raven: (sapphire & steel - newspaper)
Hello, internet. I am writing this in my departure gate at JFK, feeling so tired I could cut loose and float away like a balloon. I begin to suspect it is the horrible harsh exhaustion of my body saying, okay, law school, moving out, four days in Manhattan in the pouring rain, being nice to family in CT all very well, but for god's sake GO HOME AND SLEEP NOW.

I am going home to sleep now.

Actually, internet, I am rather dreading it.

Um. So, I graduated! There was that. The ceremony was in the pouring rain, and a red-gowned warmly-lit contrast to my very staid, proper, weighed-down-by-fur-and-tradition Oxford graduation. Not that I didn't enjoy that - crossing the floor of the Sheldonian in academic dress isn't something anyone gets to do very often - but this had a little joie de vivre. It wasn't in alphabetical order, so you could gather up with your friends and giggle in the wings when waiting, and cheer offstage when someone you knew took their degree. And, a lovely tradition: in both graduating classes, there were a few people who had had babies during their time in law school, and most of them chose to carry their little ones across the stage with them. One tiny little man was sleeping as his mum climbed the stairs, but woke up briefly in the glare of the bright lights and the gaze of hundreds of people, and promptly gave a small, regal wave, to the total delight of the audience.

The faculty speaker was.... trying. Clearly, clearly, he had taken a section from a paper or possibly a thesis and read out a section in lieu of, y'know, a speech. It was exceptionally long and tiresome and I've been to law school, I could at least follow what he was saying. (The Siren, later: "He used the word 'demos'. Who uses 'DEMOS' in a GRADUATION SPEECH?") What the guests and small people thought, I have no idea.

The student speakers, on the other hand, were warm, funny and fond. They told anecdotes and dabbled in nostalgia, and then, with a certain embarrassed gentleness, "We turn now to United States v Carolene Products footnote four" - to an amused murmur from the graduates and possibly groans from the rest of the auditorium.

okay, who wants to hear about law )

Afterwards we filed out into the rain and retreated to the law school to dry off, and because I made the reservation in February we had somewhere to go out for dinner. (Apparently, dinner reservations for the undergrad graduation weekend had to be made in 2007. My mind boggles.) It was a nice dinner, but. But. Oh, I hate goodbyes. I ordered lemon souffle as dessert, and while I was eating it, Baby E looked at me reflectively and said, "Do you remember? When we'd first come? You said to me, if we're going to be friends, you should know that I eat a lot. More than anyone else you know."

"Well," I said, through the souffle, "we are friends and I do eat a lot, so there."

In lieu of actually saying goodbye, I squished her and said, when you sit down and work for the bar exam, for your PhD, whatever else you do, you child prodigy you, remember me marching into your apartment yelling about ALL WORK AND NO PLAY DULL GIRL and go get a cocktail once in a while.

I couldn't say goodbye to the Siren. We stood there and looked at each other for a moment, and then did what we always do, at the end of the evening; wave, giggle, see you soon.

Soon. I hope so.

The day after that, it rained even more. It poured and poured and poured and I was horribly fed up with everything. I had breakfast with some friends, who made me pancakes and bacon and dispatched me out more cheery into the rain, and then I managed to trek over to see [personal profile] livrelibre and say a quick, rainy goodbye before I had to go home and put all my things in boxes and give them to the Salvation Army. I had about a hundred books. Thirty of them were shipped, ten given to Tobermory (I ran to the law school, gave her the books, my free-coffee stamp cards - yes, okay, so I took two semesters collecting enough for six free cups of $5 coffee, but if her thesis proposal kicks a little more arse because I funded her caffeine habit for a week, I am okay with that) and the rest all given away. I managed, also, to pop in and say goodbye to [personal profile] eruthros, and [personal profile] thingswithwings, thank goodness, and I cleaned my apartment top to bottom, shipped the books, arranged for subletters and handed over my keys.

And left.

The last few days have been, okay, if not exactly restful, not law school. My parents hadn't been to New York since 1999, so the three of us had a good time even if we did emphatically get rained on. (Dear climatic conditions of the state of New York: springtime. Get with the programme, okay.) And I had a lovely, somewhat cocktail-soaked evening with [personal profile] macadamanaity, swapping Doctor Who theories (still haven't seen the last three episodes!) and laughing a lot. I wasn't keen on visiting relatives in Connecticut to be the thing I did on my last weekend in the States - Connecticut! is all green and leafy! in every bloody direction! - but oddly enough it worked out fine. I had a genius idea, and my cousin S and I drove to New Haven and picked up [livejournal.com profile] gamesiplay, and the three of us had one of those unexpectedly glorious days you get sometimes when everything is in flux. The sun was shining, I was charmed by New Haven - it reminds me of Oxford, a little, and Boston, a little, and it's something all of itself, too - and certainly it's the only place I've ever been where you can eat mashed potato pizza and for this to be a good idea. So we did that, and then we went book shopping. My cousin has been long-term ill for quite a while, and after a couple of years flat on her back, she's feeling good, happy, ready to take on the world again - but has, in those two years, discovered reading. She never read as a kid, she was telling me, she never read in high school - but suddenly she's found herself in books.

I was reminded irresistibly of That Time I Read Hamlet (and couldn't find anyone to inform that actually it's quite good), and promised I would compile her a comprehensive list of recommendations. In the end Leigh and I went through the Yale bookstore's entire SFF section from A to Z, recommending things, and yes, basically ended up monologuing at each other. It was delightful. We finished off the day with some surprisingly-unbad chick flick and sweeties, and now it is Sunday afternoon, it is raining in New York, and my flight to the UK opens for boarding in forty minutes.

Well. Well, here's what's next.
raven: subway sign in black and white, text: "Times Square / 42 Street station" (stock - times square)
I appreciate every single damn one of your comments, emails and texts, you are all fabulous fabulous people. I am not replying to things because my parents are here (which, by the way, is cool but EPIC DISCOMBOBULATE) and convocation is TOMORROW, ohmygod, and can you believe I still haven't quite finished my papers yet. (If you can see a logical discontinuity in the preceding, you're not the only one.)

So, anyway, [livejournal.com profile] gamesiplay is a total rock star who has dealt with 12,000 words of my academic writing in the last 72 hours, so a huge round of applause for her, please, and another for the South African Siren who came round last night at 10pm with a Bluebook on the way to the airport to pick up her dad(!) and tomorrow I convocate and Monday I pack some of my stuff, and give the rest of it to the Salvation Army, and I am trying to see everyone I want to see everyone I want to see before I leave as well, oh lord. If I manage all of this, I get on a bus to NYC on Monday evening, am there till the following weekend, and then I leave these springlike shores.

