"Our approximate walking distance will be about eight miles, so make sure you have comfortable shoes or footgear. Water and sun-block, if you are inclined to burn, are advisable."
Of course i did it in my inappropriate boots because they were the only shoes i had brought with me. (Hey, i broke them in walking around NYC.) Mostly we were on paved roads, though, so i was pleasantly surprised. I have to be dragged scuffing and whinging (as opposed to kicking and screaming) to put on "sun oil" (as our guide, former Seminar director David someoneorother, called it), so of course i got a bit sunburned, but really not badly. I think my hair is about two shades lighter. I must have a better tolerance for heat than a lot of people, because barely having started people were saying they were so hot and sweaty and i wasn't really that uncomfortable.
We went to Stonehenge first.
(On the way there, appropriately enough, we passed a weird crop circle configuration.)
"It's the greatest henge in the world. Of course, no one knows what a henge actually is."
Alice won more points because she's a fan of Eddie Izzard and (i learned on the ride home) Ani DiFranco and Dar Wiliams. Because she quoted the above, i started quoting Eddie Izzard throughout the hike. This would have been more fun if i were walking near her, but you can't have everything.
Oh, and late in the hike Long-Haired Brian mentioned that if anyone needed water he still had a lot left. "I'll be sure to drain it from your body," Ken said. "Dune!" i shouted. At this point Alice actually was near us, and she knew exactly what i meant. Ken didn't, so i was glad someone got my reference.
Eddie will be in Boston, incidentally, October 21-25 at the Shubert Theatre. The cheapest tickets are $40, though, so holy fuck i am not going.
Christina took a picture of me in front of Stonehenge. I felt like the gnome in Amélie.
Honestly, i was underwhelmed by Stonehenge. I think i was expecting it to be bigger. But now i can say i have been, and i have the pictures to prove it. :)
Next was the hike. We stopped for lunch at a church (Batcombe) and i was gonna sit on one of those big crypt things, but David told us not too. Boo. I had gone to Mortons to get a sandwich that morning. They open at 8:30 and we were leaving at 9. At 8:40 they definitely didn't have all their sandwiches made (and the girl was glad i had exact change becaue her till was still locked) but i asked for a hummus&vegetable and the cute boy made one for me. Yayness.
There was a fairly evil uphill bit near the beginning of the hike, but then it was mostly level. David has done this before, but he definitely didn't always know where we were going. There was one time we went down quite a ways and then the land just drops off, so we had to walk back up. That was not fun. Mostly the hike was nice, though.
At one point we walked by a big bag of "Pheasant Grower Pellets." (Shortly thereafter we saw the actual pheasants.) I was reminded of a Roald Dahl book but couldn't think of what it was. Then Chloe said something like, "Wasn't there a Roald Dahl story about a kid and his dad who caught pheasants by putting gunpowder in these pellets so they would explode?" and i said "Danny Champion of the World! Thank you! I was just trying to think of that. But wasn't it that they put some sort of sedative in the pellets, so the pheasants would fall asleep and then they could catch them?" She agreed.
We passed the Cross-in-Hand, immortalized in Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Michelle and Chloe took a picture of Anne Marie with her hand on it because of the Tess reference and because it's a big ole phallic symbol.
Nearly at the end we saw the "Cerne Giant," "an enormous figure of unknown origin with a club 120 feet long." Oh yeah, that was what i noticed, the club, uh huh.
At one point as we headed down toward the end we were facing these vast wheat fields and my first thought was, "sand dunes!" Yes, i did spend 3 weeks all about the rocks a few summers ago, why do you ask? ;)
David paid for dinner back in Cerne Abbas. Sadly i wasn't hungry enough to take advantage of this beyond a banana milkshake.
Today i went back to the Ashmolean and definitely didn't see akronohten's phallic plate at the Ashmolean. Maybe it's traveling somewhere. Oh well.
I also didn't see the portraits of Christopher Robin Milne and his Bear at the National Portrait Gallery though i went through probably the entire museum. I did see a lot of good stuff, though. I also learned that modern people who have portraits in there include Meera Syal, David Beckham, and Ozzy Osborne. There's also Iris Murdoch and a couple of Joan Collins, and in the DJ exhibit one of Fatboy Slim (he's white?!). There are two of Ian McKellan. I dislike the modern one. In the one from 1969 he looks so fem i can't even handle it. They have a portrait of Shakespeare which is the only one "to have a real claim to have been painted from life" or something. It's the first portrait the gallery acquired, which i think is appropriate.
