raven: (misc - winter)
Well, that was a truly bizarre evening. [livejournal.com profile] hathy_col and I left the centre of Preston at 10pm. The idea was for us to take half an hour getting into Ormskirk, where rather than subject Colleen and her car to the rural roads, I'd get on a train home, which would be laborious (it goes round the houses) but warm and safe for all of us.

Cut to the M58, after dark. Picture this like a film, one of those Richard Curtis confections about being home for Christmas - you're driving along in the dim lights, listening to Amanda Palmer, or at least Colleen is driving and I'm making unhelpful cracks about how at least we haven't been hit by an iceberg yet, small blessings, etc, and then the snow comes down and suddenly we're somewhere else entirely. I've never seen snow like this in England, never. It came down in enormous blizzard flakes, driving into the windscreen, layering on the embankment and the verges, encroaching inwards until suddenly you couldn't see the hard shoulder, and then you couldn't see the right-hand lane, and then the traffic was in single file, other than the bastard four by fours who think they're not risking everyone's neck by overtaking, and the snow began to creep.

We made it into Ormskirk slooooooowly, and then I couldn't persuade my father not to come and rescue me from there. I said I'd get a taxi; he raised the very good point that there isn't a taxi firm in existence that would come out tonight; I said I'd stay the night, and then realised of course that since the bastards stole my handbag last month I don't have keys to my parents' house any more. Lord, is there anything more embarrassing then being rescued by your parents your first night at home for four months? But desperate times, etc., and actually when my father appeared he seemed to be quite enjoying the adventure. And all the way, there was the blessing of the gorgeous Christmas card look to everything. For the benefit of my American and Canadian friends who are going "snow, what of it" round about now, I was born in Liverpool, a place known for salty air and seawater and not, shall we say, rural snowy idyll. In other words, it has never snowed - properly, I mean, not dissolving-on-contact-with-tarmac snow - where I grew up since I was a very tiny person indeed. (The internet suggests that 1990 was a snowy year - I do remember it, vaguely.) And suddenly there's all these familiar places, these places which I know so well, suddenly unfamiliar - suddenly as though we're in another place altogether. Colleen and I wandered down the road and looked at perfect snowy firs and electrical wires marked out with snow against the sky and lovely virgin snow we could crunch over, and the light was reflecting over and over off it unti there was a sort of two am lividity to everything, and I was charmed.

All things considered, it could have been a lot worse; for one thing, Colleen and I got home without incident, and yesterday I made it home from Edinburgh on the main line trains without major incident - I was a little late, but nothing serious at all. I'm impressed with the train companies this week, I must say; first the East Coast line, then the western route, and the local trains are all running.

At this point one might be moved to ask why I was in Preston tonight anyway. IANTO PANTO ) On the whole, it was a very strange evening, but I think I liked it.

Tomorrow, it is Christmas Eve and there's four inches of snow in the garden. I think I may make a snowman.


Mar. 13th, 2009 12:49 am
raven: black and white; Tenth Doctor on a bed, looking up at Martha (doctor who - in bed together)
Small Cat has just arrived on my desk, and is investigating The Perks of Being a Wallflower with hir little nose. She is actually cat-sized now, but continues to lack morals. As evidence: small cat nose in my small-human small-glass of orange juice. The one thing that cat will not touch is whisky. Everything else is fair game, up to and including black coffee and fresh chillies.

I am tired. Deep, in-my-bones, want-to-sleep-for-a-week tired - and a little wary of the thought that the Oxford term is about to end when there is still four weeks of mine to go. I miss being an undergraduate, oh, so much, but that above all: the thought that it was sometimes all over, and you could go home. I am in the not-unenviable position where there are three calendar months until it is all over, but when I consider that those three months have a coursework assignment, five exams and a legal research project in it, as well as being the only time I have to find a job, I kind of quail a bit. The trick, I think, is to not hold it all in my head at once, and apply blissful ignorance to the various bits.

I do still love law, though. In case anyone was in any doubt. My research topic is, briefly, how to reconcile Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing...) with the needs of witnesses: disabled witnesses, Deaf witnesses, child witnesses, those who would rather not testify in public, etc., etc. Most likely I will not look at all of these, and narrow it to just one category - I'm tempted to pick child witnesses, right now, but will see - but all of this is contingent on my, er, actually starting the thing. Argh. First comes coursework, which is about the creation of express trusts and the mechanism of proprietary estoppel, and then it will soon be exam-time - criminal and land - and maybe then I might get as far as actually facing the blank page.

Like I said, I am tired. Last night, [livejournal.com profile] shimgray and a baby lawyer friend and I went to see the term's OULES shows, which were Robin Hood and Indiana Jones and were delightful, particularly the latter, which was notable for the way the Nazis kept on edging to the side of the stage, picking up saxophone and guitar and becoming an impromptu back-up band. [livejournal.com profile] robette_wild was the lead, and was kind of utterly adorable, and the comedy swordfighting cracked me up. It was an utterly joyous production. (Also worth the price of admission: [livejournal.com profile] sccye in a succession of beautiful dresses, and [livejournal.com profile] darwinian_woman being faaar too scary as Death. She has a certain aptitude for gliding. It's very unnerving.) I decided then and there, actually, that I must, absolutely must, be in the next OULES play. I'll play a tree. Maybe a corpse again. Possibly a comic piece of furniture. But for something that made me so, so happy, to have stopped doing it was stupid and self-destructive, even if it does take up time I don't have. I mean... OULES. I was in four plays, played a corpse, a dork, a pirate, a goddess and Nymphadora Tonks, and I never didn't have a wonderful time, I was dropped on my head, beaten with a baguette, tortured by a cheese and watched the world go past from a college roof. It was kind of magical.

Tonight, I ended up watching Dimensions in Time (oh dear, oh dear), courtesy of DocSoc, and should very definitely be in bed now, I think. Tomorrow I ought to do a lot of work, and there is an All Souls open evening that I thought about going to but, on reflection, shouldn't. The appeal is getting to see inside All Souls, and I've done that - for the beating the bounds ceremonies last May - and seeing it a second time isn't worth the horror of what it would do to my non-existent academic confidence. I hate explaining to people about my not-a-real-degree as it is, because, well, it's just a thing, a kind of anodyne thing that isn't a job or letters after my name. I know, I know, I was not made for academia, and I would hate it, but living in Oxford, it's kind of difficult to remember that doing anything else has value. I'm just... not that bright. Not the way academics are, that way they have of being breathlessly confident about things, because, well, I don't have that wiring in my head. All Souls will just make me sad.

raven: stock shot of a wall with "I love you" graffiti (stock - love)
Previously on Raven's Exciting Life, she was trying very hard not to fall into traffic. I am pleased to report that this did not transpire, that frosty cold weather is very uplifting, so is shepherding your forever directionally-challenged mother around London on one of the last weekends before Christmas, and surprisingly, SSRIs can be kinder and sweeter on your body than they seem to be on TV.

