raven: subway sign in black and white, text: "Times Square / 42 Street station" (stock - times square)
I got up before 10am today, something which I have not done in days and days, and went out to brunch with a friend at a place by the Serpentine. I walked back from Knightsbridge to Covent Garden, through freezing, diamond-brilliant cold, under a cloudless sky.

And you know, it turns out London is a beautiful, ancient city. I went through three of the royal parks - allodial land; held without tenure, without mark, for eight centuries - and along past Hatchards, where a hundred people were queueing up to get their books signed by Tim Peake; and through Piccadilly Circus, which is currently hosting an exhibition in praise of Frank Pick, a shy, unassuming lawyer who lived a shy unassuming life at the start of the last century; who believed that as the London Underground belonged to the city, and all the millions of people who used it, every aspect of it should be a work of public art. I bought a book and a cup of coffee and I did some work in a cafe like the ghastly cliché of a writer I am, and I saw the sun begin to set over Hampstead Heath with the skyline glittering behind.

And though tha sinn anns an dùbhlachd, and it is so very dark - not forever. Nothing lasts forever, except this place that we live in.
raven: TOS McCoy and Kirk frowning, text: "Well that's just maddeningly unhelpful" (st - MADDENINGLY UNHELPFUL)
I keep messing with this story trying to make it ~deep~ and ~profound~ - and, no. This is my id, you guys. Sorry.

Fic: A Clean, Well-Lighted Place
by Raven
6000w, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Data/Tasha, and Geordi, Deanna, Beverly, Keiko and ensemble. Twenty-one nights in the life of the Enterprise Insomniacs' Club.

aromatic, interesting and blue )
raven: cartoon image of bleary-looking woman with dark hair (nemi - sleepy)
I have sleeping pills which say "take twenty minutes before sleeping". I think this is a very presumptuous instruction on the part of the people who make the pills, especially as they do sell them in a box that nowhere says "hey you YES YOU these are ALSO the pills labeled 'anti-hay fever; may cause drowsiness" only we're charging you £1 more. But I've taken them. Here I am.

Here is the bad news. Still going to work every day. Still Not Very Good at my job. (Today I sent a whole stack of papers to entirely the wrong government department. Hellfire, brimstone, etc.) I have my midseat review next week, in which my patient and scrupulous supervisor will no doubt scrupulously and patiently tell me everything that's wrong with me. Urgh.

Here is the good news. I am not going to work tomorrow. I took it off, for no reason at all, and I'm going to read, write the novel and take a French class. (Also, is this weird? My colleagues think this is weird. I am not ill, on holiday, or anything else; I am taking a day off in the middle of the week because I damn well feel like it and also, I hate November with a passion and need something to get me through the murk. My colleagues seem to have decided amongst themselves that I'm going to be the weird one. I am weird, I s'pose. They're not bad people at all, my colleagues; I work for the hardest department for a trainee to work for, so they also call me the clever one. I try to tell them, if I were clever I would be wandering through the crisp fall, now, thinking about my thesis, rather than spending hours of my youth on the phone to the Environment Agency, discussing septic tanks.

What else, what else? I have read Snuff. I am still rewatching M*A*S*H. One of my colleagues, I shall call him the Caped Crusader because that is, in fact, his name, spends plenty of time waiting for his photocopying, standing by my desk, probing the limits of my knowledge. By the time he discovered I can quote from Plan 9 From Outer Space, I know just what it was that John Barrowman said straight-faced in Shark Attack 3 and I like Deep Space Nine best but also "The Best of Both Worlds", I think we were friends. We were talking about The West Wing, and I remember saying that I can't deal with Alan Alda not in M*A*S*H and especially not as a Republican, oh, dear, and he said, yes, I've seen that! I remember one I saw just the other day, when Hawkeye can't stop sneezing....

I carefully didn't jump up and down going, omg, omg, and said, merely, "I said to Shim the other day, only that show can take a classic sitcom plot like 'Hawkeye can't stop sneezing' and turn it into TRAUMA."

Today he wandered across my desk and said, so, you're kinda inspiring, can I borrow the DVDs?

I said yes, if he would take one of my deeds of covenant and aim it at the right people tomorrow while I am lying in bed writing my novel. He agreed this was a fair trade. It's always nice, when you find a similar sort of spirit to yours in unexpected places. The Crusader himself said, no one else understands me when I talk about these things. I strongly suspect we are friends.

It hasn't been twenty minutes yet. Er, a meme. meme )

I sleep now! Hopefully.
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: 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.


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."


"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.
raven: cartoon image of bleary-looking woman with dark hair (nemi - sleeeeepy)
Seriously, what is it like to be able to sleep at night? I'm genuinely interested in knowing. What do you do with all that spare time?

(On a related note, this story made me FURIOUS, quite possibly irrationally, but still, how dare they basically imply that depression is your fault for going to bed too late. If you just went to bed early you'd be happier! It's essentially "early to bed, early to rise....", isn't it, and the people who say that are always heading for justifiable homicide. I'm maybe just cranky, but it's six degrees below, I have no heating, I cannot use the kitchen because the fuses have all gone so none of the lights are working, and I can't sleeeep, waaah.)

Anyway, a brief note: I want to make a post about various new-year things, but before that, a quick and final [livejournal.com profile] yuletide note. I wrote these:

Advent (Connie Willis' Oxford time-travel universe) for [livejournal.com profile] scintilla10
This was my assignment, and it was hard work, but in the end I was pleased with it. (Especially with the pun in the title, because I'm a dork like that.) My recipient wanted a story about Verity, but I had read Doomsday Book much more recently than To Say Nothing of the Dog, and the finished product had something of a sense of gloom. Interestingly, last year's story was also a story about Verity, and although I do try not to repeat myself, I can't resist writing all my stories in the same universe. Once again, [livejournal.com profile] shimgray sorted out the plot holes for me very nicely indeed.