I splurged on a Frida Kahlo book. Only £5 and appears to have every painting she did, as well as having text of course.
I finally bought London postcards, having purchased Oxford ones earlier this week.
- Actually write said postcards.
- Mail said postcards.
- Write another mass update e-mail.
- Finally do final college visitations.
- Purchase Oxford t-shirt. (carpdeus, i think measurements will have to wait until i return to the States and actually have a ruler.)
- Have V sign Adam Bede for my mom.
- Write final paper.
- Do final load of laundry, preferably before the Closing Banquet so i can wear the slacks i got grass marks on yesterday.
I finally stopped feeling crampy sometime tonight. Thankfully yesterday i wasn't crampy. Some people say exercise is good for relieving menstrual cramps, and yesterday i would have been inclined to agree, but walking around today did nothing for me. As Britta would say, my uterus is trying to secede from the union. Not really, but it still sucks sometimes. At least it doesn't make me particularly irritable (though i'm certainly happier when i don't feel like that).
In other news, i went on friending-binge. (Yeesh, my friendspage always feels stuffed whenever i do this -- though this is probably partly because i'm away and thus filtering out icon and fic communities, so i've gotten used to the feel of a pared down friendspage.) I reiterate what i quoted on my user info:
The whole LJ "friends" concept is weird. For one thing, it's misnamed. "Friend" is a very loaded word. I think "friend" and "friend of" should be renamed "reading" and "readers". If you can change the names of your comments section so it says "be effulgent" instead of "post comment", why can't you change that?Oh, and sigrun, i didn't mention it at the time, but i feel your pain on the issue of even numbers [multiples of five, really] on one's User Info page.
[Also, anyone who wants to can request to be a certain color scheme on my friendspage.]
carpdeus insisted on proofreading my paper for the Hofer prize. (And i ended up submitting "Navigating Other-ness: Meena Kumar’s Journey in Anita and Me" rather than "Identity as Costume in Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia" because really, coolness of topic aside, it was a much more solid paper.) He wrote (among other things, of course):
Have I mentioned that you rated a 12 on the F-K reading scale. I'm impressed. Very few people I know write at that level and still have understandable content.And samfeasor says i'm her idol. It's a good day, yo.
[and responding to my request for an explanation]
I'm just used to having to write for a much broader audience, which means keeping the F-K (Flieschman-Kincaid, I believe) scale at about grade 8-9. Your paper ranked as a grade 12, what a Senior or above in High School could conceivably read and understand in terms of syntax, grammmar and syllables. Actually, I'm shorthanding something that probably has a book describing it but if you're using Microsoft Word, go into Tools, Options and set Readability Statistics on. Then, when you do the Grammar check it will end with telling you some extra information about the paper and how "readable" it is.
Also, i learned that the Sherborn lady who hosted a Smith thingie i went to before arriving at Smith (and where i met one of my favorite people) is having another one August 22 and my daddy can take me. One of the (many) things that's been lovely about this Oxford trip is meeting Smithies outside of my "circle" per se (as well as meeting wonderful people more generally) and it'd be nice to continue doing that.
Wow, Avette came in with her sister and her sister's two kids while i was typing this entry, and she introduced me and Ken (the only other people in the lab) just as other students, and the niece said to me, "You go to Smith." Said niece was the one Avette kept mentioning as having just graduated from Smith. "I recognize your face," the girl said. I must admit i don't recognize her. But still, wow.
edit: Breakfast the next day, Avette said her niece was talking about me, said i had done a great presentation. Now i was really racking my brains, thinking back to classes i had done presentations in (because as a very dark-skinned woman, niece would probably stick out in my memory). Then Avette said "body image, something like that." And i said, "Oh yeah, Bodywise! Ariana and i did a presentation at Chapin House last semester." Mystery solved. And very pleased that she thought the presentation was great. Bodywise is actually one of the things i had forgotten about, but it adds to the list of many things to look forward to about going back to Smith.