It's funny, the difference a week can make. This time last week I was tending towards the entirely-insane, and thank you, you people who were calming and soothing and threatened to pick me up and carry me to the doctor's themselves. Thank you. Because, I went, and my GP said, well. If they make you feel this bad, and you actually are this ridiculously stubborn and bloody-minded (note: she did not actually say this; she merely looked at me in a resigned sort of a way) then maybe I'd better just come off every drug I was on and we could see how that went. So I went home and didn't take my pills. On Thursday, I went to school. I went to a criminal law class where the main theme was the murders, assaults and rapes that are committed by depressed people, and I was angry, but fine. And on Thursday night [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong and I rolled up to OULES on a tipsy cloud of joy. (OULES, for those new to the party - the Oxford amateur drama group that has, in its own special way, eaten me and spat me out in its own, gin-drinking, bad-punning, raucously-singing image.) The Michalemas pantomime was Beauty and the Beast, complete with mysterious men in black and a Belle who engages in genetic engineering on the side and a Beast who was, I believe, supposed to be, er, beastly. Unfortunately it was played by [livejournal.com profile] sccye, who was all pretty and furry and said "raaargh!" a lot, which led to the audience all exclaiming "Awww!" whenever he came on, much to his distinct chagrin. In short, it was a delight. And then [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong and I, who are respectfully employed and respectfully postgraduate respectively, did not go to the cast party but went home, ate an entire fruit strudel and went to bed early. Ah, my advancing years.

And so to the weekend, wherein I went to school again, went to London, and met my parents, who are on good form, if mostly looking like surprised deep-sea fishermen at the Christmas lights and people and shoppers and other things one does not generally find in hospitals. (My mother is at it again: on our way out, she asked me, or at least thought to ask me, have you taken the water bottle. Unfortunately, what came out was, "Have you taken the blood?" She later explained it with "It's an important fluid! It's the same thing!" I still think she's working too hard.

And, later, she got lost, she reported. She was supposed to be walking to Euston, and asking policemen and going on abortive detours and at one point, asking what she described as, "A man in a funny costume. A funny hat. And a pipe. He said I should get the number 27 bus."

"Man in a funny hat," I said. "Were you by any chance on Baker Street?"

Apparently my mother is the only person in the world who can ask Sherlock Holmes for directions and still be lost.)

And so we get to Sunday, and there are no traces of either fluoxetine or citalopram left in my body. And my god, I can tell. I have my short-term memory back. I'm not sleeping every hour the universe sends. And, er, I had the usual, er, disagreement with my mother over the weekend ("No, I am not fat. Look, really. I'm not. See, my jeans fit. See, you can put two fingers between the denim and my hips. No, I do not need to 'bring myself in hand!'") and managed not to say, um, I have been on appetite-suppressant drugs for five months, but now I want to eat. I actually do feel fatter, but I suspect that's my body reacting to such horrors as bread and pasta and cheese and lentils and all the other things it ritually disdained for all that time. Mmmm, food. I like it. In short, I am smarter, hungrier and perkier. If I get depressed again, I get depressed again. In the meantime, my braaaain, how I missed you, darling. I am glad, also, to have been spared the discontinuation effects. Long half-life, I guess, or just me being bloody-minded.

(The only side-effect that hasn't vanished has been my Technicolor dreamscape; I might get used to that, in time, complete with melodramatic thrashing about and creaking bedsprings. We shall see.)

And so, and so. In other news, I have a baby-dissertation supervisor - who thinks I have a topic that could actually work and be interesting and topical and other such things - and I have all the homework in the world to be catching up on, but am feeling zen about it, because I can catch up, I will not fail all my exams. Things to do over the next week include said homework, going to a few pro bono meetings and applying for jobs, which will need me to do something about my crazed-dilletante CV, but yes. Am working on all of that. And enjoying being awake, too.

And in yet other news: still haven't started [livejournal.com profile] yuletide fic. Several pages of Merlin/Arthur pr0n progressing nicely.

edit: Also! Was in London, saw this dress. Fell in love. Do not have money, do need not another dress. But... love. I wish to record my love.
raven: quadrangle of Christ Church, Oxford, under snow (stock - oxford)
It is 9.07am, I have been awake since eight despite having fallen into bed past three, the sky above my window is a glorious, intense blue and I am happy. This was - hopefully - not my last term doing OULES, and this was definitely not the last OULES play I'll ever see, but, of course, there will be a not-quite-the-same quality about it. Last night was the OULES cast party; today is Friday of eighth week of Trinity of my last year - quite literally, I will still be a full member of this university for just today and tomorrow - and yes, everyone gets their three years as an undergraduate, etc., this is all I was signed up for, etc., etc., but there's still a very vocal part of me making quiet, plaintive noises and considering clinging to the college stonework until they pry my fingers out from between the cracks.

But. That aside. That held firmly aside, I was here for three years. I was here in this city of aquatint, I have lived here and made friends here and been utterly, dizzily happy here. I joined OULES because all the cool kids were doing it, not because I have anything like, you know, acting ability - but in full knowledge and approval of the project. OULES is the Oxford University Light Entertainment Society - it does plays at the end of every term that are low-commitment, low-budget and rife with bad puns, done in small venues to affectionate audiences, giving all the takings to charity and generally finishing with the cast, their friends, admirers and camp followers getting ludicrously drunk and singing obscene songs. And I love it. I do love it. I love the joy of it, I love the enthusiasm, I love how, as [livejournal.com profile] sebastienne explained to me last night, Oules tend to be beautiful, beautiful people safe enough in their skins to get up on stage and be silly in front of everyone they know. If I could have my three years over, the one thing I'd do differently is to go out and join OULES in my very first term, rather than in my sixth - although, right now, I'm not feeling so bad about things as they are. I have been in four shows, co-directed/written/produced one, and I seem to have signed myself up to help write next year's garden shows. And thus everything moves on, etc.

Last night, unlike Tuesday and Wednesday, we didn't do the shows in the garden due to the pouring, pouring rain. I like being out in the garden - it's very convivial - but being in Wadham Chapel has the advantage of not having to yell lines, and being very close to the audience (who are possibily sitting askance at listening to jokes about sodomy when perched beneath enormous stained glass windows). The plays were "Harry Potter and the Generic Adventure" (I got to be Tonks and Luna; I am hoping the casting was not personal) and "The Reduced Tolkien" (I got to be a Dork - I wore sub fusc and snarled a lot) and they were both very good, featuring, among other things, spurious pirates, shape-changers, Weasley wigs made of mop-heads dyed orange, a toilet door stolen from a skip, Dorks and Death Eaters and the goth-elves of Gothlorien. They were marvellous. Afterwards, [livejournal.com profile] chiasmata and [livejournal.com profile] luminometrice and I returned the toilet door to the skip (we carried it through Wadham back door with injunctions to passers-by to hold the door, because we were... already holding a door) and made our merry and well-equipped way to the party.

Which started in the pub, outside, where it was perfectly warm, and people were drinking and happy and merry, and people were kissing [livejournal.com profile] osymandias again, and I was being fed cider and appreciating the entire world, and we sat there until they threw us out. And then, somehow, I'm not entirely sure, we ended up having our party on one of the college roofs. I've been here three years, as I said more than once last night, but I've never been on a college roof yet. And it was, oh, magical. We were right at the level of the skyline, we could see Christ Church and the dome of the Radcliffe Camera on a level with us, and we were scrambling over the slates and lurking between battlements and, finally, perching on the ridgepole, ridiculously close to the sky. And cocktailing people - "A cocktailing, a cocktailing, there's going to be a cocktailing! And after the cocktailing, the intercrural sex!" - which is an archaic and highly traditional ceremony in which new members of OULES are adopted by older members, who then pour wine down their throats whilst they are horizontal (ah, I remember it well, etc.) and welcome them into the fold. And then there was singing, first raucous and gleeful and obscene, but growing softer and softer, so by two in the morning I was leaning against a side of slates and staring straight up, humming silly songs about yoghurt, and looking into the sky towards the west. And - it sounds pretentious, it sounds twee and impossible, but nevertheless, it happened - I saw a shooting star. The only one I've ever seen, burning very briefly down towards the horizon, and I made a wish. It was: let this last forever.