Fairly obviously, I haven't seen today's Doctor Who or last week's Doctor Who (and, let's face it, probably not next week's). All in good time.

kthxbye! See y'all on the long deep oceanic flipside.
raven: text: "There's a full and very reasonable explanation that mostly does not involve me being drunk" (sbp - me being drunk)
In these Troubled Times, the Siren and I have taken to having at least one meal together every day to keep each other going. (Well, I say that like I have any agency in the matter. Today I got a text - be in the law school parking lot in 13.5 min - and complied, submissively.)

The law school have taken to putting up signs - Law School Convocation ADA Access - and I am taking deep breaths and writing paragraph after paragraph of the worst academic writing I've ever produced and the days left are burning like touchpaper but we're still here.

Synecdoche:

the Siren: Want to go to Syracuse tomorrow?

Me: Sure, if I'm done with my paper - aren't you busy in the morning, anyway?

Siren: Yeah, I just have to write the Constitution of Southern Sudan and I'll be right with you.

--

the Siren [commenting on a law review article about government contracts we've both read]: And it's all about a continuum of this or that. The terms are a continuum, the regulations are on a continuum... I don't like continuums. I like binaries. [pause] That must be why I like that Katy Perry song.

Me: ....what?

Siren: You know, she's hot, then she's cold, she's yes, then she's no, she's up and she's down...

--

Siren: And we've still got that damn constitution to write... [Baby E] is doing the Bill of Rights.

Me: Wait, you're letting her do the Bill of Rights?

Siren: Yeah, in like, half a day, her mum's here. She's going to take out the substantive ones she doesn't like from the South African constitution.

Me: ....she's going to take out the substantive human rights she doesn't like?

Siren: Yeah. How's your salad?

--

Me [discussing my paper word-count]: Seven thousand for the take-home, six thousand each for the papers, mostly since Sunday...

the Siren: Iona. How many "buy-nine-get-your-tenth-free" CTB coffee cards have you filled since fall semester?

Me: six.

--

Words to go: 1550; hours left: 3: hours of sleep: 4; cups of coffee: 2.5. Oh, law school, why do you hurt me when I show you nothing but love.
raven: (misc - we win)
Twenty-four hours, four cups of coffee, four hours of sleep, 7200 words and umpteen twitter status updates later, I finished my legislation take-home. Thank you, everyone who said nice things to me during the long, long night. And I am very glad I never have to do that again. I am still somewhat wrung out another day on - I do think, seriously, that a take-home is the worst of both worlds: with a three-hour exam you build up to it, you ride over it on a crest of adrenaline and suddenly it's over and you can sleep. With a paper you can take your time to know what you're doing. Instead you get the faintly panicky ill-feeling for a whole day, while your brain dribbles uninspiringly out of your ears and you find yourself writing twelve hundred words on "Is Congress hopelessly dysfunctional?" while the world tips around your head.

After it was over I stretched like a cat and prowled about my apartment for a bit, then rolled over and fell asleep fully dressed on the top of the covers, and then the Siren took me out for ice-cream and gossip and after that [personal profile] petra and [personal profile] thingswithwings appeared and were kind to me and my softening brain and took me for dinner. We had tapas al fresco with a surprisingly nice pinot grigio, and it was one of those perfect spring evenings laced with the perfect mixture of tired, happy and tipsy. We sat there through the sunset and talked about fandom and laughed a lot, and it was just delightful. At some point we got to talking about kitchen utensil AUs and Sad Fics What We Have Known and I remember telling T'wings she was the second person yesterday to talk to me about Draco/Neville, which was kind of delightful.

I dunno, I've been blessed in life by having a lot of fannish people to interact with in my daily life - because, y'know, sometimes you need that - but I don't always have the pleasure of talking about my writing woes to other people who write. At some point last night I was explaining tipsily that I am trying to write this story, right, and it was going to be short, right, and it was going to be a sweet little OT3 story, that was all, and suddenly I started thinking Things and now it's a story about ownership and feudalism and what. (T'wings says I am the second person she knew to have a problem with a silly little story turning into one about conceptions of ownership. I am delight.)

edited to add: has anyone, yet, invented an app or tool that will take a chunk of prose and change its tense from present to past or vice versa? I hate it when I realise that's what a story needs.

Speaking of delight, I think I need a nap. it's a beautiful sunny morning in Ithaca and in an hour I have to help the Siren carry all her minor kitchen appliances through Collegetown to the law school. I am sure this will happen entirely in a sensible fashion and there will be no laughing at or with.

Oh, and! For Remix, I wrote Distillation (the Anticlockwise Remix) (HP, Sirius/Remus, Peter), a remix of Connection Concotion by [archiveofourown.org profile] ineffabilitea, and while it is not the best thing I have ever written by a long shot, it is not the worst.

Naptime! Then appliances and paper-writing. I love the spring.
raven: (doctor who - welcome to hell)
1. Twenty-four exams are like essay crises, except it's not your own fault for leaving it to the last minute, it's just because your life sucks that much;

2. 15 hours 24 min and counting;

3. Downstairs' dog is howling at the moon and I really empathise;

4. 2173 words, approx a million to go, oh god, oh god, I cannot deal with this;

5. Really, like an essay crisis only WORSE;

6. I tried to write some of a story to cheer myself up yesterday, just for half an hour, a delicately romantic Vorkosigan story and then Shim pointed out that 500 words of it were actually an out-take from another story entirely, possibly called "five times ImpSec tried to arrest the entire population of Vorbarr Sultana", which I thought was.... distressing, and also true;

7. Funny how my fic output skyrockets when I have to do something else, e.g. take a degree;

8. I hate law school;

9. Hate it hate hate it;

10. My adviser refuses to give 24-hour exams because she thinks they're sexist and adversely affect on women with childcare issues;

11. I wish everyone thought that way;

12. I hate law school;

13. 15 hours 22 minutes and counting;

14. 'kaythxbye.
raven: (politics - this shit)
As predicted, despite the last-minute dashing about, no polling card came for me. I am still kicking myself hard for having been stupid enough to disenfranchise myself; so, you know, could we hold off a little on if-you-didn't-vote-you-should-be-ashamed and you-lost-every-right-to-complain-for-the-next-ever, because it's not that I don't agree with you, but I'm there in that place already, okay? I tried.

In other news, I have one exam down. As usual, I couldn't sleep till four am the night before and went for it with the barrelling force of will that sleeplessness entails, and you know, it wasn't the worst thing. It was a surprisingly humane exam - in form, rather than substance, with a hour's reading time, no writing permitted, to begin with, which is a genius idea because it forces you to think about what you're doing. Eight questions, most of them okayish, I missed the point of one of them entirely and there was another one I think didn't have a point.

