La Vie En Rose for 2007 November

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Yay war: Just back from the theatre and I am IN LOVE with Patrick Stewart. He is AMAZING! And I love Macbeth. It's so gruesome and gory. This was was sent in the 1940s so it was totally awesome. The only thing that sucked is I coudn't see one corner of the stage where I was sitting. BUT. Patrick Stewart! Macbeth!

Now I am chowing down on noodles from china town and thinking about my historiography and my nanowrimo novel at the same time. And the play. Hence the title.

[Comments] (6) Hm: Anyone still out there?

One was alligator, one was crocodile: I have a trial shift at a pub on Monday! If I don't screw things up I should have a job!

You'll be glad to know I am feeling much happier these days. I'm even getting used to the noise. I came out of my anti-social shell and went to the hall halloween party last night (dressed as a tourist with white socks and sandals, I thought it was pretty clever) and even made some new friends. Tonight I'm going to the flat of a girl from the Serbian class for dins and fireworks.

Unfortunately I think I may have to drop out of the Serbian class because it is NINE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY TWO POUNDS. And Birkbeck will only pay for half of it. Do you know how far that kind of money would go in Serbia?

Have I mentioned how much I hate the dollar right now?

I wrote some more articles: Stocking stuffers for travelers
Gifts for travelers (FYI I based these on my packing list so I already have most of these "gifts")
How to survive nanowrimo

My novel is going really well! And I've met a bunch of cool people through nano already. But I'm going to have to take a break from it this weekend because of that whole WWI historiography thing. It will be an extra fun challenge to catch up and then get ahead for Becca's visit!

Also I have successfully opened a UK banking account. This is a major accomplishment.

Small Rant: I cannot BELIEVE the hours for Senate House Library. 9-9. CLOSED on Sundays. Unbelievable. To think I complained about the CSUB library. 10 book limit. Tiny WWI section. Gah.

In other news I think I may have missed my true calling as a travel writer.

Post-grad 15: I have no will power. I cannot resist the call of chester fries in my closet. I know I should save them for dire straights at the end of the month... then again Becks is coming soon and will bring me a new supply if she knows what's good for her...

Also I have started a ten part article series on how to plan a backpacking trip instead of working on my historiography or the very least my nano novel. Clearly there is something wrong with me.

Also apparently today was a little interviewy thing and I have a real trial run on Friday. He said he will know within an hour whether I have any aptitude or not. How hard can it be to pour? right???? Pay is not awful but not great. Perhaps a little better than what I made at the bookstore for what it will buy for me. Maybe there will be tips.

[Comments] (2) Till the cats come home: I had a dream about tonks. I went to get him. He was talking to me. He had a very sarcastic personality but he got into the cat carrier without any fuss. Actually there were two cat carriers. One was significantly lighter. I carried them down fleet street! Or was it the way to King's Cross? (I think it was both, in my dream) What does it meeeeeeeean?

Also he was very rude about two pairs of green and yellow courdoroy overalls that Susie made for him/Red Doggie. He sent a note back pretending to be me and gave them away, so of course Susie was confused when I said I never got them. Gah.

[Comments] (1) Can you ever just be whelmed?: Part One of aforementioned article series has been published: How to Plan a Backpacking Trip #1: Inspiration and Saving Money

[Comments] (3) Also, I'm still confused as to how I got a Nora Roberts novel that isn't out yet: My room was spotless yesterday. Now it is a disaster. How? Also, I am too lazy to do laundry. Also, I am wasting time. My posters keep falling off the walls, it's really annoying. Also, I got the pub job.

[Comments] (4) It's like there's a party in my room that I'm not invited to: I hate the person above me sooooooooooo much.


A song for today:

You left me thinking what a bore, I'm always stuck inside. 
I've got a feeling there is more and I've been left behind. 
A lot of pain a lot of noise, that these four walls hide. 
Happy faces go to war and dance upon the mines.
Come on come join, come join, come join us. 
You're better young come join us. 
You be a man come join, come join us. 
You're big and strong, come join us. 

You planted me in foreign ground, a pen within a hand. 
At least I am'nt on my own, in hell I have a friend 
and though I fight a sinners shame it isn't my crusade. 
Dirty faces in a war, asleep in open graves. 

Come on come join, come join, come join us. 
You're better young come join us. 
You be a man come join, come join us. 
You're big and strong, come join us. 

Shame on you. Shame on you. 
Shame on you to keep my love from me. 

Close your eyes to see it.
Lock your heart to feel it. 
Change his name to number but he's somebody's child.