It didn't come true. In the end, [livejournal.com profile] shimgray and I clambered down, made our way to ground level pushing along [livejournal.com profile] luminometrice, who has an exam today, and was happily carrying a sign saying "VOICE IN HEAD", down the roof and down the stairs and down the High Street, and we sang our way softly through Radcliffe Square and home. Where I slept very soundly and had very slow, soft-edged dreams, something distant all mixed up with thoughts about what Oxford's dreaming spires dream of, if undergraduate feet disturb them, or if the city will remain itself, beautiful and unchangeable, long after I've gone. I'm glad of that; that Oxford will always be here, that I will always have been here, that these glorious things that have happened can never unhappen.

I am here another week, more or less. I am going to follow [livejournal.com profile] slasheuse's example and say, if there is anything you would like me to blog about concerning Oxford - or anything, really, but for now, Oxford - tell me and I shall. I've been in love with, and writing about, this city for all my time here, but I don't think I've said everything there is to be said about it quite yet. I will talk about matters trivial or matters deeply profound. At least, I will try. Speak or forever hold thy peace.

And now I return to bed, happy, happy, and happy again.
raven: Paul Gross as Geoffrey Tennant holding up his hand against a blue background (s&a - feeling a little crazy)
29BC - Virgil, a Roman poet who probably didn't deserve any of this, is instructed by Augustus to write an epic glorifying the Romans much in the style of Homer. Homer's great themes being, to whit, a war and then the journey of one man, Virgil includes both. The first words of the Aeneid are: "Arma virumque cano..."

nobody expects divine intervention... not in the very first scene, anyway! )
raven: text: "There's a full and very reasonable explanation that mostly does not involve me being drunk" (sbp - me being drunk)
I have my window open a crack. I can hear the sea.

.....aaaah. Okay. Sane now. Really.

Maybe not quite. But I am back in the frozen north (er - actually, it's a couple of degrees warmer than Oxford), and feeling rather better about life. The Aeneid was wonderful - more thoughts on it when said thoughts are something beyond "omgyay!" - and the week ended very very well indeed. And now, amazingly, I am home. I didn't particularly think about what I was doing this vac, mostly because my life ended with the Aeneid, and now I'm here and really rather quite surprised about it.

But. Pleasantly surprised. At nine o'clock this morning I got a text from my mother, to the effect of, am in Dubai, see you later. I am an awful person and had entirely forgotten she was there, mostly due to the pernicious effect of the Aeneid cast party the night before. It was drunken. That is a big surprise to everyone, I know. But it was also joyous and filled with happy people, and I had not eaten in days, and drinking was clearly the best idea ever. (I tried. I really, really did. I ate a sandwich and everything. In the afternoon, I was packing up my room with the windows open with [livejournal.com profile] chiasmata knitting and making soothing noises in the windowseat, and was being gradually consumed by maudlin. Because Balliol are not made of win, they want me to clear out all my crap. I, therefore, was putting away books, thinking, oh, won't have time to read much next term, I may as well take it home for good. Oh, god. Leaving Oxford. Please to not be getting me started on this always-cheerful topic.)

But, yes, yes, cast party. I participated in some glorious cocktailing, and now have adopted two more OULES children as well as Maria. And spent the rest of the evening curled up on the Couch of Lesbian Doom, so called because through a bit of syllogistic trickery, everyone on it was - here's the clever part - by definition a lesbian ([livejournal.com profile] osymandias and [livejournal.com profile] shimgray objected to this slightly, on grounds of being male, but they were both quite clearly wrong) and I was rather extravagantly rude to a gatecrashing sleazy boy drifting through the party (although not quite as rude as [livejournal.com profile] chiasmata, who was heard to wish quite cheerfully that his penis would fall off), and after that, sinking slowly into sleepy contentment. Ahhhh.

Yes, nine o'clock this morning, my mother was in Dubai, and by six, we were both in Manchester Airport, she sleepy and endearingly irrational and me sleepy and wearing the Cat Ears of Troy. (Because, er, everything that was involved in the Aeneid in any capacity has become the "X! Of! Troy!", said just like that, with pauses for dramatic piano music. My life has become constituted and defined by the norms and mores of a student bastardisation of Virgil, why do you ask?) She's been gone a month, and I've been away for three, and it was nice to wander back tonight and dazedly talk about nothing much. She informs me that I've lost weight. To which my answer is, um, I haven't eaten in days, this is hardly surprising. (Is it some sort of grand only-daughter cliche that this should be our very first topic of conversation? Sigh.)

And now I'm home, and feeling sane enough to sit still and write for the first time in a while, and it's funny, but I'd forgotten what absolute silence sounds like. Above the aforementioned sound of the waves - which are particularly clear tonight; it's rough, and the trees are mostly still - there's no sound at all. It's immensely soothing. (I mean, no wonder I get crazy living in central Oxford. I lived here for eight years before that.) And now I can write again, and am eating a little more, and I might even be able to do some work for, er, Finals. These are all good things. (Which is not to say I am not missing Oxford ridiculously. I am, and with almost comical immediacy.) Things I have wanted to post for a while, and not done so through being crazy busy:

-[livejournal.com profile] remixredux08! Hurrah, hurrah! I love Remix, and this is, frighteningly enough, my fifth year doing it. (And almost not; I signed up literally minutes before sign-ups closed.) I'm pretty excited about this year's - my author is intimidatingly awesome, in the good way, and writes about places and people and I really want to revisit. One thing I like is that I tend to have more fun with the writing each successive year - last year's effort was "Ways of Not Speaking (the Poetry in Motion Remix)",which I don't think I ever reposted - and that bodes well for this time around. We shall see.

-[livejournal.com profile] lgbtfest, run by [livejournal.com profile] penknife and my dear [livejournal.com profile] mireille719. I love this idea; it addresses something that's always bugged me, namely, the relatively small amount of fic out there that addresses, alongside slash, notions of queerness and gender and sexuality in fandom's fandoms. For once, my timing is fabulous - prompts have just now opened for claiming - and they really are pretty cool. (I came up with exactly one. I fail. Other people emphatically do not, the list makes very intriuging reading.) I'm not sure if I'm going to sign up yet; I really ought not to do more than one ficathon at one time, but I do want to take the opportunity to finish my Teddy-Lupin-is-amazingly-genderqueer story, which is currently festering at 2000 mostly disconnected words.

-(Also, a 9000-word-story, Star Trek, supposed to be for [livejournal.com profile] likethesun2's birthday, except not, because see above re: me failing, is festering as well, and that's annoying me because it was going so well. Again, we shall see, now I can sit still and, you know, construct sentences again.)

-My darling wife [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong has divorced me on Facebook. This is a tragedy of epic proportions. It is epic and tragic. (More than the Aeneid. Yes.)

She does, however, have her reasons. Er. Um. In brief: I have a boy; I am as surprised as everyone else, believe me; it's [livejournal.com profile] shimgray; I am happy.

Right. To bed, to bed! In the morning I am going to the beach.
raven: Paul Gross as Geoffrey Tennant holding up his hand against a blue background (s&a - feeling a little crazy)
"There will be struggle. There will be sacrifice. There will be tears, there will be the occasional fistfight. And in the end, there will be transformation."
-Geoffrey Tennant, Slings & Arrows

That line was written in reference to Macbeth, not a student production of Virgil's Aeneid involving swordfights, jokes about penetration, suggestively-shaped vegetables and an enormous cheesegrater costume, but I'm willing to hang onto hope wherever it suggests itself.