(Seriously. It was the first question on the paper and I was finding it baffling, so I left it till the end and came back to it with about eleven minutes to spare. For the first eight of those I wrote a paragraph about nothing in particular, and with three minutes to spare I had a genius idea and wrote "Overbreadth!" Just like that! With the exclamation mark! And didn't deign to explain how or why or in relation to what the statute was overbroad, but you can't have everything in life. Baby E later confessed to having done almost the exact same thing, which was cheering.

Also, the one where I missed the point was interesting to none but other people who care about constitutional law and the Establishment Clause, so I'm cutting it )

I could write here about how everything is making me cranky - I didn't get to vote! iTunes is refusing to let me listen to music I paid for, why didn't I just torrent it! USPS want to charge me $175 to ship my books home! migraine migraine MIGRAINE! - but maybe I just won't. The music I am trying and failing to listen to is "Sigh No More", the Mumford & Sons album, and I really, really like it. It's fabulous, affirming stuff - seriously, you can sing along and feel very definitive about everything - that sounds sort of like a cross between Dar Williams and the Gaslight Anthem. Like the Gaslight Anthem got on stage, anyway, with a trumpet and some string instruments, and tried to pretend they were an English folk band.

To alleviate the cranky, I have been reading aaaaaaall the Vorkosigan fic, as you've all probably guessed, so I will leave you with some recs so this isn't just a post about how I have a headache and my life is so unfair.

Aral Vorkosigan's Dog by [archiveofourown.org profile] philomytha
I mentioned this the other day, when I was still reading it, so this is the rec. I really, really enjoyed this. It's novel-length, about Illyan and Aral during the Escobaran war, and like I said the other day, it's sort of like a love story, only with a different kind of love at the centre of it: it's about how Illyan the neutral, human-computer observer finally takes a side, and why. It's about loyalty, and fidelity, and a kind of ownership. There's this scene in it, which I completely adore, where Illyan, exhausted, falls asleep on a chair and during the course of the night slips off it - and on waking, berates himself for literally sleeping on the floor by Aral Vorkosigan's feet. It's both hilarious and very poignant.

A Deeper Season / What Passing Bells by [archiveofourown.org profile] lightgetsin and [archiveofourown.org profile] sahiya.
Is there anyone left who hasn't read these by now? Regardless, they're great: both novel length, with many side-pieces and sequels. Miles/Gregor, going AU from Memory, and while they do wipe Laisa from existence they don't, to my delight, wipe out Ekaterin - she's there and her usual amazing self. My favourite of all the bits and bobs is A Place To Stand, a lovely, fascinating short story. (The funny thing is, these are all so good that I love them to pieces despite the fact I don't buy the major premise: Miles and Gregor are adorable, and no they're not that related, but I have trouble getting behind the pairing when the two of them are foster-brothers; effectively, they have the same parents. I mention this only in case someone else has the same hang-up and isn't reading for that reason.)

Warrant For A Day's Leave by [archiveofourown.org profile] jetta_e_rus.
Aral/Simon set shortly after the latter gets out of prison. Ridiculously sweet and heartwarming and in no way ignores Cordelia. I really liked it.

The Earring by [archiveofourown.org profile] philomytha
I read this and immediately recced it to [personal profile] gavagai, because omgyes. The author's summary is "Aral and Cordelia on a state visit to Beta Colony", which is true as far as it goes, but. Yes. Much love.

Oh, and while I'm here, I got three stories from Remix! Home (the don't look back remix), a remix of my story Pomegranate, which is about Uhura, and Amanda, and tells me things I didn't know about them.It's short and lovely.

And from Remix Madness: The Gardener (the Singing TARDIS Overdub), a remix of Sweetpeas, and I love this SO MUCH, it's about Rory and it's about the TARDIS, oh, so much love; and Be My Love (the first and last time remix), a remix of will you stay with me, will you be my love, and it's Doctor/River and again with the LOVE. I suspect these two are written by the same person. Time will tell.

Right. I need to go back to work sometime ever.
raven: subway sign in black and white, text: "Times Square / 42 Street station" (stock - times square)
Here is how I am. Conversation with the nice people at the vegan cafe: "Iona! Iced or regular?"

"Regular," I said, as usual completely delighted they didn't ask the preceding question.

"How can you drink regular coffee on a day like this?" - while getting it for me and not asking about the half and half and no sugar.

"It's my third," I said, and did not point out the fact of its being 2pm because the clock loomed over it all, ticking, ticking, ticking the ten or eleven days I have to do everything in the world.

The bad:

-My first exam in a week, followed by a twenty-four hour exam, oh god I am dreading it, was instructed today that "some people find sleeping helps during that period", thank you so much adorable con law prof;

-Still 10,000 words to write for two papers, need to turn in a first draft tomorrow, argh;

-...thus spending twelve hours a day in the law school. It's a nice place but it doesn't improve that much through long acquaintance.

-And it doesn't help that the charger on Shim's netbook has got a loose connection, meaning I have to watch the thing like a hawk while waiting for a new one to come, you couldn't last one more week you dratted thing.

The good:

-The weather! Twenty-five degrees and blue sky;

-Having been kept going by A Civil Campaign all of last week, I am now fifty pages into Memory and it's still my favourite, and relatedly people like my story yay!

-the law school's End of Semester Therapeutic Massage Party, all initial caps thankyouverymuch.

The neither good nor bad, I don't know, I have all these feelings, okay:

-In two weeks and four days I will get on a bus to New York City and thence on a flight to Manchester, and leave Ithaca behind, possibly for good. I don't want to go. I don't want to go! I have people and a life and way of being, I have restaurants I like and friends I can talk to about fandom and friends I can talk to about law, and every Wednesday the Siren and Baby E and I have breakfast at 10am in the law school cafeteria and argue cheerfully about First Amendment theory for an hour and I look forward to it enough to get me out of bed in the morning and at the vegan cafe they know my name and give me coffee without asking and my adviser tells me I have promise and I have three full CTB punch-cards and no time to go and order the three most expensive things on the menu and on my way home across the span bridge I cross the gorge at Fall Creek and watch the cataracts smashing off the rocks and feel a little of that intensity for a moment every single day.

And the worst part, this arctic wasteland where polar bears go to die has turned sweetly alluring. Green, rich-smelling turf, new growth, daffodils. Twenty-five degrees in the shade and lightning forking into the gorges and all luscious humidity and heat.

I don't want to go.

Back to work.
raven: white text on green and yellow background: "ten points from Gryffindor for destroying my soul" (sbp - destroying my soul)
In the latest from Ithaca's dizzy meteorology, twenty-five degrees and a summer storm. It was minus five last week. I will never understand this place. But I appreciated the t-shirt and sandals. My toes hadn't seen sun since New Orleans.

