27 May 2010

Beautiful Disaster

Sometimes we all feel like a beautiful disaster, don't we? I know I do this week. My life is a bit of a mess at the moment, with The Deadline's steady approach... but through it all I feel like my life is beautiful. I have a chance to engage in discussion with great thinkers and to get support from Bristol's best. I'm sitting here, with the sun streaming onto my desk, drinking coffee and doing philosophy. It's crazy but beautiful.


26 May 2010

The Box Game

This past weekend, Jonty and I strolled down to our friend Mike's house for a barbeque. With the amazing weather gracing us with its presence here in England, you have to appreciate it while it lasts. The food was delicious, especially our amaaazing potato salad, which was a big hit! (At least we think it was a big hit... but we ate most it it ourselves because we liked it so much!)

Over the course of the evening, we ate, chatted, roasted marshmallows by the fire, and played The Box Game.

The essence of The Box Game is this: A small box (cereal or soda can box) is placed on the floor. Players must pick up the box using only their teeth, without letting any part of their body but their feet touch the floor. At the end of each round, an inch or two is ripped off the top of the box, and the new round begins.

After many rounds and a major rip in my jeans (those puppies are hot pants now), the game got intense. The ending round was picking up that tiny square of cardstock that you can see in the bottom right corner of the last picture. And there were three winners! (I was not one of them--I lost out two rounds before.)

It was absolutely ridiculous but an amusing way to spend the evening.


P.S. Yes that is me in the purple top, with short hair. I've cut it again, and I'm not feeling it, which is why I've been keeping it a secret! I guess the cat's out of the bag now.

25 May 2010

Random Tuesday: Procrastination-style


Happy Random Tuesday! I bet reading this on my blog is funny, since every day is a random day around here :.) Feel free to hop on over to The Unmom to check out more randomness, and grab the button to random it up yourself!

* I'm in the library (yes, it's naughty for me to be blogging rather than essay-ing, but will you be the one to throw the first stone?), and the girl across the table from me is the fastest, smackiest gum chewer ever. She is chewing a mile a minute, smacking every chew. And then she'll stop chewing long enough for me to relax... and then she starts again. Gross. Have I mentioned that I hate hearing people chew? Ick. Keep it to yourself.

* So far in this post, I've invented two words: 'random' (used as a verb) and 'smackiest'. I have a tendency to (illegitimately) invent new words. My friend Brian and I invented quite an interesting word when I was in high school: 'nerkus'. The word 'nerkus' is a blend of 'nerd' and 'dorkus', and can also be shortened to 'nerk'. We (as with most of my friends) believe that being a nerd/dork is a good thing--it means you are true to yourself and don't care what people think, so 'nerkus' is an endearing term. Actually, my close group of high school gal pals also had a similar word: 'spec', short for 'specimen'... That's even more obscure than 'nerk' but basically means that you are unique. Wow, I'm cool.
Update: I just realized The Unmom says, "random up," and it must have been sitting in my subconscious. So I guess I didn't make that one up; but I've made up lots of others!

* I got my Graze box today. It's a bit smaller than I expected, but I guess that makes sense, considering that it's meant to be for one day's grazing. But it's got some great stuff and is still worth the small amount I paid. My box has: fresh cut pineapple, the "apple strudel" mix (dehydrated apple, apricots, and cranberries), and the "tropical praline" mix (dark chocolate hazelnuts, dried mango, and green raisins). YUM! I'm munching on the apple strudel mix at the moment, and it's really good. (I know, it's rude to eat in the library. But Smack-tastic across from me is the only person around to hear, so I'm not all that worried about it.) If you're in the UK and watch to try Graze out, type in the code NKZ6TL7 at checkout and your first box is free :.)

* Check out this bizarre video a University of Bristol undergrad made of one of our professors giving Philosophy essay-writing advice a few years ago. It's a bit weird, but for those who know him (or have a strange sense of humor), it's pretty entertaining:

How was this for random?


24 May 2010

Quite a Quote: Lost

"I don't believe in a lot of things, but I do believe in duct tape." --Miles Straume, Lost

Today the final episode of Lost aired. It's the end of an era for so many viewers. I've gotten seriously attached to those characters, and I was sad to see them go. But I was left feeling pretty satisfied (though not every question was answered in my opinion), so I guess it's good-bye. I hope everyone who's been keeping up enjoyed the episode.

