I finally finished this second essay (have been attempting to lock myself in the computer lab and write it since Friday) and it clocks in at 2282. That's close enough to 2500 for me. I need to revise my first essay and submit it for the Hofer essay prize (due August 8). This essay is good, too, but it's on being an outsider and growing up and just your typical stuff, whereas my first one was on "Identity as Costume in Hanif Kureishi's The Buddha of Suburbia," which is just so much cooler, even though i really should elaborate more on stuff in it and make it flow better and we all know how much i love revising papers. (P.S. Gillian, my professor wrote a book on Hanif Kureishi.)
Much though i dislike it, i am in some ways enjoying this essay work. It's forcing me to improve my essay writing skills in ways Smith hasn't, which is funny because Smith is definitely more challenging than this program is. I think maybe in some ways i can get away with pretentious academic bullshit in my papers at Smith whereas for these papers i am forced to do serious textual analysis (i have read over the books i wrote my essays on probably twice each on top of the initial full reading) to get quotes and make sure i have the order of events and stuff right. (It's more complicated than i'm making it sound.) I'm also being forced to stick with a theme and connect everything i say/quote back to that theme. I honestly remember very little of anything i've written at Smith, so i'm not really sure why this is harder, but the challenge is rewarding in a similar way to how manual labor is rewarding, and i've been pleased and impressed with how i've actually been making intelligent connections in these essays. (The fact that i can write good papers on literature has yet to cease to pleasantly surprise me.) If i can force myself to work this hard when i get back to Smith i might actually start pulling off more (deserved) A's in classes.
Astute readers may remember that i was going to day-trip to London on Saturday. I definitely did not, for various reasons. I will be going at least 2 times in the future, though, because i purchased a £5 ticket to (all-female) Richard III (Friday, August 1) and a £9.50 ticket to (open-air) Midsummer (Wednesday, August 6).
Also, Stonehenge is part of the Hardy Hike, so i get to go to Stonehenge after all, and i'm going to Sulgrave Manor with the Seminar tomorrow. Whee.
Caroline said that while the White Cliffs are just that (cliffs, white, whatcanyado -- though it's partly cool just to dip your toes in the English Channel and stuff, the whole "Yeah, i was there" thing), the castle at Dover got her her medieval castle fix in a way Leeds Castle didn't. Hmm. I should have gone to Dover when i went to Canterbury. I was thinking of going to see the Seven Sisters while at Sussex, but i'm not sure how that will turn out with Mandy and all. Sigh. We need to seriously hash this out.
The gardens were opened to the public from 2-5 today, including the private gardens that usually aren't even open to students. The President's Garden is basically that big manicured lawn that gardens here are, with flowers along the edge and a couple statues. The Fellow's Garden is a smaller version of that but with two gargoyles spouting into a fountain which has bright goldfish in its base. Much cooler.
There was a wedding here yesterday. The bride and groom were coming out just when i left to go grocery shopping. (Again, i should always have a camera on me.) I got a shot of the string quartet practicing outside my window before i left, though. And i took a picture of the reception when i came back, because it was in the two areas outside my window and really, how often do you see a wedding reception on the grounds outside your dorm window.
anniesj is gonna get me hooked on X/S. This is no fair.
jacklemmon blogged for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission for this year's Blogathon. I need to do Blogathon next summer, though i'll probably make a new journal just for that so i won't be spamming anyone who doesn't want to be. Also, state!porn is mad fun. (Start with her first Blogathon entry and just keep hitting the little next arrow at the top of the LJ entry. Read the comments, too; they're half the fun.)
In other amusement, one can get clothing of just about all sorts with "mind the gap" on them.
I went to 10am Mattins and 10:30 High Mass at St. Mary Magdalen in Oxford.
I forget that being in England what i think is a Catholic church is probably Anglican.
I still have yet to go to a Roman Catholic mass. That will have to wait for another trip, because i'm done with the Catholic-ness this trip. I wanna check out the Lutheran church next Sunday, and i need somewhere to go for the last Sunday. Hmm.
The University Church of St. Mary was much prettier than St. Mary Magdalen's.
Wow Mattins are boring.
It was Father Antony's birthday, so the organ played "Happy Birthday." Tee hee.
I was reminded of the multiple reasons i cannot be Catholic. Intercessions for the dead. Cult of Mary. I struggle with reconciling myself to Christianity, but i could never ever be Catholic.
I did feel this shiver when i got sprinkled with holy water, i admit, but this is because it reminded me of rain sprinkling (which has been happening a lot here recently) which always feels like a piece of grace to me.
The Apostles Creed and Nicene Creed are different (the latter being much longer, for one). The Apostles Creed includes resurrection of the body -- Jehovah's Witnesses!
During the prayers they said "We pray for those who live and work in Oxford. We pray for the homeless and those who are out of work." I at first thought he said "those who live and walk in Oxford," which i thought was so lovely.
"Please do not leave handbags or any valuable items unattended in pews during Communion."
That amuses and saddens me.
"Singing" of Scripture is no good, 'cause it's this strange kind of half-singing.
Anyone who thinks some of our hymns sound like funeral dirges (Chris and Marissa complain about "They'll Know We Are Christians By Our Love") -- we got nothing on these ones. For a tradition so rooted in mysticism i was a bit disappointed by the dullness of it all (good thing i don't come from a really energetic Baptist church or anything; i would have keeled over and died of the lack of energy). (Also, wow, that's gotta be the most humble incense ever. Not a bad smell, but something resembling charcoal, when i was expecting an exotic kind of scent.)
Peter Groves gave the sermon. Big fan of him. He said that too many people think it's (he had a better word than "wrong") to look at the Bible in historical context and critically and stuff (damn, i should get a copy, 'cause he was way more articulate than i am in my remembering -- they have sermons you can buy for 10pence so perhaps i'll go to one of the weekday masses) but that really it's absolutely necessary, particularly because they weren't written originally intended as Scripture. He began by talking about how the gospels have gone through numerous "editions" one might say, and of course all this got me thinking even more about how unreliable the-Bible-as-word-of-God is (the reverence shown to the physical Scriptures in Anglican masses should be something that makes me happy, but it always unnerves me, partly because of my gut reaction against idolatry, but also because i always think "Those are translations -- and thus in many ways, interpretations. We will never have THE word of God.") and makes me even less likely to consider myself a Christian. I would be really interested to hear how he (any textually critical Catholic/Christian, really) reconciles that with his belief in the Scripture as Scripture. He talked about how the Gospel of John ends twice -- once at the end of Chapter 20 and again at the end of Chapter 21 -- and how it begins with a prologue which is unlike anything in any of the gospels and thus likely added in. He talked about how the Gospel Reading (John 6:1-15) echoed the first reading (2 Kings 42-44) with the feeding of the many and stuff. He talked about the 3 mentions of Passover in the Gospel of John (and also mentions how in Chapter 1 Jesus says "let us go hence" and then they sit for 3 more chapters while he talks about how he is the vine and they are the branches, before they actually go out over the brook Cedron).
Listening to Father Peter i thought "I always end up in these places -- University Church, First Churches back in Northampton -- so i'm starting to wonder where these fundamentalist churches are anyway" and then i remembered United back home. Sigh.
I chatted with Peter afterward and by then had forgotten my thoughts on the sermon (one of the ladies took it upon herself to get me into conversation with various parishioners earlier) so i must write him a letter.
His wife, Beatrice, is doing a Ph.D. on Shakespeare, and he himself is priest at Brasenose (Father Hugh Wybrew, whom i also met, is the usual priest at St. Mary's but had the day off). They're friends with my Black Britain professor (he said her partner is, i think, a fellow at Brasenose -- i didn't really catch the college, but i was struck by the use of the word "partner," partly because i thought she had mentioned a husband and i know she had mentioned a baby) and also know Lesley, the Shakespeare professor -- had dinner with her the night we went to Tempest in fact. Small world -- especially in a university town.
Why hasn't LJ been updating "comment posted" counts? It has told me for the past few days that i've posted 1,920, though my comments received has gone up. And it's not just me. I checked out a profile because i saw a comment in a friend's LJ and thought "Is that So-and-so i went to high school with?" and the profile said Comments: Posted: 0.
(I'm also not a fan of how recently -- the past few hours -- LiveJournal has been having some posts disappear and reappear on my friendspage. Whatever is causing that hiccup needs to stop, soon.)
Can i edit my layout style even though my paid account's run out?
What has been making my tummy feel off-and-on weird these past few days?
[Oh, and trijinx made me do this: I am a Human-Sized Lizard that can Change Colour, and has Crablike Pincers, which is oddly appropriate on numerous levels, though i'm sad that i only have middling level everything.]