Shim left this afternoon, in a flurry of incompetence, none of it ours. My boy never has the best luck with flying out of Ithaca, apparently. Last time they tried to deliver him to Schipol rather than Heathrow; this time he was taking a flight at 3.20, and I had class till just gone twelve, so I said, I'll come home and we'll have lunch and then we'll call a cab. I called at 1pm; the cab people said it'd be twenty minutes. Half an hour later I called back, they said it'd be fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes after that they said it'd be fifteen minutes. Then I called back and the guy wasn't exactly intelligible but I heard something about "police". I called Ithaca's only other cab company and we got to the airport a mere hour and a half after planned. And then we stood in line for twenty-five minutes - Continental's computers were all down, apparently - and then when finally he'd checked in they announced the delay.

It was a delay for an hour, so I stuck around, and we watched the turboprops landing and taking off (it's a very small airport) and then he went through security. Just as he was crossing through to the other side, they announced the next delay. He did, in the end, miss his connection through Newark, though luckily there is not exactly a shortage of transatlantic redeyes. I just seem to have a very low tolerance for other people's incompetence today. (My own, now, that's a different story.)

So, it's now April 11th. I graduate, theoretically, on May 15th. In the next four weeks and six days I have to: write 14,000 words; sit two exams; deliver a half-hour presentation on research I have not begun yet; go to class; leave the house; eat, sleep and take showers.

(I also need to keep telling myself that I do not need to take the bar exam. I do not need to take the bar exam. I was going to, originally. Here are the reasons I am not taking the bar exam:

-bar review begins the week after graduation;
-and goes on until the bar exam in the last week of July;
-my visa expires long before that, I'd have to go to Canada and back;
-and besides, I do not need to take the bar exam;
-though it would be nice, and a good thing to have on the CV;
-I am perfectly qualified to practise in England and Wales;
-and speaking of which, will be in practice in England and Wales from the start of September;
-and need to find a place to live, move all my possessions there and also learn to drive before then;
-and I have been in full time education since I was four years old and I am twenty-four now, and I have been in various stages of academic burnout for oh half a decade and I need a damn holiday THAT IS WHY I AM NOT TAKING THE BAR EXAM.

And yet I still feel guilty about it.)

I am already looking around my apartment at the washing-up and the coffee mugs and empty fridge and the clock and making myself hollow promises about decaf and early nights and oh hey remember you almost missed an exam last semester because you can't wake up before one in the afternoon oh yeah. Wouldn't it be nice to be the sort of person who can deal with her partner leaving. Yes. I am feeling very rubbish indeed and dealing it with through the magnificent gambit of ignoring it entirely and abusing italics goddammit. I made a revision timetable. It's not colour-coded.

(As an old friend of mine would say at this point, sometimes you just stand there, hip-deep in pie.)

This entry is just so much alphabet soup. Don't mind the crazy girl in the corner. Go on with your day.
raven: (stock - roses)
It's the Friday before spring break and everyone is happy. There are people on the streets in costume, carrying musical instruments and dancing, the undergraduates are burning things on the plaza, the law school is eerily sunlit and deserted. It's a balmy fourteen degrees outside with blue sky, and optimists everywhere in flowing skirts and lacy tops. The normally taciturn bus driver announced, "Thank you for riding TCAT Route 30! Have a wonderful spring break!" to pleased whooping from the back. I'm in a good mood, too; I got out of bed and tidied my apartment with the windows open to the breeze, and on a whim invited a friend to lunch and ate pitta bread and fresh salad and made fun of passing freshmen. Life is good.

[personal profile] gavagai's visit turned out lovely. On Wednesday, we went to the First But Nevertheless Annual Faculty Pie-Eating Contest, and paid three dollars apiece to watch five of the nation's finest legal minds get blueberry pie up their nose. About two hundred people turned up and raised seven hundred dollars for the New Orleans trip. I am impressed. It's now two days till I go, and I have my work assignment - mostly manual work in the Lower Ninth Ward, and I am surprisingly not at all disappointed not to be doing legal work. I do legal work every day of my life. And I've got my whole life for pro bono, too - maybe it's best that I work out in the sunlight being of some concrete social use just this once. I'm looking forward to it so much, and when I get back I want to put in for my public service award. My adorable con law professor recommends soup kitchen work, when I return; I think I will. (My con law professor really is adorable; I was sneaking in late to class a couple of days back and walked in to him saying, "Fighting words! Blah blah blah motherfucker blah blah!" Yesterday he asked me to explain the collateral bar rule. I have no idea, I said, I didn't do civ pro. He looked at me fondly and said, "Oh, you English.") I really do want to be a better lawyer: better in every sense of the word. If writing rude letters to bailiffs and handing out soup and bread is the way forward, then so be it.

[personal profile] gavagai left yesterday morning and got home safely eighteen hours later, and I am still a little startled by the wonder of air travel. The Siren, Baby E and I went for dinner last night and had a lovely time - we found a restaraunt that served us wine without IDing us, served us piles of food and ridiculously good chocolate cake and once we'd found it, we stayed there all night - and by the time we all wandered home Laura was flying into London. This realisation over cake and white wine. Isn't it extraordinary how you can be in one place and then another, so fast? The Siren is in Puerto Rico this morning, having called me at midnight to shout, "I have to be up in four hours and next door are having a fight! She just ran her car over his foot!" (I found this too hilarious to be any concrete help. She eventually decided not to call the cops and even made it to the airport on time.)

I feel like the sunshine has remade me from the inside out, bones, flesh and skin. What a wonderful world.
raven: (stock - roses)
One of those nights, my friends. One of those nights. I've been doing well, though, so I won't complain and will sit and read First Amendment common law until the hydroxyzine kicks in.

[personal profile] gavagai is here visiting me, but like sensible people, is asleep at one am. She's been here nearly a week, and it's been quiet and lovely; we've wandered around Ithaca, we've been to Collegetown Bagels and wandered the campus and crossed Fall Creek; we walked around the lake and up gorges swollen with snowmelt and admired the shards of ice like paving slabs; also we went to a formal dance and a bowling alley on the same day, but not together! Bowling was fun and all retro-Americana and I was very bad at it; the law school spring ball was badly-organised but bright with fairy lights and golden wine all the same. We've been watching a lot of Six Feet Under, about which I have thoughts )

I have introduced Laura to a whole bunch of my friends, and [personal profile] livrelibre took us to the Corning Museum of Glass, which was stunning - a mixture, as Laura puts it, between hard science of how glass is made, and gorgeous glass artwork, chess sets, sculpture, fabulously tacky paperweights. Also, a live demonstration of glassblowing by a pair of delightfully nonchalant glassblowers in jeans and T-shirts swinging around globes of molten glass at a mere 1200 degrees Celsius. I'd heard of Corning glass, of course, but had no idea until I moved here that Corning is a small town in upstate New York. It was definitely worth the trip.