It does leave me thinking... now what? I don't watch much TV (telly, as they say here, heehee), but I do like to have one season going at any given time. Some choices are: The Wire, Mad Men, Community. Any other suggestions?


23 May 2010

History of the World, Part 1: Selecting Escorts

Have you guys ever seen History of the World, Part 1? This scene is another that makes my list of favorite movie scenes.

Today I slept in a bit and am now drinking coffee and trying to finish a draft of my last essay to send off to my supervisor tonight. Trying to stay motivated and positive... but so ready to be finished! The deadline for this essay got pushed back a week, and I'm intent on not taking the extension because I NEED A BREAK. I'm so close to the finish line... Anyway, I hope you guys are enjoying your Sundays a bit more than I am.


22 May 2010

Music of the Weekend: Anarbor

Hi there! Yesterday was a beautiful day here in southern England, & today looks like it's giving yesterday a run for its money. When the weather is sunny and warm like this in the UK, the entire country swarms with outdoor sports, washing cars, & barbeques. It's amazing to see the whole country react to the nice weather, but I guess we appreciate it more since it's less common than it is back home in Cali.

When Jonty and I went to see The Dangerous Summer a few weeks ago, I became mildly obsessed with the band that followed them: Anarbor. They have an upbeat vibe (a huge plus in my book!) and are slightly trashy in their lyrics at times (also a plus in my book when I'm feeling like a badass). Their music has a bit of an old school vibe and is perfect for evening barbeques, just add lots of friends and a couple of beers. And tonight, we're doing just that! I hope you enjoy your weekend too!


20 May 2010

Quite a Quote: Worrying

"Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere." --Van Wilder

1600 words down, 3400+ to go by the end of the weekend. (This is essay number 3.) I'm realllly trying not to worry too much about how bad it is or about getting the to word count. Instead, I'm trying to just work! This is my last essay, and I'm just mentally burnt out. The other two essays were my babies, and I cared for them and developed them as much as a could. And I continue to try to better them. But this one is like the third child: I've done this before, the excitement is a bit lost, and I feel that it will make it on its own.

Okay, I think that metaphor went a little bit too far. Essays can't take care of themselves, unfortunately. In fact, I should probably go back to writing...

I'm excited that the end of these essays are in sight. Then, I'll be working on my dissertation, which I think will be quite enjoyable. At least, for the first month or two of summer, the pressure won't be there too much. In the meantime, I'm really trying (and sometimes struggling) to enjoy and being engaged in writing these essays. After all, this is what I'm here for.

Good luck to the deadline-bound :.)



I have recently discovered something amazing here in the UK: Graze. It's basically the equivalent to the Produce Delivery service (you know, where you get a supply of local, usually organic, produce brought to your doorstep), except by mail. You can choose from several different types of boxes, which include GrazeFruit (includes fresh fruit and a mix of nuts/seeds/olives/snacks and dried fruit) and GrazeNibble (nuts/snacks and dried fruit), and they will also tailor the boxes to your wants (e.g. weight loss, energy, immunity boost). You can go through the fruits and mixes and tell them what you prefer and what you don't like. Then again, these are not necessary steps. If you want to keep things simple, you can just go on and click GrazeFruit or GrazeNibble and then order. The first one is free and the second is half price... but after that they're still only £2.99, which is pretty reasonable.

Anyway, they bring up some good points about grazing during the day rather than just eating one big lunch, and I think they're vital to share.

First, grazing prevents that mid-afternoon slump. It encourages you to eat slow-release foods throughout the day to maintain your blood sugar levels, rather than spiking and burning.

Second, since you're controlling your blood sugar levels, you don't get cravings and then eat unhealthy snacks.

Third, it's cheaper than going out for lunch or buying a pre-made lunch.

Fourth, eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are the only way to properly get the vitamins and minerals your body needs for thinking, preventing viruses, and exercise.