It is now four hours until the first performance of the Aeneid, a show I have co-written, co-directed and co-produced, as well as having done the print design for, so I'm somewhat invested in it at this point. And not at all crazy, not at all.

Things that deserve recording at this point:

-Picture the scene. Ten o'clock, the Gloucester Green Wednesday market, lots of little old ladies happily bumbling around picking up their shopping. Meanwhile [livejournal.com profile] foulds and I are picking up courgettes and saying things like, "No, no, not phallic enough. Maybe one with more of a curve?"

We eventually bought a Giant CourgetteTM, two bananas and an aubergine. Oh GOD.

-Due to our being fairly tense for obvious reasons, and also spending every waking hour together, my esteemed co-director and I are getting a little frazzled, of course, and last night I might possibly have called him the rudest thing I knew. Oops.

-Further to all of this, of course, I am quite unutterably crazy at the moment. I haven't eaten more than about a thousand calories in four days, despite [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong, [livejournal.com profile] shimgray and [livejournal.com profile] foulds all trying their best, and last night, I came in to the kitchen and wobbled significantly. When I woke up, Maria was peering at me from a great height and wearing a plague mask. I promptly passed out again, naturally.

I came round the second time, was fed some jelly with a very sharp spoon - god bless Maria and James, really; they petted me and looked after me and did not tell me I'm being ridiculous, which I am a bit (I just can't eat; I look at food, even things I like, and go, "....no.") - and went to bed with a pause to note that my room is rapidly becoming a public health hazard.

-To wake up in the morning and go prop-shopping - hence the courgette - and go off to the auditorium, through Balliol, where I met my History tutor, reassured him that I am slightly less crazy than when he saw me last, I'm all right, really, I will come to the next class, and realised later that all the time we were talking, I was waving a shiny plastic sword at him, because that's an entirely normal thing to do.

-What else? Er, the backdrop for the Aeneid is perhaps the most awesome thing ever to be awesome. Maria made it over the weekend with a handful of sketch maps of the ancient Mediterranean, a handful of brightly-coloured felt-tips, six metres of white fabric and a room full of drunk and vaguely depraved people. We have the Trojans' route done in ecstatic red arrows, around the landscape of Carthage - with a heart drawn around it - and Cumae and Crete (with Minotaur) and the island of the Cyclops (who has his eye back, having had reconstructive surgery), and, in the Eastern world, Margaret Thatcher being eaten by a half-man, half-pig monster. Because.

...okay. A few hours to go. I should try the whole food thing, I should maybe learn my lines do last-minute things, things like that. Er, yes, I occasionally go weeks at a time without doing things like this. I do. I think this has just been an extraordinary week.

And in case anyone in the world hasn't seen this: Virgil's Aeneid, a new comic adaptation )
raven: (misc - mortimer)
(Numbered for ease of perusal, or indeed to spare me from offering any connections between them.)

1. Merton is top of the Norrington. This may account for why I look out across the road at the windows level with mine and see people studious and sitting down hard at work.

"In the meantime, what do we do?" I went on, sitting on the kitchen table fairly early this morning. "We download TV off the internet and throw mouldy bread at the freshers."

Maria was making a paper aeroplane at the time; she got it perfectly balanced between wingspan and general pointiness, I scrawled "HMS Bounty" in blunt pencil beneath one wing, and she launched it gracefully into a clear blue sky. The three of us hung out of our third-floor window and watched it arc beautifully up and out and down, through the sparkling air, down down down...

...straight into a cyclist.


(Balliol is, as we speak, fourth in the Norrington Table. I'm not sure what conclusions to draw from this.)

2. Nothing like a clear sparkling day, though. I went up the Cowley Road revelling in the sunshine, and noticed that there is an Indian restaurant about halfway up called "Dil Dhunia". I am unsure whether this means "heart of the world" or "heart of the coriander". Both seem equally likely.

3. Nothing like a long lazy afternoon, either. I was supposed to be working. I managed to read an article by Samuel Scheffler that I've been meaning to read for two years - a critique of the basic-structure objection to Rawlsian egalitarianism; it bothers me slightly because it ought to be manhandled into an unmessy feminist argument, but I can't see how to do it - but other than that, I drank peppermint tea and talked to [livejournal.com profile] chiasmata most of the day. I was hit by a wave of sleepiness around about half seven, just in time to go to OULES.

4. OULES. Yes. We ran the flashback scene today, which I remember writing "unstageable" next to in the margin for the first few drafts, up to the mountain-in-Kashmir draft (so called because I did, indeed, leave the last extant copy up a mountain in Kashmir) and yet, we never did much about that. And it seems to have been a workable approach, because it went far better than expected. Once again, the cast are made of uber-talented love, and one would think I'd be sick of the script by now, but I'm really not. It's wonderful fun.

Afterwards, [livejournal.com profile] foulds and I were walking home and idly dissecting the rehearsal when he noted that we seemed to have stepped into a nineteen-twenties gangster film. The fog is thick tonight, clinging to the gargoyles and the architecture, and the lights were blurring beautifully through it all the way. I love Oxford in that mood - the night-time mood when the familiar looks strange - and it was an interesting backdrop to an interesting day.

5. I got in about half ten, wondered why I felt funny, noted dispassionately that I hadn't eaten in almost fourteen hours, and settled in with a bowl of pasta, with Maria and James, watching The Undiscovered Country.

I think we got about an hour in before I put my head in my hands and said, "It's a fucking Cold War allegory, isn't it?"

Well, it is! And I possibly enjoyed it even more for this fact. I like the notes of whom you can trust and who you can't, why a Neutral Zone is familiar and peace isn't, and how the original crew of the Enterprise really do belong to a different, more paranoid world. I even liked the knock on the head by bloody Francis Fukuyama. It was great fun. And after that we ended up eating peanut butter out of the jar and watching "Trials and Tribble-ations", which is made of love, particularly Dax, whom I have always thought is made of love despite seeing minimal amounts of Deep Space Nine compared to the others.

And now it's four am. I should go to bed, considering I have a lecture to go to in five hours.
raven: Tenth Doctor and Martha hugging (doctor who - hug)
Oh, OULES. I have so much love for it right now. Having reached version 15.0 on the script, we are finally rehearsing the Aeneid. The cast are ridiculously wonderful, portraying, among other things, the deathless romance of a dairy product and a kitchen implement with utmost grace. Aeneas and Dido are so utterly charming that they fill me with joy. It helps that OULES this term has no concept of gender, and both Aeneas and Dido are women and all their scenes together are awkward and sweet and made of love.

In the background of today's rehearsal, we had a handy classicist-drawn map showing all the places of the Mediterranean-as-was: Phoenicia, Carthage, Crete, and Troy (marked DECEASED). Also Neasden, for some reason now in Libya.

Euryalus and Nisus, in the meantime, bicker like an old married couple. (Gender, we mock thee: Euryalus is being played by a woman, who takes a somewhat dominant role over Nisus.) "Bicker!" I said, when being directorial. "Fight, like an old married couple. Like we do."

"We don't fight!" [livejournal.com profile] foulds said.

"Yes, we do!"

"No, we don't!"

"You always do this - you never let me talk!"