(And! The first attempt at the Palomar telescope mirror, a twenty-tonne chunk of scarred glass I remember reading about when I was younger. I was delighted by the information panel, which explained how the mirror got into the building. Answer: it didn't. It was always there, and the building was built around it. What a metaphor for how the world changes around determined people.)

The weather is getting kinder and milder all the time. After last week's epic snowstorms we have bare ground and green grass and a heavy, earthy richness to everything - creeks full of running water, daylight at six, a feeling like the world has promise. In the hubbub as I was settling down for a class, a guy piped up and said, "I don't mean to be poetic and shit, but did you know outside has a smell?" And he's totally right, snow and ice don't smell of much but conifers and wet ground do. There is a lot of mud and rain. I don't care. Equinox next week, spring is coming. Possibly related, my work is going well for the first time in a month or so; I spent some time yesterday reading up on the common law of murder, and losing myself in Coke and Hale and the King's peace and the person in being and malice aforethought and being full of wonder all over again that I get to do what I do, that I get to spend my whole day talking about words mean and what evil is and why people do what we do and what's right and what's wrong and what's a traffic regulation, and it matters.

I'm going to New Orleans next week. Shim is visiting for a week in April. It breaks my heart a little that I have been here eight months and I've had the culture shock and the long hard winter and unlearning of equity and the relearning of the common law, and now the sun is shining and I have friends and an ease borne of familiarity beneath my life... and it's nearly time to go back. I have another life in some parallel universe where I transfer to the JD programme this summer and apply for the Second Circuit clerkship that just landed in my inbox. In this life, the winter's nearly gone.
raven: (misc - inside the box)
My con law prof, this morning: "You're contradicting yourself. Yesterday I asked you if you thought McKinnon's Indiana anti-pornography ordinance would be upheld by the Supreme Court. You said no. Have you changed your mind?"

"No," I said, "today you asked if I thought the ordinance was constitutional."

"You're a cynic, Ms. [my last name]," he said, thoughtfully. And when I opened my mouth to argue: "I didn't say you're not right."

I heart my con law prof thiiiiiis much.

On the whole, it has been an aggravating day. Apparently I am whatever the opposite of a First-Amendment cheerleader is, for one thing, and after that the Siren and I attempted to go to the pool: she had forgotten shampoo; I had forgotten where my towel was, we couldn't find anywhere to park, couldn't find change, forgot the third person we were supposed to pick up and then it started to snow. Not what one would call an enormous success.

That said I had a very nice dinner and have made a start on some work, so.

My homework for this week: drafing a legislative amendment to a defence appropriations bill authorising funds for dredging a harbour, subject to two points of order: no separate authorisation of funds, and no affirmative substantive legislation. I am having ALL THE FUN IN THE WORLD doing this. I sometimes wonder whether I'm doing the right things with my life. Then I remember I am the only person in the world who actively loves legislative drafting, and then I don't worry so much.

(Okay, but I do love it! I do! It's like some kind of cross between formal logic, writing fanfic and doing cryptic crosswords, and it's a buzz to get it right.)

So, anyway, dredging of harbours. It's fascinating. Oh, and I finished The Merlin Conspiracy. about that - no real spoilers )

Oh, and, I knew this, but Diana Wynne Jones is rubbish on race. I've read ten of her books in the last six months, and it annoys me that only one character in all of those is brown. (And Nirupam Singh only appears in the one book!) I know people are going to object and say Tacroy, but, well, Tacroy doesn't come from, say, Asia in our world, or Asia in Chrestomanci's world, or wherever: he comes from the EVIL WORLD OF BROWN PEOPLE. (edit: I forgot Millie, as well - Millie, whose origin story is very indicative of her being brown, to my delight, but then this is never so much as mentioned again.) In Deep Secret, Rupert's list of potential Magids is supposed to cover the whole world - and somehow everyone on it is white. And in The Merlin Conspiracy, Pudmini is quite probably Indian, and she has an Indian name, and she's... an elephant. A talking elephant. But nevertheless. An elephant.

Oh, and Nick (and, presumably, Maree) is dark, but the narrative deals with this by telling us that he keeps being mistaken for Asian, and doesn't like it. And there's this running gag about how some of the other characters talk about his "Oriental mysticism", and I get the spirit of it - it's meant to make fun of the people who do talk about that sort of thing - but at the same time I sort of think, okay, is it that hilarious that the magic-using protagonist of a fantasy novel could be brown?

So much as I have enjoyed her books so far, I think I am setting them down for the moment. I have The Wind's Twelve Quarters from the public library, which is the last Le Guin short-story collection I haven't read. I'm looking forward to that one.

bah.

Dec. 15th, 2010 08:39 pm
raven: TOS McCoy and Kirk frowning, text: "Well that's just maddeningly unhelpful" (st - MADDENINGLY UNHELPFUL)
The South African Siren departed for New York City yesterday morning, cursing the weather, and is now in the Seychelles, taking pictures of cocktails and tagging the umbrellas as me.

I hate her so much right now I can almost forget I'm a human icicle. Welcome to Ithaca: one long ice-cream headache.

In the next sixty hours I need to: learn conflicts doctrine; learn conflicts theory; go to conflicts study session knowing nothing about a) conflicts doctrine and b) conflicts theory; return all the library books ever; print tickets; print off flight details; take conflicts exam, oh god; run home after exam and pack up my entire apartment and everything in it into eight quite small boxes; clean from top to bottom including Suspicious Black Mould; write letter to letting agency; catch 6am bus to NYC.

Oh, and sleep, I guess. Maybe.

Seriously unimpressed with life at the moment. Hate conflicts.

eta: also yuletide! IT IS A HOLLOW LAUGHTER. I can totally write 1000 words on a plane on no sleep. Liek, totally.
raven: cartoon image of bleary-looking woman with dark hair (nemi - sleeeeepy)
1. You know when someone does something so utterly kind for you that you're a little lost for words? I mentioned to the South African Siren that I was having trouble in my flat - my upstairs neighbours keep on making noise until three am, work has collided with excessive sleep disorder so the place is a tip but I don't have the time and energy to tidy and it makes me feel anxious just looking at it, etc., etc. She said, I have a spare room, I'll come and pick you up. She has installed me on a comfy bed, enough room for all my things, peace and quiet, wireless internet, and instructions to just do my thing and sleep as late as I want. I am working on next week's conflicts and feeling. Well, at ease. it's a blessing.