So think about grazing today--pack your lunch bag full of yummy, natural deliciousness (and a little treat of some dark chocolate doesn't hurt). And, if you're in the UK, think about signing up for Graze. I can't wait to check out my first box next week!


19 May 2010

Ten Questions: words, sounds & a bit of profanity

In response to an open call a friend responded about on her blog, here are ten answers to ten questions about what I think.

1.   What is your favorite word?  serendipity.
2.   What is your least favorite word? panties.
3.   What turns you on? books. originality. comedy. music.
4.   What turns you off? cockiness. negativity.
5.   What sound or noise do you love? the birds i hear from my window. jingling keys.
6.   What sound or noise do you hate? metal on metal. other people chewing.
7.   What is your favorite curse word? i think everyone knows that *fuck* is the best curse word. it's an objective fact.
8.   What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? doctor. magazine/book editor. teacher. psychiatrist. actor. singer.
9.   What profession would you not like to do? lawyer. transcriptionist. garbage man (person). president.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? "Gotcha!"

18 May 2010

Quite a Quote: Procrastination

Procrastination is like masturbation: At first it feels good, but in the end you're only screwing yourself.

This is a common student proverb. Maybe it's a bit crude, but it's so true. Procrastination takes a lot of work, and it's very unrewarding. Sometimes it's almost easier and feels better to just do the work.

The past few weeks have been quite productive and positive for me. I've been getting work done and, for the most part, enjoying it. Which is what I'm here for, right? But today was a sham. I got practically nothing done. (However, I did have a meeting about one essay that went pretty well. So that was a plus.) When I'm unproductive, it makes me feel unhappy/anxious. And then the vicious circle starts because the anxiety prevents me from being productive. So I'm worried that this will start. But I will try not to let it. I'm trying to maintain the attitude that tomorrow WILL be a motivated, productive, and happy day.

I just got back from a meal out with friends. We ate at an Indian restaurant, and my friend Katie and I shared Tandoori Machlee (spiced, barbequed fish), Chuka Sabji Dall (spiced veggies and lentils in a sour sauce), and Mushroom Rice. It was reallllly delish! The company was good too. I have some really good friends here, and I'll miss them when we all move away at the end of the summer.

As for the rest of tonight, I've decided to give myself some R&R. I plan to get into pajamas, watch some House and/or read my book, and get an early night's sleep.

Oh, and tomorrow my housemate Michael and I are going to go running together again! I never thought I'd particularly like to run with someone else. (When Jonty comes with me, we pretty much do different workouts in the general proximity of each other.) I suggested he come with me on Sunday, mostly to try to motivate myself to go. And, a bit to my surprise, he joined me. And it was SO GOOD. We had a great chat and enjoyed the weather, and because I enjoyed it so much I didn't feel like I was counting the minutes until I could stop. AND my abs got more of a workout from talking while running. So yeah, I've convinced him that we should make this a regular thing and we have plans to go tomorrow, and I'm really excited about it.

Ooo and I ordered something lovely that I'll blog about tomorrow, because I'm going to snuggle up in bed right now. Night!


Random Tuesday: Stream of Consciousness


Today is Random Tuesday, yay!
Even though my blog is pretty random every day, hence its title, today is fun because I get a special excuse not to need any particular theme or plan. Here it goes!

I went to Mocha Mocha again today, and went for a regular latte, rather than the splendid Hazelnut Mocha I had last week. While my coffee was good, it didn't live up to last Tuesday's expectations.

Does bread make you tired? It makes me sooo sleepy. I wonder if it's a natural property of grains, or if I'm in some way gluten intolerant. The reason that I'm asking is that I had a bacon sandwich on wheat bread for breakfast today (while sipping on my latte with my friend Dan) and now I just want to curl up on the bench in the sun behind the Grad Center and have a snooze.

In fact, I have already done that. Right when I returned from Mocha Mocha. It was so warm and loverly.

I'm happy that the sun is starting to grace us with her presence, but couldn't she just wait until after my essays are handed in next Friday? I just want to be outdoors all the time. But, unfortunately, laptops don't love the sun half as much as I do. And my laptop and I have to be BFFs at the moment.

I think I'm going to start dreaming about Plato soon.

