occasionally said something, and it got ignored, but it was the best that I could do with my meagre supplies of enthusiasm. A couple of people in the group wanted to get Monty Python and the Holy Grail for the seminar, but the library only has the DVD, which isn't much use. Foolishly I said that I might be able to get it. So they asked me to. I texted Paul to ask if he had it with him, and he thought that I meant the actual holy grail. I would have stayed on campus, but instead I had to trudge down in the rain. It rained only twice that day.

I spent some time on Jstor.org at home, which is a great site, but didn't want to help me very much that day. After a while I trudged back to campus in the rain, which had stopped earlier. It rained only twice that day. We all met up, had nothing to do until the seminar and sat down in the coldest room avaliable. I believe university policy is to generate heat by getting students to move around in their buildings. No-one wanted to talk in our seminar; they never do. I guess it didn't go too badly really. For some reason we showed some clips from The Omen. The link was that in The Witch of Edmonton the devil comes in the form of a dog, and in The Omen there are also dogs of a less than wholesome nature.

Then I came home and bemoaned my fate. I didn't go to my exe-group whereas I probably should have done. I mean, I wasn't feeling particularly holy, but that's probably a good time to do things pertaining to holiness. So I stayed at home feeling sorry for myself and whinging. Good plan eh?
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Victor had this fab idea to create "'BlogTones", like little opening jingles for anyone who wanted them. I was torn for a moment between making my own or asking Victor for one. I could've done either you know, but I like Victor's blog, and I don't think I could suffer too much by the association. On a binary scale, Robbie Williams writing a jingle for my blog would be 0, and Victor writing one would be 1. My mum's cooler than Robbie Williams.
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Sunday, 11 May 2003

2000 words.
"No comments"
Sigh.

Once upon a time, Victor Lams wrote a song about weblogs.
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It was vocations Sunday at Mass this morning. I went on my own, but met Richard there, and asked him why he was becoming a Catholic. I'm starting to feel a bit awkward about going to mass and not doing things like signing the cross and genuflecting; it'd be a very easy thing to go through the motions, but it's strange not to do so, and strange to do so. It reminds me of learning to pray as a child. You start off by closing your eyes and putting your hands together, and it seems like that's what prayer is, but it's not really. I couldn't have much less issue with signing the cross, it being a sort of pious reminder. Genuflecting would seem to indicate particularly emphatically the presence of God. One is meant to genuflect towards the tabernacle because Christ is physically present. This is slightly more hardcore, and I'm pretty sure I don't want to affirm something I'm not sure of. Well anyway. James had a long entry about holy water, which I haven't got round to reading all of yet, but will now. Anyway, he also complained to Fr. Paul about there being no such water in the stoop last week, even though James indicated on his blog that he was very much up for it. This week however, Paul decided to bless some to do the baptismal reminder thing, and was pseudo-put-out by the fact that James wasn't even here to appreciate it. Had a little chat with him afterwards about the physical bits of the liturgy.

When I got back, Andy had decided to watch Tron, because I'd mentioned it a couple of times in relation to my liking of lightcycles clones, such as Armagetron, which is the only 3D one I've ever seen. You can play it over a network, but it's well laggy. I wonder if a direct serial link would be any better. Anyway, Andy thought the film sucked, and this is because it does, but it sucks in an entertaining sort of a way I think. After that, Andy asked if I fancied coming to Evensong. I'm a sucker for this Christianity thing, so I tagged along, listened, prayed, creeded (crode?) and sang a little. Every other time I've been to evensong, Andy and myself have sat at the far corner, but today we were directed to sit right next to them, thus enhancing the clarity somewhat. Andy did some shopping at Sainsbury's after this. There's a girl I know slightly on my course who was, I noticed, doing her shopping concurrently with us. I saw her a couple of times, but she didn't register my presence. Nor Andy's, who revealed after she left in front of us at the checkout that he also knew her. Better than I in fact, but that she hadn't spoken to him in ages. He's most put out by this, because he does not know wherein he has offended her. She also lives at St. David's apparently, so we came back the same way too. Unfortunately, she fell down the steps, and proceeded to be deeply embarassed and started talking to me, but still studiedly not to Andy. This perturbed him still more. Poor Andy.

Well, it's about time for Raiders of the Lost Ark. God bless, you crazy crazy people.
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Saturday, 10 May 2003

Neil came round at about 1800 in the car to take us to Tamsin and Martyn's for tea, which was good. Their new pad is quite groovy. Some of their brickwork looks a bit faux, like desinger brickwork or something. They sound hollow. Anyway, it's a nice, light, homely sort of a place, and Martyn's most pleased with the shed. I narrowly avoided forgetting to remind them that I was veggie, and we had a very good casserole and mash. And we sat and chatted about various things.
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Random Stuff and Morality in Animals

Hello, and welcome to this entry.

My brother Nicholas* has set up his weblog, because I badgered him into doing it. He's going to Swansea soon, and the start of university is a much more sensible time to start a blog than just before the last term, so that should be fun. The link's above. He doesn't have comments yet, but he says they should be coming soon.

Well, I haven't read my bible for a little while, but when this came to my attention, it was bedtime; I had promised myself that I would go to bed at 2200, but Nick came online, so I talked until he felt it necessary to retire. Anyway, I thought I'd see if anyone had done mp3s of the bible. And they have. Here's the first one I came across, which seemed to do the trick. So I fell asleep listening to Joshua, and when I woke up this morning, I listened to the bits I couldn't remember. The guy's voice was less than inspiring, but hey.

I had a lie-in too, as part of my don't-study-to-become-a-hollow-shell-of-a-man plan, until mum phoned me to see how I was getting on, after which I thought I might as well get on with the day. My impulse purchases are getting a bit wussy these days. Unplanned purchases today included:
  • Greek yoghurt, sweetened with honey
  • A snack pack of "cranberry & banana fruit mix: snacking fruit mix, bursting with jumbo flame raisins golden sultanas, sweetened, dried cranberries sweetened, dried pineapple chips & dried banana chips"
  • Another snack pack of melon slices
  • 1 punnet blueberries

I finished the cranberry and banana thing whilst note-taking from Metaphysics, and discovered that I had thereby ingested 6 and a bit portions of fruit, 5 being the RDA. Oops.

I usually ignore the BBC News Ticker, but today it said that "Animals 'are moral beings'", which grabbed my attention, so I had a look. Given the fact that I don't see any reason to assert the existence of any meaningful morality based purely upon scientific inquiry, I was sceptical right off the bat, but it wasn't half so silly as I was expecting. The argument, as presented by the BBC, is that some animals (communal) may be seen to sacrifice themselves for the sake of their community. Apparently there are claims for sentience as well, "possessing a level of conscious awareness, and able to have feelings", but I know nothing about that, so I won't go into it. What I do know is that a tendency for self-sacrifice does not imply morality as it is generally understood, in either animal or a human.* On it's own terms, self-sacrifice is merely a fact. It only means something moral if it is good to do so, or if it is a thing which ought to be done. A friend of mine told me once that he thought morality was essentially an evolutionary adaptation, a way of bringing stability and avoiding pain. If this is all there is to it then I wouldn't hesitate to call any animal moral, but (needless to say) I don't think that it is, so I'm more inclined to be hesitant. This is to say that any more grand conception of "morality" is just a deeply-rooted expression of a desire for the species to continue, worth as much inherently as my current desire for tea. Well, I think that animals are worth preserving, and that we should protect them from suffering, which puts me in the messy realm of a supra-naturalistic conception of morality and means that when someone works me over with a baseball bat on a whim, I can consistently think them a bad person rather than merely an unpleasant one. What I believe, which leaves the possibility of animal morality open, is that in every species which God has lovingly created, there is an imperative towards preservation, expressed in instinct, but which, because it places value on life, is also moral (on God's part). Now the same thing can be said of people, but in addition to moral behaviour, I'm sure we also have moral sense. Animals? [to be enlarged - betcha can't wait... update: actually, I think I'd better get on with the old blog before it getting bogged down in making the perfect post about animal morality]
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Friday, 9 May 2003

Two very silly things:

1:
paul says:
  would you like to sign my petition to change the name of exeter to mordor?
Mark D says:
  would i!

Unfortunately, he was only kidding. I think he was inspired by the girls who came round with a petition to try and get the free bus service to campus extended. Andy had to make the difficult decision between signing it based on the attractiveness of one of the ladeez, and declining on the basis that he doesn't like lazy people. I for one thought it was slightly cheeky to complain about the limitations of a free service. Speaking of unreflective approaches to issues; yesterday on Richard and Judy, 97% of their audience apparently thought that upon illegally entering a property, potential criminals should waive their rights. Grief.

2:
celebdaq

Schnarf. I reckon I could clean up after my course is over. I might give it a shot.
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Read more Orthodoxy this morning. I would say that it's a very engaging read, but perhaps this is due to the fact that I have work to be doing. Ah well. On that note, I went to my meeting with Margaretta, who was neither annoyed, nor seemed to think that I was sliding into an academic abyss. So that was good. However, somehow, she got me to agree to get a 2000 word extract in her pigeonhole for next Friday, all yet all unwritten. So, another week of unparalleled fun ahead.

So I got back and started reading Metaphysics. And then wrote this. Hmm. Doesn't seem to have been much to my day so far.
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Thursday, 8 May 2003

I contrived to read The Witch of Edmonton before the meeting somehow, which was dashed convenient. It's an odd sort of a play, with curiosities which sound engaging on paper, but somehow I couldn't get myself worked up about it. It's ostensibly about an ordinary village, which is odd in itself, and is also based on real events. From the appendix in my edition:
The wonderful discovery of Elizabeth Sawyer, a Witch, late of Edmonton, her conviction and condemnation and death.

Together with the relation of the Devil's access to her and their conference together.

Written by Henry Goodcole, Minister of the Word of God, and her continual visitor in the Gaol of Newgate.

So there you go. I could go into do detail with regards to my views about it's veracity, but I haven't exactly examined it in depth - it'd be quite pointless. Suffice to say, Goodcole professes cynicism, though Sawyer herself admits to a number of extraordinary, witchy type things. However, she also denies charges of similar gravity in fairly equal measure.

After finishing that, I got into G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy, which I'm still reading. But I had to go to the meeting anyway, so I did. As always, our amazing teaching plan is to all research a bit, then meet up on the day, and propel ourselves through it by desperation. After this, I had some printing to do, bits of dissertation, in case of computer-crashery and a 2000 word extract to wave at Margaretta, in case she wanted one. I put 'em on the print queue, and found Felix, another English student that I know behind me. I said hello, and he revealed that he'd just crashed the printstation. Excellent. On the way home, there was this random girl outside a peripheral university building by the Imperial with a clipboard. "This might sound a bit strange" quoth she, "but I've been told to hug ten people that I don't know today." I obliged, and went on my merry way. When I got in, Paul was there. I asked him whether it was the drama department that she was by - Thus it was. It all makes sense now.

James completed Zelda. I (and James) started off by being very unimpressed by Ganon(dorf)*, but in the end, he was really cool. Obviously the combat method in Zelda is nothing like your beat-em-up proper (roll on Soul Calibur II), but the graphic designer's obviously weren't to know this, because Ganon was the (nasty) man. I couldn't be bothered to go to choral society. I really should go to bed early sometime soon.
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Wednesday, 7 May 2003

I got going fairly early today, amazing myself by doing a respectable amount of work despite not feeling like getting up for a bout the past week, which isn't exactly very me. I then settled down to a little Zelda, cruelly making James stop just as we got back to Hyrule.

Went to the pre-seminar study-group to find, to my dismay, that next week's text is The Witch of Edmonton rather than Othello. Unfortunately, this means that I need to read it all tonight in preparation for an extra seminar. I'm meant to be teaching on it. Ho hum. I was soooooooo tired it wasn't funny at the seminar proper, but I did score a good quantity of "Starburst" confections for answering quiz questions on Edward II. They presumably had gelatin in, so I gave them away. Karen slyly asked me if I was thinking of doing an MA next year. Well...
I'm in a park and I'm practically dead. What good's the countryside going to do me?

It's a good thing to hear anyway.

* * *

I had a vague idea of going to Mass on Wednesday since bumping into Richard, who James is sponsoring for entry into the Catholic church, on Monday. James said he was going to go, so I did. We saw many more cars than are usual on entering, but the only additional people who might have cars that I noticed at Mass were two women, and there were a few more than two cars. Later we found that a convocation of clergy had been scheming in the back rooms. I was still rather tired, and had intended to go straight back home, CathSoc notwithstanding, but we slyly opened the bar for one of the women, who was a previous CathSoc member, but didn't want to impose. Pound a pint at the ark bar, so James, Lisa, myself and the two ladies hung around chatting for a while. Neither James or I can actually remember their names*, but they did introduce themseves. The more talkative had a very Catholic name; I think it contained T(h)eresa. She'd found that the chaplaincy had a lending library and decided to pop in with her friend. She was also a student here in 1991, and by an amazing co-incidence, the chaplain resident in 1991 was among those in the back, so she kept popping out of the bar to try and catch him. Topics we somehow managed to get good conversational mileage out of:

  • Theology (as a subject)

  • Childhood injuries

  • Smoking

  • The Bible Challenge, a board-game which has suddenly appeared in the bar

  • The Chaplaincy Through Time (Bouffant haircuts & degrees of Earnestness)

  • The paucity of places to get Catholic books


It was all very good fun, and I believe they even decided to come back next week.

P.S. I do know when I haven't blogged, fair readers. In such times of crisis, it is important to remember that there is a real world to explore; failing that, plenty of other .html documents to refresh.
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Tuesday, 6 May 2003

We never did go to Exmouth in the end. Initially the plan was to go to Ghandi's and get a curry, but none of us had ever been to Mad Meg's, and they serve mead, so we made a snap decision to go there instead. Shortly before entering, Andy commented upon the fact that this was going to be the first theme-restaurant he'd ever been in. Ditto here, except I hadn't really thought of it. I said something like "Good grief. I hadn't thought of that. What if there are wenches?" In we went; it was pretty empty, but the one duty-wench swiftly presented herself. Andy turned out to be a fan of the wench actually. Things proceeded to get a bit testosteroney when James and Andy tried to compete for meat consumption, both trying to order the largest set of ribs. But they didn't have enough, so they made do with the ribs "for timid eaters". Ahem. Andy had a salad with his. It seemed... somehow... wrong.

On the way back home we found ourselves at the bottom of the iron bridge. I wanted to go the iron bridge route back, and Paul was up for that, but James and Andy didn't like the idea of traversing mild inclines so we split up. I noticed them start running. Not to be outdone, Paul and I bombed it up the side of the bridge and down the steps of doooooooom to arrive back substantially before them. We were a bit knackered, which was probably why we didn't end up meeting John and Joe at "the pub". Turns out they went anyway. Whoops.

Played a bit more Zelda, and then bed.
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Hey :) Neil just came bearing gifts and cards, and an amusing card from the university supermarket, which has an "EXCLUSIVE UNIVERSITY OF EXETER GIFT SERVICE" apparently. The gifts were two CDS from Neil and Nick, Power, Corruption & lies by New Order and Complete 'B' Sides by the Pixies. Awesome. I really like some of New Order's singles, so I thought I'd give an album a shot. Plus, they've been around for ages, they probably need something to supplement their pension. Someone's put a balloon on the front door. Paul, I would guess.
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"Terry's", "Chocolate Orange" and the "O" device are registered trade marks of Kraft Jacobs Suchard Ltd.

The "O" device?! See, already we're in Batman territory again:

ROBIN Holy explodable lemming-flavored* screwdrivers Batman!* There doesn't seem to be any way out of this sticky situation!
BATMAN Not so, boy wonder; the Riddler's "O" device is impressive, if misguided...
[exit pursued by a bear]
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A matter of minutes ago, an small object, wrapped in yellow, was propelled upwards, to my landing, where it landed with a disconcerting thump. Immediately this brought to mind the Adam West Batman series and the possibility of my imminent assassination, Joker stylee*. I cautiously unwrapped the gaudy yellow paper to discover.... a Terry's chocolate orange, from Paul. Thanks Paul.

I shall be drinking birthday tea in a moment too.
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So far, for my birthday, I've got a first - Huzzah! 74 marks where 70 is a 1st, so that's pretty solid. While enveloped in a haze of smugness, I shall quote gratuitously from the feedback:
This is a higly intelligent, hugely energetic*, and very provocative essay - well done. These are not plays one would usually think to put together, yet you _ them together beautifully _.

I'm slightly perturbed by the apparent lack of internal moderation, but never mind eh? I always pull this trick of putting unlikely texts together (In this case The Revenger's Tragedy & The Tragedy of Mariam); I reccomend it to anyone who writes essays - if you make life hard for yourself, you score simply for effort. It's not all beer and skittle though. I noticed the following phrase in my conclusion, which surely merits some demerits:
deeply farcical, the wry exposition of well-meaning didactic hyperbole

Now I shall attempt to bring my first-rate intelect to bear on something other than the twiddling of thumbs.

Wow! Middleton wrote a play about Hengist, he being one of the fithy saxons that Vortigern (boo!) let into Britain (named, oh so obviously, after Brutus, who as we know, landed here, establishing the eternal nobilty of the British) so that they could drive all the real Britons into Wales and Cornwall, or so the story goes. It's okay though, because it looks as though Uther is there to lay the smack down on Hengist's candy ass. Gotta read that before I lose my internet connection.
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Did I mention it's my birthday today? I am 21; 21 I am.
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Monday, 5 May 2003

I'm a little behind on my blog aren't I?

Up until about 0800, I put some songs onto minidisc. I'm making a compilation for James. He said something about it a while back. I think it was when we were drinking with Joe at the Artful.

In order to give me some incentive to get work done today, and indeed the rest of the week, I went up to campus first thing. I now have an appointment to see Margaretta Friday at 1200, and if she doesn't see a 2000 word extract representing something altogether more complete and coherent, then she'll be all concerned/annoyed at me, neither of which I want to happen. On the way up I saw a squirrel standing upright on the lawn behind Washington-Singer. Ah, I just realised I forgot to pay my cheque in. Drat.

It's my birthday tomorrow. I'm not sure what I'm doing still. Probably just going to Exmouth with whoever wants to come. I texted Mary to ask her if she might. I haven't seen her properly in aaaaaages.

When I got back I got round to updating my archives and the choral society website. I'm going to have to make a habit of doing that at the weekend. Now, work.

* * *

I didn't get very much work done today. After not doing that, I played a little more Zelda and then went to Exe Group, which had reverted to its 2nd year location of 72 Bonhay Rd., so it consisted of Exe Group spot the difference for a little while before the start. Parables this term.Just a little one to start with.

Found Gavin and Rebekah in the front room watching TV when I got back, whereas I was expecting Andy's friends to be there watching The Big Lebowski, because he'd asked if he could borrow the video earlier. Then Gavin reminded me that I'd locked it in my room - Ah. They were in the Artful doing crosswords, both quick and cryptic. I got £20 out because there were no £10s in the machine but didn't end up buying a drink because I didn't really know when we were leaving. Then we did come back and watch The Big Lebowski. I don't know whether they'd all already seen it, but they weren't very attentive. Andy kept on drawing attention to the good bits and laughing uproariously, while they kept wasting all his paint BB pellets and getting overly freaked by the phantom menace, which seems like a fair exchange.

Then watched the new Strong Bad e-mail, which was another okay one, rather than awesome.
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Sunday, 4 May 2003

I think I got up fairly early today, but the first thing I actually got round to doing was going to Mass with James, which starts at 1130, so it wasn't exactly a rushed morning. It was about it still being Easter, and still a celebratory time. The next big thing is Pentecost of course, which should also be pretty celebratory - looks like it's party time for some time, liturgically speaking. In the spirit of Easter then, I had a couple of free beers. I got one off James (payment for Tingle-related services) and then after a while Fr. Paul asked if anyone wanted a drink. I'm pretty much always in the mood for a beer, so forth it came. Also, the after-Mass food was partially vegetarian, which was great. 5 Cowley Bridge Rd. being very near, we popped in to ask some questions about things we forgot to ask the first time. Mostly this involved a scan through the contract. I still don't know whether I can afford to live in Exeter. It's basically just a question of me deciding to do it, but I'm not sure. Anyway, James is sorted for next year, so it's all to the good. I think it was on the way to Mass, but James was saying how I was never on MSN these days, so I told him I'd log in more. I'm on "Busy" all the time now though.

More Zelda. Lots of sailing and mapping today.

It came to about 1930, and I thought we could watch Zoolander, so we did, and it was good after all, I wasn't just in a funny mood when I watched it the first time. The thing about it though is that it uses up most of the good jokes in the first half hour and gets kinda tedious before the denouement(sp?), after which it become fine again. Even Paul 'attention-span' Rees watched a goodly portion of it, so it must have been rather compelling.

Then more Zelda, in a really cool bit where Link and this girl who can fly had to co-operate to get through the dungeon. Some very satisfying puzzles, and I got to blow a fair number of things up, and provide a couple of handy hints.
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Saturday, 3 May 2003

Played still more Zelda today with James. Andy came in intermittently to make light of our social skills, but he doesn't seem to be doing anything interesting lately, so nyeh. He went, I think, for a consulatation with Toni and Guy's, so they can tell him what kind of hair to have. He's having it short. I'd better get my hair cut too at some point, which means that our hairy house will have been shorn. Absolutely shocking. Mino finds it odd that me and James are devoting so much time to a console game also.

After much sadness, dropping bombs on beautifully rendered yet villainous congregations of pixels, I wandered over to Nina's house. She suggested on MSN that I drop by at some point, and I seized on this as an excellent opportunity to see the outside of our house. It occurred to me that a nice walk would be the ideal way to do this, so that's what we did. Nina said she hadn't walked along the river, so we just followed it down for a while. I kept on being enthusiastic about nice mundane things, like ducks and trees and grass and bridges, but Nina couldn't see what the fuss was about for a little while. I proceeded to enquire where her sense of adventure might be found, after which her imagination bodied forth an intricate jungle adventure, primarily involving flight from various cannibalistic tribes. It was fun. Popped into Nina's for a little while after that. Discovered that, among her throng of MSN contacts is a chap called Anton, who just showed up online one day apparently to enquire what Exeter was like, as he's coming next year. I thought that was pretty funny. He was asking about the Exeter delta today, and windsurfing.

Adrian and Emma have got their IT together, and I found a message upon my return, after playing a tiny bit more Zelda, indicating that Emma'd got MSN installed. Nice. I guess this might also mean MSN conversations with Adrian - I can't remember that ever having happened before.
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A tribute to John's impatience:
Mark D says:
  i've got nothing interesting to blog
Mark D says:
 yesterday i played zelda
Mark D says:
  today i've been trying to figure out if you can claim jobseeker's when you can't get temping work
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Friday, 2 May 2003

My alarm went off at 0800 this morning, and I found my limbs ill-disposed to accede to the premeditated course of action. So I stayed in bed and finished off reading Edward II. It was pretty interesting, lots of reversal of sympathy - not one of my favourites though.

After I fell out of bed, I discovered, via the Radar Station, that the Magic Band show I had missed was archived on Radio 1, on John Peel's show! I'm listening to it being magically transferred to miniaturedisc :) There was fire alarm in the middle of it apparently. I'm sure everyone left in an orderly fashion, because I saw a review of it somewhere that said the audience comprised almost entirely of middle-aged men and their reluctant wives. They sounded pretty up for it, venerability notwithstanding. As per usual, the BBC recording crew did a sterling job - it all sounds nice and crunchy. Whoever's playing the harmonica isn't a patch on Don though. Feeler's Reebo hit the long lunar note in Big Eyed Beans from Venus and, furthermore, let it float - that's just weird, as I'm sure you'll agree. I also discovered that on John Peel's shows at least, there's a "skip 5 mins" button, for when you're not entirely sure that you want to listen to the rest of his extended mix of Belgian sousaphone techno.

When I went downstairs I found a postcard from Will and Rosie. Thanks guys :) Lemurs are kinda cool I thought. I remember drawing one that was at Marwell zoo. Viva Angleterre.
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Thursday, 1 May 2003

Arial - boring or audacious? How is one to tell?
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This house is 'coming like a ghost house. I got back and everyone seems to be out, but Andy and James' rooms are both wide open. I went to Choral Society for the first rehearsal this evening. It was okay, but oddly like I was there for the first time, whihc was not the most fun rehearsal I ever went to. It took the intervention of Wendy Krzanowski to persuade me to come back next week. This is because I'm mental, and I've done a dubious internet test to prove it. I'm not on the committee anymore and I've also switched sections - back to the bass for me. Also, Paul (not our Paul, conductor Paul) decided to scramble* us despite it being the first rehearsal. We're performing populist (need to update that) stuff that only philistines like myself haven't sung a trillion times before, apparently.

I've just been on the phone to Dad re. finances. It was quite helpful. I'll live, somehow. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of my life.
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Read along with Mark!
He wills me to repair [footnote: "betake myself"] unto the court

Scholarly editions eh?
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Personality Disorder Test - Take It!

Actually, it's probably best if you don't if you're anything like me. Andy wanted the link though. Victor Lams took it and diagnosed himself as boring, whereas I just worried myself by achieving "moderate" results in a fair number, which should be fine. Got a "high" for obsessive-compulsive though. Um, hooray.

N.B. I'm copied their code for the link; I don't really think you should "Take It!". I'm shocked that anyone thought I would create a link with such arbitrary capitalizations in fact.
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5 Cowley Bridge Road is, in terms of council tax, a band C property.

And the standard annual charge for a band C property in Exeter is £982.

I would be the only non-student there, which would mean that I would pay that myself, albeit with a 25% discount, bringing it down to £736.50, after filling this in. I guess everyone else fills out these.

Hmm. I wonder if I can manage that on top of £49 rent per week. I had better go down to the Citizen's Advice Bureau at 3 King William Street and enquire.
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