2. Today is a day of birthdays! It's [personal profile] brightlywoven's birthday, and I had a kind of melancholy about not being home for it, which lightened somewhat when I got a Skype-window into the party when I was sitting in the library earlier, reading about conflicts for next week. And, you know what, Skype is time-travel - at any rate I was sitting in the shadowed law school, at the top of the atrium with frantic 1Ls running around below murmuring about civil procedure, and it was all muted, seven o'clock in the evening, and in the window there were drunk people waving pink cocktails and playing the ukelele telling me they loved me, because for them it was midnight and they already knew that today ends well.

So I went back into the law school and felt horribly homesick for a little while (there's a reason, I think, why homesickness is an emotion with its own name that isn't just sadness or whatever - it's that way it's this horrible inconsolable grief that is actually also quite, quite trivial, brought on and off by scents and letters and not being able to tell nickels and quarters apart) and worked on conflicts and mostly wished I were at home. And then I went out into the night and had a very nice dinner for [personal profile] thingswithwings' birthday, and drank white wine and made silly jokes, and now it's past midnight and today ends well.

3. Just one week left, now. I have written first drafts of both of my research papers and in so doing, have realised a fundamental truth about myself: I don't do first drafts. All these years I have been mildly worried about other people talking about first drafts, or even rubbish first drafts, and I'm like... well, I always hand in my first drafts, what's wrong with me. It took until yesterday for me to realise I edit as I go along. I write and re-write paragraphs as I go, I occasionally pause and pull what I've got so far into shape. Two papers down, now the two exams. I have so far resisted making this a post about Why I Love Conflicts of Law. Be grateful.

4. Speaking of writing, I have two ficlets up from yesterday - 12/24 (Sports Night, Natalie and Dana, for [livejournal.com profile] gamesiplay) and Grace (Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Mordecai Roberts, for [livejournal.com profile] highfantastical), and am intending to get to the others.

One week, one week.

4. And lastly, the query part. Does anyone reading happen to speak Arabic, enough to translate a couple of sentences for me? I'm not sure I trust Google Translate. It's for a fic, as usual. Many thanks.
raven: white text on green and yellow background: "ten points from Gryffindor for destroying my soul" (sbp - destroying my soul)
So, I just wrote:

"But for the Constitution to have authority, it must be legitimate. As Post and Siegel put it, "the authority of the Constitution depends on... its ability to inspire Americans to recognise it as their Constitution".


...I used to be able to construct sentences once. Ones that didn't sound like Baby's First Legal Argumentation, at that. Also, hi, I write for a living how about that. Words! In order! Onna page!

oh god.

Humour me, flist? There's a meme going around and I'd like to try it.

If you were asked to pick one scene, one shot, one detail, one moment of some kind out of all the things I've made and say "This, this, for whatever reason, I remember, this is something that struck home with me, that I wanted to keep," what would it be?
raven: Geoffrey Tennant with his head in his hands (s&a - siiiiiiiiigh)
I keep writing scraps of things to post and then not posting them. Notes and queries:

1. It is now about ten days until I go home. I am still two exams and one 5000-word paper short of actually departing the country. I am also (probably) nursing the beginnings of a bad cold which is all my own fault, but, ouch. guess what I can't sleep )

On a slightly lighter note, my psychiatrist's name is Dr. McKenzie. In light of the SG-1 rewatch, I am finding this small fact impossibly entertaining.

(2. Also in light of the SG-1 rewatch, a random thought that occurred to me. You know what the internet needs? The internet needs fic about Claire Ballard. She's the definition of a minor character, yes, but consider the one detail we do know about her: she was a field archaeologist, publishing, working on digs, generally being awesome, with a very young child in tow, in 1965. Why has no one written omg-women-are-awesome fic about her? Why does the whole internet not cater to my whims?)

3. Exams start tomorrow (not for me, thankfully), and the law school is an interestingly fraught place to be at the moment. I thought I was immune thus far, and then I found myself getting obscenly, irrationally furious that one of the precious library carrels was being taken up by someone who wasn't a law student. (The law library is airy and beautiful and technically a public library, so it does get undergrads and people from other schools studying in it. But, you know, law school finals, tomorrow, be fair.)

"How'd you know they weren't a law student taking an outside class?" asked Shim later.

"Because," I said, through gritted teeth, "they were reading an LSAT prep book."

I stomped off downstairs to get some coffee and find somewhere else to study, and when I came out bearing a mug of awful vending machine coffee Tobermory yelled at me, poured it down the sink and got me real coffee from CTB. I think it's people's kindness that keeps me afloat. (Though I'm not doing reverb10, a lot of my friends are and I've been watching the prompts, and today's question asked about what kinds of community you've been part of in 2010. I wouldn't ever have believed it a few months ago, especially given previous experience, but the law school is a community, and one I'm happy to be part of: it's left-leaning, vaguely elitist, far from perfect, but has a quality of shared endeavour.)

4.. That, and birthday cake left over from a party I went to at the weekend (got drunk on pink champagne, I am so cool) and also "Little Wings" by Kris Delmhorst, which I've had on repeat the last couple of days. (artist's free download at link, try it, it's great).

5. It is cold like breaking. Have I mentioned that, recently? It is cold enough that you expect the air to shatter. Over the weekend I piled into a car with [personal profile] thingswithwings, [personal profile] eruthros and [personal profile] livrelibre and we went on a trip around the lake wine-tasting. (Which was fun! There were interesting whites and rieslings, rosés and sparkling wines, but the highlight was definitely a spirit tasting at the north end of the lake, where we were given honey vodka, mead and maple syrup liqueur by a kind chap with a tendency to dreadful puns. Maple syrup liqueur. I didn't buy any because it would be dangerous to have in the house.) My point is by the time we were driving back at the close of the day, I said something about how you could take a picture and caption it "desolation, a study" - the snow flurrying, the frosty intensity in the lake, the landscape just losing all depth, hazing into grey and white and back again. I'd never seen bleakness like it; I'd never seen anywhere with quite so much nowhere to go around. I mean, it has its own beauty, but it's not a simple kind.

In short: it's very cold. Hi.

6. I have vids stuck in my head. The constructed reality vid, but also apparently the internet hasn't any Sam-Carter-is-awesome vid to satisfy me, and now I keep.... pondering. T'wings assures me that vidding is not as scary as I think it is, but nevertheless, nevertheless I am skeered, because it is not like writing. Writing is... okay, for whatever reason, I don't have any issues about writing. It's something that happens. I feel like If I took up vidding, I would have to.... make things happen.

I am aware this makes no sense.