Oh, and! It has a cameo by [livejournal.com profile] absinthe_shadow in it. I was trying desperately not to make it too obvious, but finally bowed to the inevitable, asked her permission and wrote her in.

Prawn Crackers (dinnerladies) for [livejournal.com profile] lilka
dinnerladies is not actually a fandom of mine - in the sense that, I love the show very much and think it's wonderfully written, but I've never wanted fic for it. Only, a few weeks ago I went over to see [livejournal.com profile] lilka, we had a lovely evening drinking wine and watching the Christmas episodes, and when I saw her request drift past I couldn't help myself.

(Also, a little of this story may have been drawn from life. Just a little.)

Boy Trouble (Discworld) for [livejournal.com profile] duckgirlie
This one was the definition of a last-minute treat. I wrote it the night before the deadline, the hour before, even - I wish I'd had time to make it longer, actually! - and enjoyed myself far too much in the writing. On a serious note, it was fun to write the "ordinary" Discworld women (i.e., the ones who don't have the benefit of being able to do magic), and show up their small human awesomnesses, and on a truly frivolous note, I had great fun with the jokes. I had a vague sense that the joke in the first paragraphs isn't translating very well - if it helps, British hen parties traditionally involve L-plates. No one knows why.

Ingenué (Slings & Arrows) for beautifulside
Again, I wish this one was longer. I had as much again written, and it was becoming a story of sorts, about returning and going home and other overdramatic themes like that - but then it was the night before the deadline and I didn't want to scrap it, so I rescued these 500 words and realised I liked them by themselvs, after all. I do love Kate. And Geoffrey, but that goes without saying.

I'd like to apologise, also: I really, really appreciate (and, indeed, encourage!) the feedback I've got on these stories on AO3. But I just can't reply to comments right now - I am trying to take a bunch of exams and apply to grad school simultaneously this week, which is sort of why I'm awake at 4.58am - and so in lieu, I am just saying thank you here. Thank you all.

Onwards and upwards, I guess. I do wish I could sleep.
raven: cartoon image of bleary-looking woman with dark hair (nemi - sleeeeepy)
It's 3.09am. I cannot sleep. Naturally, tomorrow is a day upon which I have something scheduled to do every minute from 7.55am to 11pm. I remember being told once that people who can't sleep at night aren't really insomniacs; they just say they are because it sounds glamorous.

As it's 3.09am and I am awake for no reason at all, I think I shall discuss exactly how glamorous chronic sleep disorder really is. For one thing, it never goes away. Some people have it come on later in life, but in my case, I was a newborn who didn't sleep through the night and then a baby who didn't, a child who couldn't quite manage it, and now I am twenty-two years and ten months old and I cannot sleep at night. It ruins everything. It makes you paranoid about hours, about times, it makes you fail any class before eleven in the morning (and don't you dare laugh at that and say something faux-amusant about students), it makes you constantly think about something that everyone else takes for granted.

I'm trying to stop calling it insomnia, though, because it really isn't. Sometimes, I can't get to sleep until it's light; sometimes, I fall asleep like a light going out and jerk bolt awake again at two in the morning; sometimes I fall asleep at ten and wake up fourteen hours later; sometimes I don't see daylight for a week at a time; sometimes I see sunrise every day. A rampant smorgasbord of disorder, but the one thing I cannot do is fall asleep at midnight, stay asleep for eight hours and wake up refreshed. This is it, this is the holy grail I've been aiming at all these years.

Things that don't help:

-Warm milk. (I have given up trying to be polite to people who suggest this.)

-Hot baths. (They do, a little, but you can't do this every day and besides right now I don't have a bathtub.)

-Breathing exercises, meditation and whatnot. These don't lack value; they stop me lying in bed and having anxious three-am thoughts. But they don't get me to sleep. Cognitive behaviourial stuff in general is not bad - but it hasn't fixed this problem.

-"Getting up early so you'll be tired". Once again, spoken by people who don't have disordered sleep. Do you know what happens when I try and do this? I force my unwilling, exhausted body out of bed, I get through my nine-to-five day, I desperately stay awake until some reasonable hour for bed, at which point I don't sleep. And the next day I usually wish I were dead. So. No.

(Actually, the best advice I have ever had is from my father who has the same issues with slightly less severity. It goes like this. Are you sleepy? Are you actually going to lose your job/fail your degree if you go to bed now? Then go, and at least you'll have slept.)

-Diazepam and its relations. Well, of course they do work - I can take pills and be out like, again, the proverbial light. The thing is, the pills wear off, I wake up twelve hours later, then the next night, if I don't take them, it's the same old story.

-10mg amitriptyline. This puts me to sleep nicely, but then I wake up at lunchtime with a splitting-skull hangover. The one time I tried to get up at eight and go to school the night after I'd taken it, I nearly fell into traffic. I had to go home after my first class and spend the rest of the day sleeping it off. Sub-optimal.

-5mg amitripyline. Less experience of this, but what it seems to be so far is I take it, I fall asleep when it's getting light and then wake up at lunchtime with the splitting-skull hangover.

Things that do work:

-Sleeping at other times. I sleep nicely in the early light, in the mid-afternoon - any time when it doesn't matter if I sleep or don't sleep, where either is acceptable. In fact, the most comfortable time of day is six in the morning - still cool and quiet, but somehow my brain lets me out without the need to force the door.

-Sleeping in other places. I have slept comfortably on trains, aeroplanes, bare floors, beaches. As an undergraduate I had a room with a windowseat and that was such a blessing - I occasionally used to sleep in it instead of my bed, and it was very useful.

-Sleeping with another person. This isn't infallible by any means, but as an average taken over months and years, I sleep better if there's someone there. Shim usually sleeps through my night-time wanderings, which is a blessing.

-Citalopram. When I was taking it for depression, it worked quite well at making me sleep regularly and deeply, but the reason I came off it in the end was because it was tending to extremes - thirteen or fourteen hours' sleep every day. Plus the side-effects it was having, which weren't nice.

-Exhaustion. I'm not one of those people who will never sleep - after four or five days, it'll happen.


-gets its own category because it fits into neither of the above categories. I have lost count of people telling me to cut down on caffiene, or asking me in incredulous tones, "But if you're an insomniac, why do you drink so much coffee?"

Because I'm an insomniac, you fucking idiot. How the hell would I get anything done? Filtered coffee is what keeps me approaching humanity when the problem is very bad - it's the reason I can be up and about nearly every day, even at a nadir point.

(And yes, I have tried the giving-it-up experiment. I'm not physically addicted, but I missed it. A lot. And slept no better, though I gave it the fair three weeks. So.)

Right now, I'm kind of at the end of my options. Amitriptyline was my GP's Great White Hope - now it hasn't worked, I'm not sure what he'll be able to suggest, if anything. He seems to think that any kind of referral would be futile. I don't know if I agree, but I don't want to push it. So, in conclusion. Pretty glamorous, huh? Bet you all wish you were me.

It is now 3.40am. I have a few more hours' lying awake to do.
raven: Kira wearing a green tunic against a blue background (ds9 - kira in green)
Dear three am: platonic is good but I'd rather be sleeping together. I am at the stage of the old mental cycle where I have to be walking-into-walls exhausted before I'll go to sleep; otherwise, I just lie in bed with my eyes shut worrying about things I can't fix or change, and it's no good for anyone. I'm kind of a wreck right now, actually. I don't miss my pills, but they did have the side-effect of making me sleep. But at the moment I'm sleepwalking through things, getting dressed after four hours of trying, you get it. It's a bit of a reaction, I suppose: I'm proud of having got through a lot of things sucessfully, over the last couple of weeks. The last thing was a second interview for a job (well, I say interview; it was more an assessment day, which are not among my favourite things to do) and I went down to London successfully, did the interview on four hours of sleep and adrenaline, and sat on the station platform afterwards, in the sunshine beneath the shade of hanging flowers, and thought I might just sleep right there on the platform edge and be happy. They even fed me a very nice lunch that I was too nervous to eat, and I got through it. They haven't got back to me yet. We'll see.

This is, oddly enough, the last night I'll spend here for quite some time. It's crept up on me, but tomorrow I am going to Bristol for a couple of weeks - a short placement, followed by a training contract interview - and after that I am going to Oxford for my own graduation ceremony, and after that, term starts. So tonight, in its quiet sleepless mundanity, marks a minor turning-point. On the whole, I'm glad to be going; I have lived at home on and off now since early April - I remember making that decision, I remember taking medical leave, but it seems a very long time ago now - and, perhaps, it's long enough. No, I know it is. There was a day in April by the river when I chose to live through this, and here I am, five months later, and I am living through this. Everything is hard-edged and hard, but I never thought it wouldn't be, and I am living through this.

I will miss [livejournal.com profile] hathy_col, though. We had a nice evening this week watching Deep Space Nine and looking at pictures of conventions past, and it made me happy. We've both been watching a lot of DS9 recently, and I'm going to say again: it's good. It's really, really good. And I love Jadzia Dax and Kira possibly more than is quite healthy, but they are so wonderful. Because of them, nearly every episode passes the Bechdel test, and because of them, you get real plots about strong women doing things worthy of them. Oh, and the details - I love how well-thought-through everything is, so Dax's notions of sex and gender and, indeed, parenthood, are fluid (because they would be, if you'd lived eight lifetimes in eight different bodies), and Kira's Bajoran upbringing influences everything she does, and I love the Jake-and-Nog travellin' show, and how Odo and Quark clearly can't live without each other, and how much Bashir and O'Brien love each other, and did I mention, Dax. Dax, whose spots go all the way down. Yes.

Having got through almost an entire season in two days, I suspect I may be acquiring boxsets in the near future. Alas and alack.

As this is not an overwhelmingly substantial post, I'm going to leave you with two links of very different sorts - firstly, one I have been meaning to post apropos of something for quite some time, and as nothing appropriate has appeared, am now posting apropos of nothing much. From Tehelka: Why Indian Men Are Still Boys. It's perhaps not of much interest to most of you, but for the other Indians on the flist, I would be keen to hear your thoughts. Personally, I love it: I think it gets it, and articulates it in a way I've been trying to, without sounding like a mad NRI harpy. (Which I perhaps do sound like already, without trying either way.) Anyway, yes, I recommend it.

And secondly, a fic rec: The Other Path, by [livejournal.com profile] laleia, Harry Potter. Written for [livejournal.com profile] femgenficathon, this is about Hermione. It's short, it soars, and it makes me smile, and think about why I do what I do with my life.

Now, sleep.
raven: subway sign in black and white, text: "Times Square / 42 Street station" (stock - times square)
I just had a long and decadent bath, but now I can't stand up. Life, she is hard.

Some notes and queries, before I drag myself to bed:

1. Life lesson for the day. When you decide to use up about-to-go-off milk by making it into custard, using a measuring jug for the purpose, you know what you should do? You should wash out the measuring jug very thoroughly first. You should especially do this when the last thing the jug was used for was making vegetable stock. Mmm, delicately spiced custard.

2. Also, when you have less-than-stellar mental health, you should fill up every weekend so you're busy every calendar day for two months. Actually, yes, you should do this. I am currently too busy to draw breath, but, well, that's not so bad, I think. I need to get more sleep, though, or at least ride out the current bout of insomnia. One of these days I really must make a proper post about Life As An Insomniac, It Sucks, because, well, it does, and it continues to irritate me how people who do not have chronic sleep disorders seem to often think that Glasses of Warm Milk and A Regular Routine and, most nauseating, Maintaining Good Sleep Hygiene is all us deviants need before we're snoring in the rank and file.

(I mean, seriously. I've been sleeping badly for in excess of two decades now. If one of those things was going to work, it would've have worked by now. But I digress.)

3. [livejournal.com profile] lgbtfest is asking for prompts again! This time, I plan to participate. You guys should too, it's kind of awesome.

4. Regina Spektor - Braille. I can't stop listening to this right now.

5. And finally, and the real point of this post: tomorrow, [livejournal.com profile] shimgray and I skip off to London and trespass on [livejournal.com profile] apotropaios' hospitality, and on Saturday morning, bright and early, we're going to Paris! For adventure and excitement and really wild things! Or maybe sitting in cafés drinking good coffee and watching the world drift by. It is cool. To all a good weekend, shall be around on the flipside.
raven: image of white Macbook computer with raven perching on it (misc - raven writes)
My exams are over. Which is a good thing on many levels, because I was going insane. Truly, howlingly insane. And oh, not sleeping isn't good at all. I'd reached the point where I was sitting up at three in the morning belligerently mentally drafting a letter to all the people in the world who don't have chronic sleep disorders, which is never a good sign.

(That said, the best advice re: terrible sleeping I have ever got from anyone was from my father, who suffers the same thing with the same severity, and it was this. Are you sleepy? Right now? And are you actually going to fail your degree/lose your job? Then go to bed, now, and sleep. People whom I do not like very much as a consequence tell me that I should push through, "so you'll sleep at night". Er... no. What happens, in the life of the chronic insomniac, is you go to bed, having pushed your exhausted body and brain through the whole of the working day, and then you don't sleep. You lie awake for eight hours, and then as you're dropping blissfully off, your alarm goes again. This way, at least you get some sleep sometimes.)

Anyway! So I had slept maybe three or four hours the night before my EU exam, and maybe another two hours the night before my contract one. And the first one went, well, not that brilliantly - I had things to say, but not particularly specific things, and in no sensible order - but the second one went slightly better. I much prefer problem questions to essays, I think; you can at least work through the thing in order and feel some muted satisfaction when finished. And I have, thank god, finished. And that, bizarrely, is a quarter of the course done, dealt with and examined. I'm pleased, I think; regardless of how well I've done, that was me getting to grips with new university, new course, new skill set, new knowledge and new material, up to exam standard in twelve weeks. Hurrah.

And new friends, also! Afterwards, we went for pizza. It seemed sensible - the initial plan had been to go drinking, until someone pointed out that this would involve drinking at half-past eleven in the morning - to decamp to the city, order lots of food and enough wine for tipsiness, which is not very much when everyone is grossly sleep-deprived and thus the cheapest of cheap dates, and it was good. And we ended up scrutinishing the two-for-one vouchers the internet had provided for exclusion clauses, and writing our order down and putting it on a napkin to give to the waitress, which is what happens when six baby lawyers go to lunch. And I meant to read all afternoon, but instead got home and fell soundly asleep. It was good.

[livejournal.com profile] shimgray took me for dinner, and, note for Oxford-types, Shangai 30s, on St. Aldate's? Really, really good. The food is wonderful, and the dingy aesthetic is pretty cool, although, as Shim noted, the large painting of a naked woman on the back wall does lend the place a certain raffish air. (That said, he was wearing a tie and I was wearing a dress. It was all eminently respectable, even though we were the youngest people in the place by several decades.) And, brownies and cream, and an evening lying around doing nothing but talk and read.

(Speaking of, I am reading Mason & Dixon, an epic Thomas Pynchon novel that I really would recommend, even though I'm only about a hundred and fifty pages in (of seven hundred!); it's on the surface, a historical pastiche about Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon (yes, them) scurrying around the globe drinking and having sex with everything in sight. It's full of jokes and allusions, and at the heart of, the friendship between the two, which is strained and silly and full of endless sniping, and gloriously well-drawn. And if that were not enough, it can rollick along for twenty pages of bodice-ripping and then take an abrupt left turn into more sheer prose, a kind of sparse lambency in the way it builds time and place with so few strokes, and gosh, it's beautifully written. A brief aside, there.)

Tomorrow, I return to school, hurrah. Today, I had a day off, what fresh wonder is this, and meant to run errands, but somehow ended up spending nearly four hours in a café with [livejournal.com profile] magic_doors, talking about politics and Kosovo and academia and disestablishmentarianism and the Age! of! Enlightenment! pronounced just like that, and I remembered the enormous plethora of things and issues we seem to agree absolutely on. It was nice, and so was walking home in the cold, which still has the snap and freshness but doesn't actually make icicles of your extremities, which I entirely approve.

Onwards and upwards. Equity and trusts, criminal law, land law, and public law still to go. Tonight I might sleep!

[One further note. People talking to me on Google Talk, I entirely appreciate it, but please tell me who you are: for some unknown reason it's stripping the names off of people, and so it's kind of like talking to God.]
raven: panel from PhD comics, woman with speech bubble: "Wait a minute... I'm the only female in this class!" (misc - ppe)
My insomnia is, er, bad. Am thoroughly and comprehensively sleep-deprived - am having trouble making my verbs agree, which is always a bad first sign - and I have an exam tomorrow and another the next day. I have just today to learn something, anything, about free movement of goods and people, and while I have all my notes right there in front of me, they're not doing that thing where they go into my head. Cue quiet orgies of self-loathing, which have been something of a feature over the last week or so, but my god I am so tired of failing. \

(Or, at least, having the sort of brain that tells me I've failed so often that I don't know when it's telling me the truth. Although in this instance it probably is. Why I am such a failure as a lawyer, I ask you? It's NOT THAT HARD. You can look it up ON THE INTERNET. In CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER. LOOK. That is the Statute of Marlborough, 1267. That is the extant law that means I cannot drill for oil in my back garden if my landlord doesn't want me to. SEE.) And, also, how? I mean, how can I be taking an exam on contract law when I didn't know what it was twelve weeks ago? How does that work?

...ye gods, I am tired. And I think I've got beyond my caffiene quota for the day and it's only 3.45.

Okay, I'm shutting up, I'm going back to work, let's just call that an interlude.
raven: image of white Macbook computer with raven perching on it (misc - raven writes)
1. The definition of a valuable consideration, from Curie v Misa (1875), is: "either a right, interest, benefit or profit accruing to one party; or a forebearance, detriment, loss or responsibiity given, suffered or undertaken by the other."

No, shut up, I do not care that you thought that was boring, because I have spent the last two days of my life committing it to memory. It and a whole lot of other things, of course, but it remains the most impressive thing that I actually know.

The whole galaxy of things, however, that I do not know, remains a major source of gravity. As I keep telling people at great and aggrieved length, I took Oxford Finals six months ago, there is something deeply unfair in a universe that has me doing exams again six months later. And yes, I know these are not the same, but Finals remain a sterling example of the principle that you can work your body and mind into half-insanity for three months and still fuck it up. Which inclines me to the new and equally general principle that whatever you do, academic life sucks, and in its yet more general formulation, woman is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards.

(Seriously, why am I doing postgrad? I'm congenitally lazy (c.f a life-long passion for baths, and writing stories about other people's characters so I never have to do my own worldbuilding) and intellectually sharp as a rubber band. I love law, but I'm continuously wondering, these days, why I persist in the unnatural delusion that "love" and "am any good at" are somehow co-referential.)

Part of this mood of sweetness and light is perhaps brought on by the fact I am right in the middle of 2009's first bout of insomnia. I'm not sure why, either. I just sort of levitate over a pillow and hate the night. I think I ought to use the time to try and sit and remember cases - for example, Pinnel's Case [1602] - in which one may not suggest to one's creditor that one will pay less than owed unless one offers something to support the promise, be it a "horse, a hawk or a robe" - but thinking about cases leads to thinking about writing about cases which leads to thinking about writing cases in exams which leads to difficulty breathing through one's nose.

It isn't even the productive kind of insomnia, either; not the kind where I beaver away cheerfully and wait for the dawn. This is more the stalking-the-Serengeti type, prowling around the house irritably looking for lions, or something, anyway, all wound up with nervous energy until it snaps into unconsciousness at some unearthly hour of the morning. At which point I dream, about death, usually, and wake up in a bright and obnoxious mood in the middle of the afternoon. I also wonder, at this stage, if my whatever-it-is sleep disorder could actually be diagnosed (after twenty-two years, it may be time to convince my mother than no, I'm not going to grow out of it): I mean, it consists of occasional insomnia, occasional hypersomnia, bruxism, very infrequent sleepwalking, violent nightmares and once asleep, being almost impossible to wake. In short, I never quite got the whole sleeping-through-the-night thing that most people have nailed by the age of six months or so. I have no conclusion to draw, really. Maybe I should enlist a loved one with a frying pan.

...there was supposed to be a second point, wasn't there? Here it is.

2. I have decided, therefore, that I now wish to write romance novels for a living. So there.
raven: (girl!doctor - empires toppling)
It was an unsettled night. At seven am I woke up after a violent nightmare involving someone moving into the Mousehole with a snake. (I am, as previously noted, severely ophidiophobic.) I remember quite clearly telling [livejournal.com profile] chiasmata that it wasn't poisonous, it was a kingsnake, and its coloration pattern is in a different order from venomous coral snakes. (Wikipedia, with images turned off, tells me that this is absolutely true [note for other phobics: there is probably a picture of a kingsnake on that page]. Once again I am amazed by my dream-self's capacity for perfect trivia recall. So I wandered around the house, read some of dreadful Germaine Greer and her dreadful book, and went back to sleep.

And woke up again at one in the afternoon, when [livejournal.com profile] shimgray decided I would probably sleep until Doomsday unless he intervened. In my defence, I was awake at 3.42am - because that's when I finished my [livejournal.com profile] yuletide. It has been sent off for beta, and I'm pleased. Not just with it, but in general, because here is December, and I was all ready to just opt out of the fannish round-up memes this year, because I have been so staggeringly unprolific. But! What I wrote this year:

Changes in Sea Level, TOS, 1000 words;
Autochthony, TOS, 10,000 words;
interlude, Slings & Arrows ficlet, 400 words;
things fall apart, Doctor Who, 500 words;
Dirty Witch Doctors, HP, 645 words, co-written.

And also, thirteen photographs (the via crucis remix), 4500 words for Remix, and my 6000 words of Yuletide.

So, a total of about 22,500, which is about two thirds of what I usually do, and, well, for a year which had both my Finals and six months of clinical depression in it, I figure that's not so bad. And, well, I'm not much with the writing-when-I-don't-want-to, but it is pretty much the only hobby I've consistently stuck to for a decade, so I ought to keep track. (Ye gods, 2009 - it really is ten years of writing fiction, isn't it? I seem to remember trying to write a novel when I was twelve, which was 1999. Oh dear.)

I also have two half-finished stories on my hard drive - well, at any given moment I have hundreds of half-finished stories on my hard drive, but these two are of note because I fully intend to finish them. One is Merlin/Arthur, a short and not very happy love story, and the other is a gen HP story about Hermione keeping Remus's books in trust for Teddy. I like both of them, and they might see the light of day, er, sometime.

And, one other thing. Whilst writing 6000 words in two days is a bad thing - seriously, children, do not do as I have done, especially when you have exams in January - it is fun. Yeah, writing is fun. Sitting up to all hours of the night crafting something is one of my favourite things to do. This was a plot-driven story, rather than character, which made me worry about it: I'm worried it has no heart to it, it's just, stuff happened. But the process is the fun part, and I guess, well, I'm not an artist, I don't do crafts or hobbies, I don't do very much other than law, except this. I fangirl! I write! I am entirely socially unacceptable! It's awesome!
raven: cartoon image of bleary-looking woman with dark hair (nemi - sleeeeepy)
I have now had a stabbing headache for eight days, eleven hours and counting. Alongside it, I have dizziness, insomnia and strange, transient dysphasia. Last night my parents were trying to convince me not to go to Edinburgh, but rather just go to London for a job interview on Monday and come straight back. Which is all very well - it's sensible, when you have stabbing pains in your head, not to do, you know, stuff - but I was pretty much just... no. No, I do not want to do that. So I woke up this morning, stumbled around looking for codeine, found it, went back to bed, got out of it again and rang up my GP, and my parents, who by dint of being themselves, got me referred to neurology. So I dragged myself out of bed for the third time and I went. It's a little disconcerting, going into a hospital you've lived in for years as an actual outpatient.

My mother said, last night, "It's a ninety-five percent chance you don't have a brain tumour..."

...which was very handy to know, yes indeed. The neurologist was very nice, though. Did not talk too loudly, which endeared him to me. He flashed lights in my eyes whilst asking about the fog in San Francisco - I've given up asking how people know the things they know - and then wanted to know what my degree is in. "I ought to check it's not in medicine or physiology," he said. "I wouldn't want to talk down to you."

I found this, also, endearing. After a while he sat back and said, "I'm pleased to tell you that you don't have a brain tumour."

Hurrah. Also, I do not have migraines, sinustis, hormone imbalances or space-occupying lesions of the brain. The only other serious thing it could be is, apparently, renal failure, so I had several quarts of blood removed for the purpose of discovering this. It's unlikely, I am told. So were all the other things. But apparently I have just the right symptoms for a lot of unpleasant conditions, so I didn't complain at the pricking.

In absence of further investigation, I have an unspecified neuralgia. I have, thus, been prescribed more codeine, beta-blockers and diclofenac. (Most of these are in my parents' medicine cupboard already.) And I can go away next week without any trouble as long as I keep taking the pills, so all is well, save the part where I still have a headache. And the mild dysphasia, which I'm not sure whether to actually give that name to - it is mentioned as a symptom of migraine-related conditions, so it came up - but it might just be a result of having been in a lot of pain for a week. It's weird, but I can't spell. I couldn't spell "appropriate" or "maintenance" yesterday; I had to look up "diclofenac" a moment ago; I keep falling over words. I don't know. I imagine it will pass. (But yes, that is a just brilliant symptom to have just before a job interview, well done that universe.)

In other news. I am very tired of living at home. and why that is, etc )

In short: I do not have a brain tumour, hurrah, I am still leaving soon, hurrah, 48mg of codeine per day, hurrah.
raven: black and white photograph of Asian woman smiling and clasping her hands (misc - me)
My father was in London a few days ago, doing exciting things for his college, and came up to Oxford on his way home to visit me. He said he wouldn't come if it would distract me. I said I wanted distracting, by this stage. So he came, and wandered into the city with me, and he came up to my room briefly, noted that if this was what it looked like when I tidied up then he didn't want to know what it looked like before, and then fed me a very nice lunch, and we walked down along the Isis for a bit. I told him the various things I have been reading about/doing to stay sane, and pointed out the prettier bits of the Parks, he told me about the stuff he's doing for the college in India, we paused to take in a few civilised overs as various of the University's cricket teams were playing under the trees. It was very calm, and pleasant, and sane-making.

Before he disappeared, he left me with a bag of stuff: my mum's iPod, which she said she was lending me if I was nice to it; an enormous bag of very very nice jellybeans; the wedge of forms required to reapply for a photocard driving licence; the red Pucca wallet I used when I was fourteen, as I am currently without one. Giving me that last thing, he said, "Don't just put that in a drawer, there's some money in it. Your mum insisted."

I thanked him, and he went off to get his train. Putting the things away, I noted that there was indeed some money in it: £33.50, to be exact.

Which was, I thought, a strangely specific figure, and strangely familiar. It has just now dawned on me - now, at 2.14am when I am awake for no reason and unconsciously grinding my teeth - that it's the exact amount required for a single ticket from Oxford to Liverpool Lime Street.

In other words, my parents would still love me if I packed it in right now and went home without taking my Finals.