Maria looked rather like all her Christmases had come at once. It made me happy. We ran through about half the play in total, random scenes depending on who was around, and I know the script ridiculously well - well enough to recite long portions of it from memory - and it was marvellous to hear it fresh, coming to life. I suppose if my life had to become a television show, I'm perfectly happy for it to be Slings & Arrows. When I'm haunted by the ghost of my dead co-director, I shall stop asking if it's time to go crazy and just go ahead and do it.

I got back home from the rehearsal, sat down on the kitchen table with my mug of spiced apple tea, and my flatmates all congregated unexpectedly and handed me a note. It said: happy birthday. Your presents are in Tuktoyaktuk.

Okay, I said, and went to the world map on the wall. There was a note for me there, which it took me a moment to puzzle out. There was another note in the salt cellar. Another in the apple teabags, another in the freezer, another one slipped between the petals of a rose. Yet another in Maria's copy of Going Postal, another stuck to Claire's door. This one directed me to a highly ceremonial object, in case you forget where you live.

I went downstairs to the staircase board, where the note stuck to my name said: happy birthday! did you know, your presents were on the kitchen table all the time?

"Bastards," I said, deliberately loud enough to carry, and went traipsing back up to find a stack of wrapped gifts had appeared miraculously on the kitchen table. Oh, I love them. I am now the proud owner of the 2008 Doctor Who annual, a £25 book token (wrapped!), a large bag of sweets, a pair of caffeine earrings (!!! love!) and The Voyage Home and The Undiscovered Country.

I sat and felt very happy. And then, looking at the Star Trek DVDs, "How did you know which ones to get?"

"We didn't!" Claire said a little hysterically. "We stood in HMV and rang James, and he talked about even and odd numbers!"

I sat back on the table, let people play with the gifts and finished off the tea feeling very much loved by the whole world. James was holding the earrings; he looked at me and said, with feeling, "Geeks are people too!"

Yes. Yes, we are.

And now, an early night. It has been, against all probability, a lovely day.
raven: (firefly - kaylee)
Last Thursday was [livejournal.com profile] sdwolfpup's More Joy Day. I missed it, because I am idiotic - I noted all the joy on LJ, especially [livejournal.com profile] jenlev's lovely roastery story - and thought to myself, I meant to do something for that. Specifically, I meant to send out chocolate by pigeon post. But I forgot to get any, see above where I am idiotic, so I figured I should send text-based joy instead. I pidged poetry, webcomics and fic to people - writing fic small enough to fit in a brown envelope was a fun challenge - and sat back and felt the reverberations of the joy.

Because there is lots of joy in the world at the moment. I am hugely, enormously sleep-deprived at the moment, which is not a thing of joy - the low point came at half seven this morning, when I was riding out waves of insomniac nausea and thinking hard about asking someone who loves me to hit me on the head with a frying pan - which apart from other messy symptoms, makes me very easily frazzled and hypersensitive to everything. The fact I am still functional and happy is a testament to how much joy there actually is in the world.

Which is probably a good thing to have realised, as I am now a week short of having been in the world for twenty-one years. This is a horrifying thought, naturally - twenty-one is, well, it's a proper grown-up age, I can now drink in America and, er, run for Parliament if I so desire - but I do get the fun of a birthday to make up for it, so. Last night, counter-intuitively, was my birthday party - mine, along with [livejournal.com profile] mundi_gaudium, [livejournal.com profile] sebastienne, [livejournal.com profile] deepbluemermaid and [livejournal.com profile] lizziwig - at [livejournal.com profile] pridehouse, and it was candlelit and thronged and lovely. The theme was "the nineties", but as everyone was keen to point out, not the nineteen-nineties - more like the n-ninties, I think. Anyway, there were people dressed as Aristophanes and Domitia and Socrates (well, Claire was walking around with a bottle filled with Fairy liquid and labelled "HEMLOCK") and as robot prostitutes from the 23rd century and numerous other beautiful things.

I went as the Green Fairy. I am not keen on absinthe - every time I drink it bad things hapen, and besides, it tastes far too much like aniseed for my liking - but the costume was pretty fun. Green skirt, green tights, green eyeshadow, pretty-fairy-ish top from Pat, glittery eyeliner and wings and shoes with roses on the buckles. And after a night of drinking wine and eating beautiful home-made cake and dancing around under fairy lights, I was quite happy curled up in a corner at half three in the morning feeling, Dionysian-fashion, loved by everyone and a part of everything.

I didn't sleep, but you can't have everything. (Although I am sleeping a little when exhausted, I keep waking up again every half an hour; there's a strange fragility about lying exactly between sleep and consciousness in a room that's buffetted by howling winds. Perhaps I'll sleep better when the wind changes, or at least when the weather stops being so utterly awful.) Instead, I rolled out of bed again at lunchtime and ran down to see [livejournal.com profile] anotherusedpage, who is awesome, and we spent three hours talking about, er, fandom, and female-defined space, and OTW, and language as power, and the philosophy of Star Trek.

Yes, unashamedly. I am twenty-one years old and this is my world, welcome to it.

(Actually, while I'm talking about that, something of note. I was rewatching the TOS episode "Mirror, Mirror" - love, so much love, evil Spock, evil Spock has a GOATEE, heee - which I have seen an embarrassing number of times over the years. But. This time around, I noticed something I really, really should have spotted before. Near the end, mirror!Spock is being dealt with by McCoy - who has, I think, just hit him on the head with a vase, see above re: embarrassing number of times I have seen this - and then he wakes up. And stands up, walks menacingly across the room and pushes McCoy up against the wall into a forced mind-meld.

Which, forgive me if I'm wrong, has a very specific meaning in the Star Trek universe, right? It's rape. Mirror!Spock, who is then described as a "man of integrity" in both universes, is clearly not - because, well. Rape. And it's actually played as rape, as well. Which is very interesting, and an actually dark note in an episode which has enough ridiculous bits to keep me rewatching it for years. It made me think, anyway. There must be fic written about it, I'm sure.)

Yes, well. Meanwhile, back in my real world, [livejournal.com profile] foulds and I are also casting our Aeneid - amidst much good-natured agreement about cheese and cheesegraters and their relevance to the script - and I'm suddenly far too busy for someone whose Finals are this year. (No, not Virgil's Aeneid. Ours.)

Okay, now I think I shall go to bed and lie awake until morning. In the meantime, I meant to do this for More Joy Day, but better late than never. Request drabbles! Give me (at least one of) fandom, characters, plot, quote, prompt, whatever. I shall do my best, and wish you all more joy.
raven: Anthony Rapp playing Mark in RENT, arms lifted, in black and white (rent - vive la vie boheme)
Okaaaay. I just clicked the submit button on three law school applications. Maria gave me a bag of Thornton's chocolate-covered caramel for Christmas and I have just munched my way through it all. These two facts are not unrelated. Argh argh argh argh argh I am crazy why am I crazy argh argh argh.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

There's a thunderstorm going on, but the thunder is so deep you can feel it, in your bones and in the stones of the house, rather than hear it. It's good to be home. I went down from Oxford yesterday afternoon in horrible weather and it didn't really let up all the way here, but it's very cosy, sitting inside with large quantities of chocolate and lots of books - many people gave me books this week - and so tired that I'm viewing everything through a sort of cotton-wool haze. My mum is on nights, and will get back in about half eleven - I just need to stay awake until then and then I am going to bed, in my lovely bed with its overabundance of pillows and pretty Rajasthani covers. I am looking forward to that a lot. A lot. The window is open a crack so I can hear the rain and the wind and the sea all mixed up together and howling through the pines. A whole damn lot.

Despite the cotton-wool tiredness, eighth week was actually lovely. It's all in my head now as a succession of sensory impressions, all bright, all vivid (possibly something to do with my having been somewhat tipsy since Tuesday), and all mixed up a bit. It was a good week. I was on a protest, in a pantomime, inebriated and happy and overworked, so it was probably a good term, too. In that spirit, a few brief sensory impressions:

Firstly, the protest. I've had enough of the politics of it, and enough of the discussion, but as many wise people seem to have said, decisions are made by those who show up. I showed up. That was it, really. I showed up, and my friends and I ended up on Redwatch.* Nice start to the week. But in all seriousness, what do I ever do but what seems right at the time? I do, and I did, and that's my final word on the subject.

Secondly, OULES. The panto - Aladdin - started on Tuesday, and I was a pirate. Well, no, I was Thief #8 and [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong was Thief #7. ("But you're the first one to speak! What happened to Thieves 1 to 6?" / "Oh, they dropped out in third week.") But it's apparently a little-known axiom of formal logic that thieves and pirates are co-referential, so we ended up with bandana and a cutlass (and a Baileys bottle labelled "RUM") and followed Ali Baba about whilst singing the Thieves' Pointless Song ("This song is completely pointless / but it serves to fill a gap / This song is completely pointless / In fact, this song is crap...")

It wasn't quite as much fun as last term's, because nothing is as much fun as playing a corpse, but it was delightful fun nevertheless. Full of dreadful puns, a pantomime dame who looks better in a dress than I do, a wonderful wonderful evil sorcerer of evil (complete with song entitled "Squashing Fluffy Kittens On The Road"), bespectacled henchwomen, dancing skeletons and two large buckets of foam, it was fab. I sat backstage on Tuesday night and remarked on a very Oxford scene: the last week of term, backstage, dim light mid-performance, and six or seven people piled up against the wall frantically reading. (Organic chemistry, international law, maths, conflict in Israel.) I love OULES so very much.

The cast party was also lovely. I was drunk. I feel the need to point this out before anything else, or indeed before anyone else does, because it is true. It was still the nice sort of drunk, though; the I love everyone and everything sort of drunk. Last term, at the cast party on Port Meadow, I was ritually adopted and cocktailed and wiped the wine out of my eyes to find myself an official Oule. For some reason Maria wasn't cocktailed then, so she decided she needed a set of parents - me and [livejournal.com profile] foulds, which is delightfully incestuous, considering he's also my OULES dad - a bottle of vodka and about fifty people yelling "A cocktailing, a cocktailing, there's going to be a cocktailing!" I remember this so vividly - the night sky, the alcohol-made-melodic singing, the smudged eyeliner around the hundreds of eyes, even through the cotton-wool. Later on I was having a conversation with someone about something - the details of who and what have inexplicably slipped out of my memory - when [livejournal.com profile] foulds jumped up, also very vivid, grabbed me and somehow or other I was being twirled around the garden yelling "We did it!"

We did, though; next term we shall between us be directing the OULES version of the Aeneid, which is yet another reason I'm crazy. (Term before Finals. Directing a show. Yep.) But I actually can't find it within myself to be anything other than very, very excited about it.

I'm going to America at the end of this week, and I have a to-do list that once again has "sort out life" on it, but now I'm going to eat more caramel and watch the first season of Buffy.

(Law school! The Aeneid! Eeeee.)

*Link goes to Wikipedia, not the actual site, because of, er, referral stats.
raven: (misc - thine own self)
I should be reading for, and also actually writing, an essay on Chinese foreign policy right now, but I don't want to, I want to a) watch Angels in America or b) go shoe-shopping or c) sleep all day or d) some combination of the above. I was supposed to go to a lecture today, but I couldn't get out of bed. It is so awful to say you physically couldn't get out of bed until twenty-five minutes past twelve, but I couldn't. It wasn't just vague laziness, as it usually is, but more along the lines of being glued flat. I couldn't do it.

I was therefore only awake for twenty minutes before leaving the house, during which Claire popped in to tell me she'd found Jesus. I found this a tiny bit surprising. Just a bit. It eventually became clear that she has practice exam questions coming out of her ears, and one of them is actually, possibly, perhaps, a picture of Jesus Christ. It seemed an auspicious beginning for the day. I went outside, nearly walked straight into [livejournal.com profile] wadiekin, wailed a little bit about how much I was already failing at the day –

(yes, I’m incapable of doing anything else; can it be just said for the record right now that Michaelmas ’07 was the term Iona Failed)

– because I didn’t get up before twelve twenty-five and it all seemed slightly hopeless. I was going to [livejournal.com profile] yuletide lunch with [livejournal.com profile] ou3fs, which was a resounding success as long as we do not define success by “talking about [livejournal.com profile] yuletide”. Instead, more or less everyone turned up and talked about New Year’s, and shoes, and I think Blake’s 7 at some point..

Speaking of which, I actually found this quite interesting. The other night I had a bunch of people in my room, mostly female, who got to talking about clothes. And shoes. And ball dresses. clothes, feminism and guilt )

Despite Chinese foreign policy, the last couple of days have been very nice indeed. I have been co-dependent with [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong - in the last ten days or so, we have communicated via LJ comments, LJ messages, Facebook wall posts, Facebook messaging, ordinary email, Herald webmail, Google Talk, phone, text, and pidge, and failing that, realised we live a quarter of a mile apart and have gone round to see each other – and eaten faaaaar too much chocolate and done no exercise, and on Monday night lots of people I love came around to watch Angels In America, and it was great.

(Seriously, how much do I love Prior? I still haven’t seen all of it – am about half an hour into Perestroika now – but I thought I loved him as a character before he turned up looking like Morticia Adams, and now, well. Heeee. Love.)

Also, there was microwaveable sponge pudding, which we didn’t eat that night in the end, and not pie. But there was lots of sugar, and I keep finding mugs and glasses and cutlery in improbable places, like under the bed, and it was only about the second time this term that I’ve filled my room with people and it was lovely.

I am suffering lately, though, from an odd convergence, which is manifesting as my putting my head in my hands and yelling, “Secret double life!” I always used to have, you see, a secret double life par excellence. When I was thirteen, fandom was my little secret. And it didn’t stay that way - [livejournal.com profile] hathy_col arrived in a burst of, well, enthusiasm and squee and potatoes, and changed my life – but it was still somewhat distinct. I talked about it at school to people who knew about it already, which helps enforce the separation, I think. But since I’ve been here in Oxford, and particularly since Maria joined OULES, it’s all coming together in a big blur and is upsetting my notions of how life should be a little bit. It’s a good thing, it’s a great thing that my friends are now one glorious mess of out-there fannish beautiful people who talk in cat macros, but it still worries me a tiny bit. I love it here, I do. Maria and I were chatting online at three am about how people should write fic about Plato and Socrates where they’re in a band with toga-clad groupies, and at length I said we should maybe make some peppermint tea and I went into the kitchen to find her teary-eyed with laughter, and yes, that’s it, that’s what I want, I have always wanted not to be an outsider in my real life, and now I’m not and it is so great I’m actually becoming incoherent.

That is a very long paragraph.

Er. Dear self,

Write about Chinese foreign policy. Remember that? See the books all over your room? Recall the deadline today at five? YES. THAT.


raven: (hp - tonks puff)
Fruit 'n' nut muesli is actually rather good. Admittedly I'm eating it with Greek yoghurt and squeezy honey, but huh, the point stands. I'm ridiculously hungry because I had breakfast at lunchtime, lunch at teatime and I suppose now is the time to have breakfast again. Watch me amaze you with my profundity, oh my yes.