One time, in high school, I dreamed in Old English. I was in a play based off of Macbeth and The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, reading Cyrano de Bergerac, helping my sister (a freshman at the time) read Romeo & Juliet, and had watched Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet that night. I don't remember what the dream was about; I just remember that the setting was contemporary but all of the speaking was done in Shakespearean prose.

I've started reading Julie & Julia. It's light and a bit girly, and I think it's the perfect read for that time at night where my brain needs to wind down from work.

Not that I'm working now. I'm blogging. And dreaming about all the lovely things I could be doing in the sun right now. I have a meeting in just over an hour, so maybe I should get back to started on work.

Maybe Random Tuesday should be renamed Stream of Consciousness Tuesday.

I hope you enjoy your day and appreciate the sun!


13 May 2010

Thank You Letters

Dear Jonty,
Thank you for making me breakfast and/or lunch every day this week. It has really helped decrease my stress, and it always cheers me up.

Dear Plato,
Thank you for writing down accounts of Socrates. If you didn't, we wouldn't know all that much about his awesomeness.

Dear Skype,
Thank you for existing. You help me stay close to my family and friends, even when we're half a world apart.

Dear Berlin,
I can't wait to meet you. I'm hearing great things about you. Get ready for me to visit in August!

Dear Easy Jet and Ryan Air,
Thank you for making it easy and cheap to travel in Europe. You tempt me daily, but I like it.

Dear blogosphere,
Thank you for listening to my scattered thoughts, rants and raves, silly ideas, wish lists, and musical loves. And thanks for sharing all these things and more with me too.

Dear Dee Dee and Leah,
Thanks for the (thank you) letters blog idea.



12 May 2010

"Oh, are you here for the conference?"

Oh my, I'm incredibly embarrassed right now.

A few minutes ago, I saw coffee, tea, and cookies being moved from inside a room in the Grad Center to a table outside of the room. Assuming this was leftovers from a conference, I go for some coffee. I notice that the milk containers are quite full, but at this point I've poured my coffee so there's no turning back.

Suddenly, Dude to my right says, "Oh, are you here for the conference?"

Caught red-handed with coffee in my hands, my first reaction spews out. "Yeah, what time is it? Are we starting yet?"

He tells me that it's 3 o'clock but not to worry because the lead speaker hasn't yet arrived. So I claim to have to gather my things, and go into the study room with all my stuff.

Incredibly nervous that Dude (who I think might be the head of the Grad School) is going to come alert me when the conference in starting, I jet to the basement study room with my laptop and notebook, leaving all my other belongings.

So now I'm in hiding, expecting every footstep to be Dude coming to find me. I've even asked my friend Ikbal to go upstairs to grab my coffee for me. Because if I'm going to suffer this embarrassment, I might as well enjoy the coffee while it's hot, right?

Ughhh. How much more awkward can I get???

At least I didn't take a cookie.


My Trip to Barcelona, or How I Sprained My Ankle

 Las Ramblas promenade in Barcelona, Spain.

After Bored@Work shared a slightly embarrassing yet funny fun-loving story about her cousin's drunken wedding adventure, I immediately thought of this story and thought I'd share it. Feel free to carry on and share your own clumsy drinking story.

My first night on a weekend away in Barcelona, Spain (also my first night ever in Europe, besides England), my friend Sarah and I went on a bar crawl organized by our hostel. After the second bar third bar, including the liter of Heineken I had at the hostel bar before we left, there was a bit of a problem. While walking and talking to some of my fellow bar crawlers (two things my dad has always said I can’t do at the same time, and rightly), I failed to watch where I was going and fell into a hole. Yes, I fell into a hole. In the middle of the sidewalk. You see, at this point of the promenade in Barcelona, there are trees planted in cavities in the sidewalk. But these are not your ordinary, everyday, dirt-filled holes. They’re deep. Like at least a foot deep. Well, to move this story along, I stepped onto the edge of said hole and sprained my ankle. I know it was sprained because a doctor happened to be walking by and stopped to check out the consequences of my fall. And she confirmed that it was in fact sprained and told me to ice it and take ibuprofen. I was convinced that I could keep going, but the group insisted that I return to the hostel, with the help of a very nice boy (thanks Scott). Anyway, that was the end of the bar crawl, but the beginning of my trip. Lovely. Basically, I just ignored the suggestion to keep off of it and let it heal, because – hey, I was in Spain! It hurt, but I sucked it up. It took a few weeks (longer than it should have) to heal, but it definitely made my trip memorable.