I have no intention of doing this, and it's not as if I actually doubted it, but. It is a very nice realisation to have had at 2.14am when I can't sleep and the awful things are five days away and I'm beginning to panic and... yeah.
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (xf - you are here)
Storm's coming. There's been no rain yet, only a few ecstatic bursts of enormous hailstones, but there's an epic quality to the wind; the top branches of the pines are moving in full circles, and superiposed on a sky that isn't black but livid, vivid pinkish at the horizon and radiating up. I went to bed and got up again, and padded dowstairs barefoot to find someone had left the agarbathi still burning. The wind, the shadows, the feeling of enormity beyond the glass - all very melodramatic, and I don't think I'm going to sleep through this.

Which is faintly exasperating, as I went to bed early to sleep off whatever lurgy I have contracted this time - it's a sort of swaying-from-side-to-side, my-mother-is-chasing-me-with-an-auroscope kind of lurgy - and am failing quite conspicuously at that. I imagine I'll drop off when the rain starts.

So, in the meantime, I am going to do gloriously productive things like, er, memes, and reformatting my iPod for the Mac (which has a name! it was originally "Julian", which didn't stick, so I tried again with Nemi Montoya, after the Norwegian comic character, and this seems to be working), and er, maybe read more on Descartes. (I have spent two days reading pretty much nothing else, and am reaching the conclusion that I don't like him much. Well, I like bits of him. I like the Dreaming Argument far too much, because it's a cliche and it's a cliche for a reason. How do we know we're not dreaming? We don't, is the answer. Isn't that neat? It's a question with a straightforward answer. Round about the week I started thinking about it for the first time - well, explicitly; I'm told I asked this question at a fairly tender age, which probably says rather a lot about me - I was walking down the High Street past Exam Schools and saw, at eye-level, done in white chalk, the words: "are you awake?"

It's still there, I believe. I say I believe, because I could have dreamed it.

The problem here, of course, is that Descartes' project of discovering indubitable truth can't be done if he's mad - his word, although what he means is probably reducible into suspension of rationality - but it can be done in a dream. Maybe he dreamed his entire project, but still. That makes me, reading it four hundred years later, part of the self-same dream, and I, like him, have to assume my own continuing rationality.

(Now I come to think of it, this is why philosophers go crazy. They start the day by consciously assuming their own rationality.)

Anyway, yes. I like the Dreaming Argument. I even like the cogito, because it's got a lovely feel to it, phenomenologically speaking; you can complain at length about his unexamined metaphysics and his confusion of normative and factual indubitability (oh my, I love my subject), but that comes later: first of all, you go through sensory perceptions, the Dreaming Argument, through madness and malevolent forces and you find yourself exactly where he was, in the aha, I exist! place. I doubt, therefore I am. Isn't that great? I sit here and I can't know who I am or why I am or what the world is like or if it exists at all, but I am.

Then, of course, you end up getting enormously distracted by his "proofs" of God, which I dislike immensely, but the First Meditation is wonderful.

...er. Amazingly enough, I did not open this update window in order to talk at length about Cartesian doubt. Um. Go and look at the Philosophical Lexicon. It makes me laugh far too much, and does not involve (much about) Descartes.

Moving swiftly on, yes. The reason I had been putting off reformatting my iPod is because it would reset all my play counts to zero, which is a little disconcerting after three years. They're going slowly up again, although it may be a while before I've listened to Dar Williams' "The Ocean" 246 times, again. (It amuses me still that [livejournal.com profile] likethesun2 happened to tell me in a rec-your-friends-specific-things meme that I must listen to the song, I'd love it - and I, because I am just that predictable, proceeded to listen to it about fifty times in one day. The day in question is the on which I wrote "What The Ocean Can Know of a Body", so there was a happy ending all round, except for Mulder and Scully.)

Speaking of Dar Williams, she is great and never stops being so. She's one of the few artists I primarily like for her lyrics; my current most-played song is "February", which is very simply arranged and sung, but the lyrics are just... haunting. (and I tried to remember, but I said, "what's a flower?" / you said, "I still love you")

Also, and infamously, "When I Was A Boy", which used to be the first song on a playlist I had called "the personal is political", because I'm subtle like that. It's one of her anecdotal songs, which starts off as a song about how gender roles inhibit and damage girls and women, and it's poignant and nice, until the last verse, which twists it all around and.... yes. Yes. Again, very simple musically, and the lyrics break me.

My other song of the moment is, courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] chiasmata, "Ghosts" by Laura Marling - again, lyrically lovely.

Yes, yes, iTunes, do get on with transferring 1692 songs, I appreciate it. Oh, ye gods, I am dull. This is what happens when I sit at home vaguely lurgyfied and read a lot of continental rationalism. Thankfully, bright and early on Thursday morning, I am going far up north to see [livejournal.com profile] hathy_col for the first time in a million gazillion years - three months - and help her perambulate a giant inflatable Dalek electoral candidate around the streets of St Andrews. There will be joy and non-computer-based social interaction and rampant geekery and jelly babies and joy again, and I love how some things, at least, don't ever change.

Rain. Sleeeeeeep.


Feb. 18th, 2008 01:38 am
raven: red tulips in a vase on a balcony, against a background of a city (stock - tulips)
Over the weeked, [livejournal.com profile] glitzfrau asked me how long I've had insomnia. Twenty-one years, I said. (This is, indeed, broadly true. My poor mother.) At least, she said, it's vaguely glamourous as life-long afflictions go. It's not, for example, constipation.

Needless to say, I am finding this an oddly comforting thought at 1.27am. I am overtired in that very special way that involves pacing up and down your room being wide-eyed and loopy and hyper-aware of the quality of the light. Bizarrely, I seem to be sleeping better in places that aren't my bed. I woke up a lot but did actually sleep when I was in Leeds, [livejournal.com profile] chiasmata put me up on Thursday and I slept, and tonight I dropped in on [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong after OULES and dozed off whilst sprawled full-length on her floor. I think I might seriously try sleeping in the window seat again, but perhaps not on a night when it is six degrees below zero.

(A brief digression on that point: holy cow, it is cold. It was a couple of degrees chillier in the north, but it's still very cold here. Worth it, for the three or four days of perfectly cloudless, clear winter days, which are my favourite type of weather and I should stop moaning.)

Anyway, yes. It remains true that lack of sleep is making a wee bit of a nutcase of me. I was on [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong's floor, as previously mentioned, staring at my bare wrists and noting that I never know what time it is any more, like so: "My watch has stopped. Also I'm not wearing it."

Yep. I'm very bright, me.

Cue laughter, because, oh, dear, I am not made of win at the moment. I have spent the last few days fighting off an utterly black mood - why should I get out of bed? why? no, really, why? - mostly successfully, by being very busy. Friday night was Queer Cabaret, and it was marvellous. The bar was filled with beautiful people of every gender, and there were pink wigs and glitter and luridly-coloured cocktails.

(Also, it was four degrees below zero and this is what I had chosen the coldest night of the winter so far to go out in:

huh )

Yes. But freezing to death aside, it was a wonderful evening. There were two "professional" queer acts, neither of which I liked particularly, but I actually went for Girlesque, and they were worth every penny. They sang and danced and were gloriously louche and genderqueer and talented and beautiful. [livejournal.com profile] sebastienne's beyond-lovely version of Cole Porter's "You're The Top", redone with a distinctly sadomasochistic flavour, was probably my favourite part. And this is entirely apart from the fact that I was immortalised in the line: "... you're the harsh slave-owner / you're Laura to my Iona..."

Every new person I met for the rest of the evening said, "Oh, you're the girl in the song!" I love it really.

On Saturday morning, at eight in the morning, [livejournal.com profile] chiasmata appeared with a lot of coffee and informed me we were going to Leeds. And we did, indeed, go all the way up the M1 to Leeds and visit [livejournal.com profile] biascut and [livejournal.com profile] glitzfrau, who are delightful and were very good to us. We didn't do very much beyond eat, giggle, read the Saturday Guardian and watch Mean Girls, and it was a lovely relaxing couple of days. It was nice to be back in the north, however briefly. I might've been tempted to actually go home as well - Leeds is, I believe, east of Formby Point and not too far a drive - but my parents are away. They're in Bangalore doing interesting and exciting things and undoubtedly getting into trouble of some description. They're with my favourite uncle, all three of them are skiving off any lectures they ought to be giving in Delhi, and last time this was the case, I was flying home out of Delhi. I'd said my goodbyes outside, got through security control and just settled in to wait for my flight when my mum and uncle appeared looking very cheerful. You're not allowed to be in here, I complained.

Sure we are, they said. We're government officials of India.

"Since when?" I yelled.

"Since," my mum said, holding up some expertly forged dated paperwork, "er, since this morning?"

...I digress. But they're having fun without me and have probably got into lots of trouble by now.

We came back to Oxford late this afternoon and made it home without any hassle, despite traffic accidents on the motorway and a general aura of sleepiness. The weather was almost ludicrously beautiful all the way down, with a glorious, sticky-Neapolitan confection of a sunset - pink and yellow stripes! - and I was thinking, in that half-witted very sleepy sort of way, that a lot of my thought processes lately have been framed in metaphors of travel and movement and distance. I noticed the landscape changing from rolling Oxfordshire fields to the more industrial north; I noticed the curving lines of streetlights looking strange and starry against the sky; I noticed changing signposts and people's accents and all the things that are different when you go anywhere. Which is all not very profound, but it makes me think that the next six months of my life, after June and Finals, will not be spent here. Not here, not in one place. I want to travel - I want to keep on moving and keep noticing and keep writing - and this will be the first time I've ever been free to just start moving and not stop. And part of it is undoubtedly a straightforward response to urgh, Finals, but it's true: it's time for something different.

OULES is going well. At some point this week, we are going to acquire the Sack of Troy from eBay. I meant to come home, but stayed and drank peppermint tea and did nothing but stare at the ceiling and love my friends and now I'm going to try and sleep.


Feb. 4th, 2008 01:30 am
raven: Amelie against a green background; text: "purdue" (amelie - perdue)
Someone needs to write a Marauders-era fic called "We Just Want To Be Sixteen (Even Though We're Twenty-Three". I'm just saying.

Anyway. Via [livejournal.com profile] mireille719, there is a feedback meme going on. I've been drive-by posting on everyone I know, but people should sign up. I've stuck myself on the end here.

In other news, [livejournal.com profile] absinthe_shadow pointed out that Super Tuesday and Shrove Tuesday are the same day, and this is still the best thing ever.

I will write a substantial post some day soon maybe. Once again it's two am and fairly soon, in the cosmic sense of "soon", I have a lecture on Hume to sleep through. And possibly, fairly cracked-out dreams to celebrate the passing of the insomnia; I had a very matter-of-fact dream last week in which Maria and I were checking BBC weather online and found that next week, the temperature in Oxford was going to be sixty-six degrees Celsius.

"Oh," I said, calmly, in the dream, "that's eight degrees above the world record."

(The worst part? This is true. Apparently my dream-self is both unflappable and has perfect trivia recall. I should spend more time asleep.)

October 2017

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