Thank you all for your comments yesterday, I really did appreciate them; I wasn't so much reading them as having them read out to me from the other side of the room, which was in itself a rather charming experience. And after that I calmed right down and read a little about Eastern Europe before bed. Today I went to a tutorial, and then I went back to bed, and then I went to a lecture, and then I went for a long coffee-and-squee with [livejournal.com profile] absinthe_shadow, in which I managed to talk about [livejournal.com profile] ds_match for almost forty-five minutes without letting anything slip. (Well, almost.) We also talked about other things, and because I am mostly failing at it, I think there should maybe be an [livejournal.com profile] ou3fs [livejournal.com profile] yuletide lunch soon.

I think that makes today a success. Well, it was a success. I am a lot cheerier now, mostly because I have accepted that I will never write an essay on eastern Europe, I didn't write about what art is, and tonight I found out something that it would really be breaking a confidence to tell, but safe to say, it put my mind at rest about something I was very worried about, and after a relaxed and cheerful dinner with Claire and Liya, I went out to the OULES rehearsal feeling in the mood to sing and dance.

Maybe "dance" is not the term. I can't dance. I tried. I waved my arms around and did jazz hands a lot. (My OULES mum is [livejournal.com profile] darwinian_woman, so I hid behind a table with her for a while too.) I tried hard not to kick people in the arse by mistake. I laughed a lot, because I am rubbish but no one seems to mind. And after a bit we all retreated to the pub, where I ended up on a table in a squishy pile of sleepy [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong and [livejournal.com profile] foulds, which is a lovely place to be in. I feel better, I do. Long may it last. I can at last stop doing totally ridiculous things, like, er, eating my weight in chocolate mousse and vandalising Wikipedia articles for no particular reason.

(Case in point: we were sat in Claire's room the other night, she and Ben and me, all working away at our various things, and Claire looked up and asked, "Could someone just wiki the Emperor Trajan for me? How did he die?"

"That's very interesting," Ben said after a minute. "Says here he was mauled to death by an avocado.")

Other things I have done this week have included watching Rent again, eating my whole weight in muesli too, and doing a round of questions for the geek quiz, for once. (I am ridiculously proud of this. I am a geek, I should do geek rounds for other geeks. It is only natural.) And now I'm home, having been treated to a variety of horrifying tales regarding other people's sexual practices all the way home, and still very sleepy, and it's time for bed. Three days left of fifth week, and I refuse to believe that next week won't be better. (For one thing, it is going to feature, probably at some length, the HBO miniseries of Angels in America.)

I am not mad. I am proud of this, too. Now sleep.
raven: (misc - thine own self)
So, I woke up this morning with an unappealing and vaguely aromatic mixture of wine, woodsmoke, chapel dust and mud in my hair. I washed it out - and proceeded to get drenched in an unexpected rainstorm - but I feel lots better now. And I love OULES, both people and concept, and mostly, love everybody, and am also suddenly aware that my journal has most likely been incomprehensible to out-of-Oxford people for a while now.

OULES is the Oxford University Light Entertainment Society. Its defining characteristic is the fact it's lots of fun. Unlike most Oxford thesping, which tends to be serious, overwrought and for people with, um, talent (which isn't to say there aren't lots of talented people in OULES, but does explain why I'm involved). I've been to several cast parties - last term I was presented with one of the flamingoes from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, despite not having been in the play - and at the end of Hilary Maria came to visit me one evening to tell me about her research project for this term. After two years as an overworked medic, she said, she was going to have a quite a bit more free time, and it was time to do something fun and extracurricular.

"OULES," I said blithely, and accordingly she and I and [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong presented ourselves at the auditions at the start of this term.

I'm aware that there is an explanatory gap between this and, er, red wine and mud stuck to my head, but, well. The play, yes! The play, which was on three nights this week in various locations - sometimes various locations within the same performance - was a product of the pleasantly twisted comic stylings of [livejournal.com profile] darwinian_woman (I quote directly from the programme here) and was called Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Inanimate Body, and it was, of course, marvellous. The plot features a murder at a manor house in the English countryside, Holmes, Watson and Oscar Wilde, a butler called Fetish, a Narrator (who has a secret identity), various domestic staff, silly jokes and and ridiculous goings-on.

I was the corpse. Well, initially, I wasn't; I was supposed to be one of the bebusbied guards of Buckingham Palace, but in a rehearsal taking place sans the original corpse, it was discovered that I was probably the lightest member of the assembled company. And one might wonder why this is a relevant fact, but, um, it was. Holmes does a reconstruction of the murder in the middle of the play - a play within a play - and, according to the script, "any residual good taste should be expelled from the scene at this point – from now on, this needs to be utterly sick."

Cue several increasingly-bizarre rehearsals where I was carried on stage, dropped, animated from behind (as it were), and hit, punched, slapped and kicked. Except, of course, not, and much as I have complained about [livejournal.com profile] foulds' abuse of me, he did it all very well and only actually hit me once. (This was the second performance, which we were doing in the chapel because of rain and it wasn't until too late that I realised that I was going to have be knocked onto a stone floor. Ouch.)

I was, of course, having to screw my eyes shut and take a lot of deep breaths throughout to try and stop myself from laughing (cue heckling, "The corpse is corpsing!") and I just about managed it during the ordinary run of things, but it was the ad libs that got to me. On the first night, I initially got placed too far away from the audience, and there's a scene where Watson gave me a push and I, well-trained, rolled over; however, that night, they didn't stop rolling, happily ad libbing - "A well-rolled corpse yields more clues!" / "Gadzooks! We didn't see that the third time we rolled her over!" - and I just... argh. I was face down, but people tell me that they could see me shaking with giggles.

By the third performance, I thought we were getting quite good at it. So there I was, cloaked during the interval (I had to hide under it while the audience filed into the gardens; it was curiously relaxing, lying on the grass listening to people talk about me), when suddenly - trouble. Matt, whose job it was to animate me and indeed, carry me on and off, was AWOL. Cue panic. Some brief consultation led to the decision that [livejournal.com profile] osymandias learn all the lines in ten minutes and step in. And he was utterly marvellous - people later professed to having no idea that he'd been substituted in, and the only bits he read from the script were in the play-within-the-play, which was thematically appropriate - but we had a hiccup at the point where I get carried off.

Oh, they tried. They tried. Alas, I got dropped on my head. Oh dear. I wish I'd seen it. I also wish I'd got a record of the moment where [livejournal.com profile] foulds came up to me backstage (i.e., under a tree), in cape and deerstalker, and said, "I'm sorry. Just for... everything."

I still think it was a wonderful role to play, because, well, I can't act. I have no thespian, artistic or creative talent whatsoever; playing dead is clearly my forte. Argh, it was so much fun. And afterwards, fun was had at the cast party, which was something of a farce - after wandering around Oxford for about an hour looking for a venue for dozens of people to have a party at the last minute, we ended up on Port Meadow at midnight, with the Flosscar ceremony happening around a hastily constructed fire. Despite the fact it was wet and muddy and ridiculous o'clock, it was actually idyllic. It wasn't raining, it was lightly warm and the sky was not dark but a curious grey-purple colour, and you could see people as dim impressions of themselves, which led to glorious reunions every few minutes ("Oh, it's you!"), and the fire was deliciously warm if very smoky, and, watching the sparks fly off into the night sky, I got to use the line "Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards" to groans from all present.