When I first heard this song I thought "Wow, how wwi," but I immediately dismissed it as projecting. However, I learned from Wikipedia (always a reliable source) that Andrea Corr wrote this song after reading a novel about WWI. So.

He was only your fool for a while: Today was my last day in the Serbian course. I decided the £1000 would go a lot further paying for two months of courses in Serbia. Also, you know, I don't really have £1,000... I can just be really strict with myself and practice on my own here... right =/ well at least I have people to practice with! And on the bright side I did get two months worth of lessons free! Haha.. oh.

I forgot to put on makeup this morning and it wasn't until I was in the middle of class I realized it. So much for trying to charm the classmate I have a huge crush on with my good looks.

Also I believe the malicious elephant above me is attempting to manufacture a robot that will continually tap on the floor. Thank goodness for the iPod...

In good news Becca is coming to visit me tomorrow. So I will have renewed supply of cheetos and someone to validate JUST HOW loud and awful the halls are.

Also nano. I know people think I am crazy for doing this. Actually, it is one of the smartest things I have done recently. I have met loads of nice and interesting people. And my novel is a pleasure to write. However I am pretty sure it is no good. Why do I think this? I am almost done with my plot but only halfway done with my wordcount. A 30,000 word story is not a novel. It is a soap opera episode. Whatevs. I am double tasking by reading Keegan's face of battle for my historiography OF COURSE and to help which my portrayal of the battle of the somme, which I have yet to write.

Don't mind me, I'm just a first year PhD student: Some people can't admit when they are wrong. I like to think I am not one of them. I have been making disparagingly remarks about "traditional military history" and "john keegan" (always accompanied by a yawn) ever since I read First World War and found it distinctly lacking in what, for me, makes the first world war interesting; instead my brain was paralyzed by epic descriptions of battles down to minute details...

Imagine my surprise when I read an article in one of these historigraphical review books and someone to whom I really should pay attention cited Keegan's Face of Battle as one of the landmark examples of "new military history."

Around the same time I reached a point in my nano novel where I realised that I don't know enough about the technical details of trench warfare to write a battle scene. And I'm still working on my historiography. Enter Keegan.

I stayed up until--I don't know what time--reading the section on the battle of the Somme. to be fair to my previous position, someone else I did well by paying attention to mentioned that Face of Battle was really impressive and FWW pales in comparison. I'm really tempted to read the sections on Agincourt and Waterloo just because they look interesting but you know, maybe in December. Maybe I still would have found parts of the book tedious while wearing my cultural historian brain. But while wearing my novelist brain I wanted to dance in joy if it weren't for the horror, the horror.** Thank you, John Keegan! I wanted to cry out. Everything I could possibly want to know for writing a scene about the battle of the somme contained in 50 pages of densely written, superbly researched text. It's amazing how a different perspective changes things. So maybe I should practice more stepping out of these intellectual boxes to try to understand why people find interesting the things they do, instead of scoffing in superiority.

**Keegan writes,

Accounts of the Somme produce in readers and audiences much the same range of emotions as do descriptions of the running of Auschwitz—guilty fascination, incredulity, horror, disgust, pity and anger—and not only from the pacific and tender-hearted; not only from the military historian, on whom, as he recounts the extinction of this brave effort or that, falls an awful lethargy, his typewriter keys tapping leadenly on the paper to drive the lines of print, like the waves of a Kitchener battalion failing to take its objective, more and more slowly towards the foot of the page…

There's the visual picture of an officer coming across "line after line of dead men lying where they had fallen." It's hard to read the number of casualties—21,000 killed or missing in one DAY—and imagine each of these a person with a life that was suddenly and abruptly cut short. This is the sort of moment that makes me want to shut my books and never open them again, run away and do something more cheerful. But why? Anyway, I don't, and I'm sure that says something about me—but not whether it is good, or bad. Or both.

But on the other hand I can count £1.85 in tips: I've had worse days at work but I can probably count them on one hand. Somehow this makes everything else seem much worse.

If it makes it better, you can call me what you will: There was a minor bloop and Serbia's Great War was accidentally switched in for Shopaholic and Baby. Now I want a t-shirt that says "She's a red-haired bitch and I hate her" but when I googled it all I came up with were essays entitled "Why I hate Ginny Weasley."

[Comments] (4) : Another thing I hate about the hall is the housekeeping staff just walk into your room on a regular basis giving you about two seconds notice to put on your clothes or pretend you're not still sleeping at 10 am or whatever....

I told ya I was trouble: Ok, so I may have gotten a little carried away with the ryanair sale... No problem. I've figured you can do an entire 3 day break for under £100 total... which is like 3 nights at the pub. All I have to do is be a little bit more careful with my money: less eating out which I have been doing a lot of since the food in the hall is so crap. But I can give up Pret for lunch in exchange for a trip to Berlin. No problem.

No time to regret: I blame Amy Winehouse for the fact that I didn't sleep or work at all yesterday, despite trying very hard. Yes that's right, I blame Amy Winehouse.

I did manage to get some touristy things done. I went with Becca to the Tate and we consulted the lady of shallot and reminisced about being in the same William Blake group in Jr year English. We got lunch and took the Thames crawler or whatever it's called down (up?) to the Tate Modern, took the lift to the 7th floor to see the view, which marred by rain and clouds. Welcome to London.

I left her there walk across the Millennium Bridge to St Paul's and took the tube to Holborn to meet up with my writing buddies. That unfortunately was not very successfully either. Left them eventually for a seminar that was really interested, but, of course, entirely unrelated to the First World War. After that Becca was seen off to Edinburgh. I am going to the library soon because I am determined to at least get some work done before going to work tonight. Blah blah stupid job. Time to keep looking I guess.

YOW: I didn't know it was the england/croatia game until i walked into work today. the pub manager thought it wouldn't be busy.


it was

hello bed

[Comments] (4) Wait, there's pie?: Tonight I'm going to my own expat Thanksgiving dinner just like Eloise Kelly. Only I don't have a handsome yet abrasively charming aristocratic love interest. Or a Burberry raincoat.

I feel content: not at all: I was sitting the the fifth floor eatery and someone came up to me and asked me to fill out a survey for her psychology project. I said sure figuring it would be a short questionnaire taking about 5 minutes... it was actually really annoying and took about 20 minutes. I actually think the point of the survey was to figure out how long it took to get annoyed with the repetitive tasks, because once I started answering 8 for very negative and "how anxious are you feeling now", the survey ended. I like to try to help people out with these things, I remember answering a tourism survey in Sarajevo and chatting with the girls who were doing them afterwards, that was pretty cool. But that was 20 minutes I could have spent in the library and I would have been in a better mood. So I'll have to be more careful before I jump into these things from now on.

Rules of attraction: Went to a football match with Becca and it was pretty fun. We saw two goals in front of our noses and two from far away. It was really funny to see a couple in front of us who were rooting for opposite teams. Also there were tons of cute boys! So that was nice. Anyway. Back to work.

Crunch time: I have soooo much to do. I want to get my historiography written and off to my supervisor asap, as in within the next few days--it HAS to be done by the end of the week. Also in order to finish my nano I must write 3,000 a day until Friday. Today is Becca's last day and I am taking her up to Camden Town. And I work all day Wednesday and for a few hours on Friday and I have seminars on Tuesday and Thursday which I suppose can always be ditched, BUT. Oh well. I can do it.

[Comments] (1) Yes, that's right, I'm still bitter: Someone stole my leftover piece of pumpkin pie from the hall fridge. Unrelatedly, I've just ordered a micro-fridge from Woolworth's for £12.50. Technically, this is against the rules, but they'll never know because I'm going to pick it up from the store in Camden instead of having it delivered. It's tiny so it will go under my desk and hide, but should be big enough to hold my milk, perhaps some real jam, and leftover pumpkin pie.

[Comments] (3) Is that your final answer?: It's a bit late in the month to be having dramatic self-relations, but there are some things I can no longer ignore. For one… the greatest irony is that my historiography is in direct contrast with my novel. On the one hand I am arguing the need to deconstruct the myth of the first world war that is the public memory—and one the other, I am encapsulating it. How can I really reconcile the two? As though I were two different people with one doing exactly what the other is arguing against. There's a word for that—oh yeah, hypocrisy. Oh well.

Also, my side characters have hijacked my story. I set out to write a typical romance and it turns out my side characters are the ones with room for complexity, for an imperfect relationship. It turns out they are the ones interesting to write about. Why is it that I find it much easier to write from the point of view of a girl who loses her love, goes to France and tries to bury herself in work in order to forget, in order to compensate?


: Just a quick post... historiography is DONE for now... well, mailed to supervisor anyway. I'm running out to go writing again, my little group are frantically wandering around london looking for somewhere to write till midnight (places close early here it isn't America), preferably with internet, must have plugs, but it seems all the pubs are having dj nights AND it's Friday AND it's payday. 5,500 words to go. 7 hours till midnight. wheeeeeee

[Comments] (2) : yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay

La Vie En Rose for 2007 November

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© 2002-2010 Rachel Richardson.