7. And now it's 1.30am, and I can't sleep and my meds aren't working, so I am putting bluebook citations in my attainder paper and moping. One week and four days until I go home.
raven: (doctor who - hello sarah jane)
Precisely three weeks from now I will be half-asleep above the mid-Atlantic. So close, so far. In the meantime I am subsisting entirely off peanut butter, whisky, gummy vitamins and battered Galaxy bars, and spending my time either working, failing to sleep, reading decade-old SG-1 fic or wailing on Shim down the phone. I have done approximately a quarter of my outlining and a quarter of my paper writing (my professor writes: "Nice start - why don't you write about due process?", to which my response has not so far been "DO I LOOK LIKE SOMEONE WHO KNOWS ANYTHING ABOUT CON LAW DO I" only through a magnificent quantity of self-control.

On Thursday morning I got up at twelve, stared at the ceiling, went back to sleep. Then hit said ceiling at a hundred miles per hour half an hour later, hit the shower, found clothes, managed to have earrings in and boots on, even, by the time the South African Siren wandered in, looked around and said, "...you just got up, didn't you."

We ran out to the car, which was stuffed with people. "I drove past them all at the bus stop waiting for buses that wouldn't come," the Siren explained, and the bleakness of the sky seemed particularly telling. "It's a day to be kind, I think."

I agreed, squished myself in, and was a model of togetherness and poise, until we got to where we going, and I jumped up and down and shouted, "Shit, I forgot my TICKET!" just in time to be introduced to the Siren's mother, who is looking more regretful by the moment at leaving a southern hemisphere summer. ("I'm so glad she's making friends," she told me gently, a little later, while I was desperately trying to give off the impression of being put-together young professional rather than half-asleep work-crazed caffiene-deprived woman.) The Siren, who is all kindness, really, clapped me on the back, refused to be intimidated by my sheer grey-weather incompetence, ran me home to get my ticket and brought me back again.

Explaining Thanksgiving to foreigners is difficult, as my adviser swiftly seems to have discovered ("We thought the Native Americans suffered," said YJ, an earnest chap of Chinese descent over dinner, and he gave up) but nevertheless, the law school took pity on us all and said they would pay for us to have lunch with the graduate-and-international-students' association. Lunch was, actually, surprisingly nice. Tobermory and Baby E had kept some room for us, and we went to get the food. It was informal - you had to serve yourself and eat off melamime tables - but the food was extortionate in quantity, and the sweet potato was sweet and the turkey wasn't dry and there was good coffee. The desserts were lacklustre, but you can't have everything in life.

Halfway through lunch Tobermory stood up and said, "I'd like to say, I'm thankful for all my friends. Except Iona" - to laughter and applause and people making affectionate faces at me.

I waved a regal hand and ate more pie. A lot has changed in the last fifteen weeks of my life, but it certainly hasn't all been bad.

Afterwards the Siren dropped me off home, and I should add my apartment is a biohazard right now - it's full of discarded articles, sweet wrappers, unwashed dishes and laundry, and to add final insult I had a wee incident with a hole-punch and everything's covered in chads, so help me God - but it was looking suprisingly cosy against the backdrop of the bleakest day I've lived through recently. One oddity of the last week or so has been strange, sporadic power cuts: five- or ten-minute intervals heralded by nothing but a sub-audible whine. Because I spent a good deal of my formative years in Delhi, I have an instinct for a loss of power, even in daylight; it's like the world around you has taken a breath and not let it out, an unspoken question hanging on the suddenly charged air - and then you look up and there are no figures displaying on the microwave or whatever, but just for that second, you know, without being told. That's what Thanksgiving daytime was like, on a bigger scale - bleakly grey and freezing cold of course, a cold I associate with bad things coming, and that loss-of-power desertion; no one on the streets, something missing at the heart of things. It's a lonely place, sometimes, this.

So I got home to my tip of an apartment, and turned on all the lights, and all at once it was warm, and welcoming, and nice, despite the bleak feeling outside. I curled up on the couch and got an hour or two of work done, drinking tea sent in the post, feeling rather okay about things. And once I'd done that, I called a cab and went out again.

See, I had kind of had my doubts whether this was a good idea - whether having more than one Thanksgiving meal in a day was going to get a bit Vicar of Dibley - but then I thought, you know, what the hell, I will love seeing [profile] thingwithwings and [personal profile] eruthros and [personal profile] livrelibre, and they will totally not mind if I don't do their delicious spread the justice it deserves.

That.... was not an issue. Oh, food. More turkey, sweet potato, squash, delicious salad with walnuts in it, a kind of bombastic pinot noir and my subsequent re-realisation that I can eat more than anyone else I know, especially when I am living off a diet of peanut butter and whisky. We got tipsy, talked politics - somewhat depressingly; though we rounded it off with a solid conclusion that clearly the world would be better if we became pirates and went around dispensing loot and social justice - and watched "Dalek", the first new Who episode which features Daleks. (obv.) [personal profile] livrelibre is in the enviable position of just starting to watch Doctor Who and is being shown it in increments. (I cannot wait to show her "Blink".)

"Dalek", actually, holds up to the rewatch. I hadn't seen it since [livejournal.com profile] hathy_col and I were at a con in Milton Keynes back on the weekend it first aired (I remember now, we'd been wandering around all day with little badges marked "Dalek Virgin", and the second word handily came off for the second day of the con.) I was watching it, and there's a marvellous woman in it who is Van Staten's assistant, and gets him dumped by the roadside in the end, and I was watching it thinking "...is that? Yes, it is Osiris from SG-1!"

Of course, reading back my own review of the episode from 2005, I apparently had this exact same revelation in almost the same words when watching it with Colleen. I am so smart. So I wandered home, fell asleep on my couch - and managed to move myself to my bed during the night, which is, sincerely, an achievement - and have made it through the next couple of days without what one might call major crazy. Three weeks, three weeks.

Things

Nov. 16th, 2010 11:33 pm
raven: Martha against washed-out background (doctor who - martha pwns everything)
"Unfried dough! May we eat it and remember the day the Avatar was not boiled in oil!"

Okay, okay, I get why people like this show so much. Also did I mention I love Sokka? I love Sokka. Eternal voice of reason! With a boomerang!

Here are some other things:

The good:

-So, you all remember I was furious with my research partner? this is what happened next )

The bad:

-When I first planned this year abroad, I remember telling Shim, rather blithely, "At least neither of us has an important birthday, and we don't have a very exciting anniversary."

Well, today is Shim's birthday, and I sent him a silly Penguin art book off Amazon, and I believe they even wrapped it for me - which, actually, is doing better than last year, when the people delivering my present for him took four months longer than planned - but nevertheless. Nevertheless, flist. I wish I were on the other side of the Atlantic tonight. I do, and I do, and what is there to say about it. Happy birthday, my love. Wish I were there.

The merely peculiar:

cut for mental health stuff )

Work continues overwhelming, but, well, still here. I had a delightful - sincerely! - class the other day on the issue of popular constitutionalism and whether the US really needs judicial review. "What do you think?" asked the professor, and then grinned at me. "Iona, shut up. You're not allowed to talk."

"But-"

"Not for two hours."

I shut up and didn't talk for two hours. It was a very interesting class.

Oh, also! I have finally written my yuletide letter; dear author, if you are reading this I can only advise in the best traditions of the internet that you shouldn't read the comments.

Back to Avatar! Sokka is a Great Detective. We know this because he is wearing a funny hat.
raven: Alex Kingston as River Song, holding up a gun (doctor who - river song)
During the last five days, I have cried through: Swades; Caramel; Mumbai Meri Jaan, and Sleepless in Seattles. Mostly they are meant to be funny. Let us not even talk about Mumbai Meri Jaan. Let us not. Or that bit in Swades where really obvious spoiler )

So, I met [personal profile] thingswithwings' puppy, and that was nice (he is teeny but determined; he wants you to Take Him Seriously, dammit, and that objective is usually thwarted by all these pesky humans sitting on the floor and going, "Who's a pretty puppy, you are, you are!" and blowing kisses at his adorable nose) and then as previously related, I went to the law school's annual Fall Ball, and the South African Siren and I have decided to put aside a day in the nearish future to drink pink wine and watch Bridget Jones's Diary.

I think possibly somewhere, a long distance away, I have some sort of opinion about what's going on at home. (On the other hand, I may just get off the plane in December and be surprised that it's not that afternoon moment in August when I left.) But for the most part, despite occasionally getting out of the house and doing fun things, I am sort of doing nothing but dealing with a combination of work that doesn't get any less or any less threatening, and the sort of low mood that Ithaca's awful weather happily provides.

(I malign it a little, today. It was beautiful, today. But for the most part I've never lived anywhere where the sky is quite so constrained and grey.)

But, yes. Living off cereal, pushing through the mood, writing awful papers and, because I am sleeping worse than ever, shutting my brain off by watching films on Netflix in the small hours. It's not the best of lives, but there are only five and a half more weeks of it. Still here, just... off the radar a bit.

Fall Ball

Nov. 7th, 2010 12:39 pm
raven: text: "There's a full and very reasonable explanation that mostly does not involve me being drunk" (sbp - me being drunk)
The South African Siren came round last night and shouted through the door, "I am wearing a DUVET!"

I opened the door in the middle of a lipstick crisis ("I didn't think," I said to the mirror a bit later, "that I was the sort of person who has lipstick crises", but apparently this is possible) and admired her new winter coat, which is less coat and more protective shell. She came in to my pleasantly warm, room-temperature apartment and started to turn a delicate shade of lobster pink.

Taruithorn held their annual Gandalf's fireworks and bonfire last night. For the first time in several years, I didn't attend. Instead the Siren and I got dressed up in thin layers of chiffon and sparkles, headed out into the sub-zero night and went to the law school's annual Fall Ball. This involved teetering around surrounded by some of the drunkest undergraduates I've yet met - this was eight in the evening, and there were some of them smelling of gin and wearing shorts - and going to pre-ball drinks another friend was having, in a very small, very nice apartment that filled up with graduate law students and their plus-ones and acquired a warm-lit, tipsy quality very quickly.

My friend E., who needs a pseud, I suspect, is the only underage person in the law school, which makes her life very difficult. She's also a very serious, studious person, whose sense of humour needs coaxing out bit by bit. Application of cheap Riesling seems to do the trick. Application of such to everyone is probably what got us through the even-more-sub-zero night to the engineering department. I explained to Baby E, with the help of the golden quality to everything, that as I am all of three years older than her, I have taken it as a personal charge to get her to have more fun. She smiled at me fondly and tolerated me. The entire cohort thrives on an atmosphere of patient, kind toleration. This is, I suspect, a natural consequence of taking seventy people from nearly as many different countries and expecting them to cope with the various caprices of an Ithaca winter and a determinedly idiosyncratic department. It leads to bonding through bemusement.

Where were we? Getting up the hill, through the sub-zero cold, and finding the place.

Which was weird, actually; the ball was held in the atrium of the building. It was full of passing engineering students, who had clearly decided they were going to stay late in the library and get some work done, and now their way out was blocked by five hundred law students in formal dress dancing to "Thriller". I waved at one of my upstairs neighbours. He waved back at me with an expression of confusion, which might have been the dancing, and might have been the sight of me in a red and black sparkly chiffon dress when he's never seen me not in pyjamas yelling at him to shut the hell up, it's two am. He doesn't seem to hold a grudge. He disappeared into the night with a face like the world tilting below him.

One of the real law students, another nice chap who definitely needs a pseud, danced with me most of the evening, and as he was retiring, said, wonderingly, "You... people" - motioning to most of my cohort waving their hands around and kicking up their heels - "really know how to relax, don't you?"

I told him it's because we have one chance at everything. For me, and for most of the rest, this is the last holiday from real life. Where other people might choose to exist, we live - much too loudly, much too excitably, with far too much nineties pop - but we do. I don't know how much of it he understood, but he kept on dancing with me until the cooling down of the night.

By the small hours, the Siren, Baby E and I teetered back down the hill, called a cab and drifted home in a collective mood of mellow, and talking happy nonsense about the people we'd met and danced with and the gossip we'd collected, and at the close of it all I sank into my pillows, watched the last bit of Caramel, and fell asleep feeling good about the world. Less than six weeks, now. We're still here.
raven: Alex Kingston as River Song, holding up a gun (doctor who - river song)
If another American academic tells me that Britain doesn't have a constitution, I am going to KILL THINGS. Hi, I woke up cranky.

Anyway.

[personal profile] thingswithwings did a signal-boosting post (thank you!) for [community profile] dark_agenda's people-who-aren't-white in Yuletide project. Here it is - it's pretty interesting.

So of course I was thinking about my Yuletide nominations, from the other day. There aren't non-white people in many of them, actually; there are in Deep Space Nine, of course (Julian Bashir, Sisko and Jake, Kassidy Yates, Worf), and while the characters in "Recessional" could feasibly of any ethnicity or origin, Vienna Teng herself is not white, so.

Then I started thinking about the Chronicles of Chrestomanci. Millie. Is Millie (and, thus, Roger and Julia, I s'pose) a brown person? I can't remember an explicit reference in the books, but her origin story isn't suggestive of her being white. I'd love a story that actually explored this in some way - I mean, I think every single one of the other characters is white except Nirupam Singh, who never interacts with her anyway, so there would be lots to explore - but somehow I do end up writing these things myself.

In other news, Shim sent me a box of Jammie Dodgers. I love him.

(I mean, I did love him before. But.)

In other other news, the sudden grey weather and my inability to do any work today and yesterday may be related. FIE UPON YOU TOO, UNIVERSE.

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