And also, I was drunk. Looking back, yesterday I ate two slices of bread with honey, some brie, some grapes, chocolate fingers and an apple. No wonder I got so thoroughly inebriated very quickly, and correspondingly maudlin. In an attempt to cheer me up, someone - I'm not sure who, but would like to be reminded - suggested that [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong and I, as new OULES, be cocktailed. Cocktailing is a ritual that I have only recently discovered the existence of, and did I mention I was really drunk? Cocktailing requires you to be adopted, and [livejournal.com profile] darwinian_woman and [livejournal.com profile] foulds stepped up the plate to be mine and Laura's new OULES parents. And so. I got on the ground in the mud, looking up into the still curiously livid sky, aware of the fact I was lying on Port Meadow at two in the morning, and [livejournal.com profile] foulds said, "It'll all be over in a minute..."

It's quite interesting, having red wine tipped on your head in the dark. Some of it got in my mouth, but more of it into my hair and eyes. And it was at this point that someone pointed out the familiarity of a scenario in which I'm on the floor and [livejournal.com profile] foulds gets to abuse me. (This would be the third such context this week - corpsing, cocktailing, and an unrelated performance mnenomic on Christ Church Meadow where he hit me with a baguette.)

There is now a ridiculous quantity of photographic evidence of him abusing me. The thing is, though, I'm going to miss it. I'm going to miss all of this. I leave Oxford tomorrow, before Doctor Who, and I won't be back until September at the earliest. But oh, it was so much fun and I'm going to miss everyone so much.

About two weeks ago, my Mind tutor was trying to get me to talk intelligently about externalist theories of mind. We'd got onto proper names, and how there's a difference between an externalist rendering of my name by someone who's met me, who knows the individual in the world which my name refers to, and the people at the passport office, who have my name as a convenient label.

"What about fictional characters?" I asked. "Are they all like the second case?"

He thought about that, and finally said that no, perhaps the author knows the character in the same way as we know real people, and that Conan Doyle perhaps knew Sherlock Holmes in that way when no one else did. "Although," he said, "there's a spectrum of canonical knowledge here - for example, I believe some people write Sherlock Holmes pastiches..."

I corpsed.

Yesterday morning, I had my Tutors' Handshaking, and my Mind tutor has sent me a lovely, lovely report, which finishes, "She maintained a splendid standard despite, perhaps, the calls of student drama..."

Trying to think about OULES and "student drama" in the same sentence is, perhaps, more than my cognitive function is quite capable of; Sky tried to convince me that what I really wanted to do now was get involved in, or get OULES involved in, "real" drama - but I maintain he's missing the point. I don't quite know what the point is, but I think it's something to do with lying on Port Meadow in the middle of the night, safe in the warmth and mud and wine.

It's time to go.
raven: text: "There's a full and very reasonable explanation that mostly does not involve me being drunk" (sbp - me being drunk)
Am ever so slightly drunk. Ever so slightly. [livejournal.com profile] foulds and [livejournal.com profile] darwinian_woman have adopted me. They made me lie down on Port Meadow at two in the morning in the weird livid firelight while they poured bottles into my mouth. It was a a very pretty view of the world, but there is wine in my eyes.

Am quite cheerful really. My feet are covered in mud and nettles. Everything is perfectly lovely. Have been being physically abused on stage for whole term now! Life is delightful.

Not that drunk honest. Except am lying about that and have forgotten how one uses commas. Perfectly perfectly lovely.

Am a real OULE now. Yaaaay.
raven: (girl!doctor - empires toppling)
Ah, OULES. Having spent most of the day in the sunshine rehearsing between two trees, scaring small children, I was feeling very mellow by mid-afternoon. There is a scene in the play - I'm not going to talk about the plot, nor my role in it, because they deserve full incredulous treatment in another post - where, for various complicated reasons, I have to spend some time standing in the middle of the stage, stock-still and pointing vaguely into the middle distance.

Well, I have to do it for a while, and I got bored and my arm started to hurt. So I pointed at Our Humble Narrator for a while, and then I moved and pointed at [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong, and then at [livejournal.com profile] ktroo85, and then I spent some time freaking out [livejournal.com profile] foulds and his female subconscious by pointing at them, and then I turned around to point at [livejournal.com profile] arifirh.


I screamed in abject terror, jumped two feet in the air, landed on my arse, scrambled to my feet again and ran down the other end to hide behind [livejournal.com profile] sebastienne.

Yep, that was my day, more or less. Now to write a brief bit of fic, and then bed.

Oh. Yes. Before I forget. One may remember the many, many, many times that people, mostly [livejournal.com profile] hathy_col, have tried to teach me to do the Macarena, and what tends to happen when they do.

I hadn't actually read the whole of the script until today. Oh dear. Oh, dear, oh dear.
raven: (hp - remus in light)
Remix reveal, darlings! I can hereby declare that I wrote "Ways of Not Speaking (the Poetry in Motion Remix)", a remix of "Secrets, Lies and Guiness Pies", by [livejournal.com profile] gunderpants. And of course, [livejournal.com profile] likethesun2 was absolutely right. I promised a ficlet, and a ficlet she shall have.

It's been a good remix year, I think. I signed up because I haven't written a fic off my own bat since November 2006, and this is beginning to get to me; I mean, yes, depression fucked my brain up for three months, more or less, but I've been much better for almost three months since, and I want to write, I can write, I think, I just don't know why I haven't been able to. This way I haven't written anything truly original, but Remix kicked my arse into writing something. And that's good. I no longer hate the story as much as I did, but I can still see the bits in it which would have been better if I hadn't, er, written three quarters of it two hours before it was due. Even given that, the reason I had such difficulty with it is that well, I've already written this story. Remus, Tonks and Harry coping with Sirius's death - I did that with "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds", and I guess the challenge, here, was not writing the original story again but not writing Lucy... again either. Which I couldn't do, because [livejournal.com profile] gunderpants' characterisation of Remus is not like mine, and it was great fun, getting him down. (Fanfiction of fanfiction, in a way.)

And so. And so, and so. In other news, I have so much work to do right now it sucks beyond the telling of it. I just can't be bothered, which is never a good sign (neither is not being able to write, come to think of it) but I can't, and thus, it is all staying resolutely undone. I would much rather play cricket and go to OULES. [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong and I have been cast as, I believe, Guard #1 and Guard #2, but Maria outdoes us both as the feminine subconscious to [livejournal.com profile] foulds's Sherlock Holmes. I have this sense that Jon and Maria would make very good masculine and feminine sides of the same person. At least, this is what I was trying to explain to the assembled masses at the pub yesterday - we were celebrating [livejournal.com profile] me_ves_y_sufres's not-birthday, with fannish talk, the not-revelatory-for-anyone revelation that [livejournal.com profile] foreverdirt writes gay porn and, later, a prolonged argument that led to [livejournal.com profile] vampire_kitten proving right there and then, in the pub, that 0.999... = 1 - with a quite stunning lack of success.

Cricket on the Master's Field and then OULES, yes! I guess, in the meantime, I should go and attempt to read something about... what is it? Why we still need a language of thought and cannot all be happy bouncy intentional realists. My Mind tutor, I feel the need to point out, resembles no one so much as Sam Vimes - [livejournal.com profile] kuteki, who appeared like the Ghost of Christmas Past in last week's tute, agrees - and thus I am rather scared of him. Hence maybe doing some work is a good idea.

I'm unsure on the etiquette of re-posting my remix in my journal. Right now I think not; maybe later for the sake of completion.

Back to thoughts on mind, yes.

October 2017

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