11 May 2010

Random Tuesday: My First!


This is my first time partaking in Random Tuesday! I've been meaning to for some time, and now I've done it!

Speaking of partake, I have a craving to watch When Harry Met Sally. I'm not that fond of chick flicks, but I love this film (and I think guys can appreciate it too!). The museum scene is one of my favorite movie scenes ever:

I love it when I have my iPod on shuffle and 'N SYNC (or a similarly random musical group from the 90s) comes on. Especially when I'm only half paying attention to the music while working on an essay and then all of a sudden I hear: "I need love, you need love, we all really need love. All I want, all I need... We all really need love."

I sometimes wish my blog was a secret from my friends and family. Every once in a while I want to write a post that I don't want other people I know to see. I suppose I could just keep a journal... but it still would be nice to share with the blogosphere and get some responses... Should I create a new, confidential, blog? But wait, if I did, how would I tell you guys??? Hrm...

Bananas are ruined for me after returning from Kenya. They were so fresh and delicious there, since they'd been ripened before being picked, that eating bananas here nowadays just isn't as satisfying. Isn't that depressing?

This morning I went to this cafe called Mocha Mocha and had the most amazing drink ever: Hazelnut Mocha. Oh. My. Goodness.

I need to get my dad a birthday gift today... What should I get him???

Okay, enough randomness for now. Back to work.


07 May 2010

The Boss

Fun fact: Just as I suspected (hence the experiment that led me to discover this fact), when you google "the boss," the Wikipedia article for Bruce Springstein is the first entry to come up.

Yesss! In appreciation of this, here's something fun to listen to this lovely Friday evening:

I'm dancing around my house to it :.)


05 May 2010

To Do This Summer

* start a book club
* have lots of barbeques
* set up a weekly dinner party round
* go to Berlin
* visit the University of Edinburgh
* create a new, more personalized, blog layout
* take salsa classes
* explore more of Bristol and Bath
* check out Stonehenge
* try lots of new recipes
* find more farmer's markets
* sell my old books on eBay
* start my Etsy shop
* get back into a workout routine

There are still 3 1/2 weeks and 12,000 or so words standing between me and summer... I'm really struggling not to wish that time away!


03 May 2010

The Dangerous Summer

Last week was full of music. I wrote yesterday about the band we saw last Monday. Later in the week, we went to see a band from across the pond, The Dangerous Summer, in part of their two-week UK tour.

While the lead singer maybe said the F word a few too many times for my taste (not that I have a problem with the word, but it should be used in context, not as a comma), we chatted with him a bit after the show, & he was an incredibly nice guy. The band is awesome, & they were awesome to see live.

This song is really catchy:
[Disclaimer: it might get stuck in your head... but it's worth it!]

Another good one (I love the key changes):

Oh oh, I also got one of their tee shirts, which is totally 80's-tastic! (Thanks Jonty!)


02 May 2010

In Gratitude

Gah... I know, I know... I'm reeeaaalllly holding out on Kenya photos. But the truth is, I feel so guilty working on them when I should be writing the essays for my HUGE deadline at the end of the month. And when I'm not working on my essays, I just can't be bothered to do anything that requires any thinking. So, maybe we can just ignore my negligence for a while. What do you think? Thanks guys; you're the best.

Speaking of the best... Last week, Jonty & I went to see one of our favorite bands, In Gratitude, at The Croft in Bristol. In Gratitude is from an hour south of Bristol in Somerset, which is cool. Their musicianship is fantastic, and in general their songs are really good. I had met the band briefly a couple of months ago and had the opportunity to chat with the band members--Matthew Guttridge, Andrew England, Daniel Hayes, & Adam Mason--at the gig. They are really awesome guys. I can't recommend this band enough.

This is my favorite of their songs:

And here's a new song, not yet recorded, from a gig on their tour a couple of days after we saw them: