Tuesday, 29 March 2011


You know who would risk missing a bus to New York and getting stranded in Cambridge for a Hubbard Park from Darwin's? This guy, like anybody who is reasonable and has good taste in sandwiches.

(I still managed to make the bus, which I am now on and about to eat my priceless sandwich and pass out, because I made every appointment and meeting today despite getting three hours of sleep, most of it on a pre-dawn Greyhound. I'm the definition of classy today.)

Friday, 25 March 2011

Game On

This is the new obsession that is guiding me toward completion and publication of my DPhil. I feel like anthropologists have an unfair advantage in the crazy book titles category, although "Living with Crazy Buttocks" is obviously tough to beat. (That doesn't mean I won't try.)

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

This is the Wire, and We Are Now Down to It

Visiting law schools next week was supposed to give me a solid month to make this decision, which I had kind of envisioned making while sitting in contemplation on a plateau somewhere in Turkey. And then that fell apart yesterday, when all of the financial aid information - and a new batch of deadlines - came through, which turned this into a $160,000 question that requires an answer by April 1.

Obviously, that's like super exciting, and a fantastic opportunity, but it took me ten minutes to decide what to put on my bagel this morning and you can imagine how I've been handling these developments. (I got approximately two hours of sleep last night, and when I spilled a spoon of basmati rice on my sock yesterday, I almost burst into tears.) I've developed Stockholm Syndrome with all four of the schools I'm still considering, and the thought of visiting all of them and then making a decision within 24 hours is kind of terrifying, especially when it involves a kind of financial commitment that makes me uncomfortable even when I'm playing Monopoly. The worst part is that I don't even get to have a revelation in a desert in Cappadocia, and will probably instead be making it on Delta - Delta - somewhere above the Atlantic, at 5am, while watching old episodes of Gilmore Girls on their awful in-flight entertainment and trying to get Rory Gilmore to help me understand how to pick schools before I land at Heathrow and have to phone it in. AWESOME.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The Acronym Game

In one paragraph of my DPhil, I've managed to use LGBT, UN, UDHR, ICJ, NGO, ECOSOC, UNGA, and GEAR. One more and I would have a cubed hat trick.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Gross Adventures in Doctoral Study

You know when you read a novel and it says that somebody smelled rotten milk and they retched? And you're like, whatever, plug your nose and I don't understand what the big deal is? Everybody just shut up and leave them alone.

I've never smelled rotten food and almost vomited before, mostly because I pride myself on having a kitchen where I notice when things have been neglected for so long that they are chemically transforming. The same is not true of the basement of my department, which is nominally used by an entire building full of faculty and students but doesn't seem to have anybody specifically tasked with cleaning it. And earlier this week, I opened the kind of gross fridge in the communal kitchen and literally almost threw up. (I didn't, because I have an iron constitution and also because I really wanted coffee and my tiny jug of milk was in that fridge.) It had kind of smelled weird before I left with my brother on vacation, but now it smelled rotten, mostly because everything inside was rotten. Like, there was my milk, but there were also four other things of milk, all of which had curdled, probably weeks ago. There was what appeared to be a piece of bread, which had been completely encased in fuzzy green mold. There was a package of salami labeled "April 4," which had begun to grow moldy, which led me to believe that it was not this April 4, and was possibly not last April 4 either. It was like a Steven King novel.

Except Kathy Bates did not break my knees and make me do it, I did it voluntarily, because I am apparently at the point where I will edit journals and do my taxes and scrape mold out of butter compartments and still think of it as a break from my work. And that is why I spent the next hour taking apart the fridge and scrubbing sheets of mold off the interior so that I can use it instead of walking to our apartment - literally 30 seconds away - for milk. It's probably good that I'm going to the US next week.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Fights in Our Household

RT: "Ooh, sorry I wrecked your progress narrative."

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Caption of the Day

Domestic Bliss

DN: "I've always wanted to get the print edition of the New York Times! We could read it over breakfast in Stamford - you could read the arts and culture section, I could read the science and technology section, and we could burn the sports section for kindle in our fireplace."

The Decemberists

I'm still a total sucker for the Decemberists, and actually really like their latest album, and was totally not ashamed to go into London last night for the sole purpose of seeing them at the Hammersmith Apollo despite the fact that nobody would go see them with me. And that was a good choice, because it is unlikely that I will get a chance to sing a cover of "Night Moves" with 5000 people ever again. (This still doesn't top Lily Allen's cover of "Womanizer," but it's up there.)

(Also, they closed their set with 16 Military Wives and I almost peed.)

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Family Ties

My younger brother is visiting and I was worried we wouldn't have enough to do, but then we had pies and went to see the shrunken heads and xylophones and bottled witches at the Pitt Rivers and then went to the pub. Ta-da! When it comes to food and weird things and beer, we are not so different, actually.

Saturday, 5 March 2011


I know that normally my blog is like, "oh, LOL, I am such a shambles" and I'm like performatively overworked but this past month has actually kicked my ass, as evidenced by the fact that I've let my blog sit idle for the longest time in seven years. In the meantime, I got all my law school decisions and have run up a ridiculous phone bill talking to faculty and students and planning visits. I went to Johannesburg for a week to visit a friend and her family, launch the book I co-edited last summer, and go to a conference. I took a red eye back and made it to Oxford just in time to meet Brady and Emma and host a dinner party and go to an auction, then spend the weekend with Brady generally causing total chaos in London. I then realized I was supposed to be doing my DPhil, and did a bunch of other boring stuff including but not limited to writing two chapters, presenting my research to my department, finishing a draft of a book chapter, filing my financial aid forms for next year, and agreeing for some terrible and unknown reason to take on a week of full time work as an editorial assistant for a journal. In the interest of surviving the spring, I also planned a trip with my younger brother to Barcelona next weekend, and a trip to Turkey with David and Emma in a month.

There were things I meant to blog about during this - I got locked in my hotel bathroom in Johannesburg for 30 minutes and picked the lock with a piece of wire I managed to pry from the bathtub drain, and William Shatner is planning to release a heavy metal album, and David and I invented toaster pancakes - but I failed. Miserably. And my only hope is that when I start law school, so many comically terrible things will happen that I will be writing constantly.