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: panel from PhD comics, woman with speech bubble: "Wait a minute... I'm the only female in this class!" (misc - ppe)
So, internets, what have I done today? Mostly... failed. Yeah, failed. But I'm surprisingly cheery for someone who's been ridin' the failroad all the live-long day. Stuff and things:

-Woolworths has gone into administration. I mean... seriously. Woolies. I appreciate I live in one of the few English cities without one, but there is at least one in Temple Cowley. Where do I get my pick 'n' mix now? I am a grown-up! I demand sweeties!

...yeah. Although it pleases me to learn that the one I remember from early childhood, where, one might say, a lifelong passion was formed, was in fact the first Woolworths in this country, having opened in 1909.

-The cat has exploding diarrhoea. Hurrah. Well, she doesn't any more, but the last couple of days have been... traumatic. "Poo on the walls!" wailed [livejournal.com profile] chiasmata, who is a saint. I fully intend to bathe the horrible creature tomorrow; she smells, and has got into the habit of stuffing her little face into my bowls of chocolate cake/breakfast cereal/unripe mango.

(We are currently consoling ourselves, every time the cat does something horrific, with the thought that her tiny furry testicles will be chopped off soon. Some of the men of our acquaintance have expressed concern at the sheer amount of glee to be found inherent in this fact.)

(Also, the end is nigh: the cat has learned to use a computer. At any rate, I left my open laptop in my room, only to return to find [livejournal.com profile] shimgray maintaining a conversation with her over Google Talk. Well, I say conversation; his side of it was "HELLO CAT", and hers, "09?"\'olpp--------------".)

-I own a corset. I'm not sure exactly why this is. It is purple and velvety black, laces up at the front, has lace and trimmings, and I totally don't have the breasts for it, and I love it. I mean... yeah. I don't know why, but I've been in the sort of mood to get dressed up and go dancing. I may have to wait until the next Intrusion (for the initiated, this is Oxford's monthly goth night - because goths only need to socialise once a month) before I can deck self up in corset and glitter and ludicrous amounts of eyeliner, but still.

-I am trying to write some notes about duress and necessity defences in the criminal law, but I keep finding myself looking at the open window of, er, Merlin fic. (Fic! I am writing fic! Should I be happy or incredibly embarrassed!)

-My awful essay on EU preliminary rulings has come back and is, predictably, awful. This is mitigated somewhat by my tutor's style of softening the blow; he is apparently of the opinion that exclamation points make everything better. So: "Not a bad essay! Satisfactory citation! More case law required! Presentation needs improvement!"

...and so on. I am actually very fond of the man. The last class I went to was on free movement of people within the European Union, which in retrospect was a very bad idea. Naturally, this eventually fell into some white-privileged arse standing up and saying, "Those immigrants! They come here, steal our women, take our jobs!"

I paraphrase, but I'm sure you all know the type. So, he said that, and then there was a long pause, while everyon in the class tried very pointedly not to look at me, sitting there quietly being brown, and then tried very pointedly not to look at the Amazing Greek Dude tutor, who is, er... Greek.

And then everyone looked very embarrassed. I had schadenfreude. It was good.

-My braaaaain! Is still a bit of a bugger, really. I've had some serious dips in my mental health this week, and also am beginning to quantify the side-effects of the citalopram. It makes me ridiculously, continuously sleepy, is an appetite-suppressant (which is why I have spent the last two weeks of my life living off fruit and breakfast cereal), and, annoyingly, makes me stupider. At any rate, it gives me issues with my short-term memory, which leads to lots of wandering into rooms and wondering what I went into them for.

(That said, I had a nice moment of affirmation last Friday; having mostly spent the day failing, I had got sick of my lovely lovely land law lecturer looking at me with big sad disappointed eyes and said, "I'm not really fail! I love your subject! It's just that I'm a crazy person!"

Maybe not quite like that. But, anyway, her response was, "You poor old soul," in a very motherly tone of voice, and yeah, I kind of heart her. Anyway, I went to her lecture at the end of the day, and said, "I have a question." (It was not a very interesting question. If anyone really wants to know, it was: if a mortgage of transfer is no longer legitimate in English law as of LPA 1925, and as such the deads of title are held by the mortgagor, how may the mortgagee possess and sell in law and not in equity?)

She got a really horrified look on her face and said, "Oh god, I didn't tell you all that? Everyone, stop it, you can't go yet, thank you so much for asking that."

I don't know why it made me so happy, but it did. Something about oh hi, I'm still sometimes smart.)

-And that's it. Hopefully, no more fail. Or at least, just a little bit of fail, because it's nearly Christmas. Maybe back to duress. Or fanfic. But probably duress.


Oct. 24th, 2008 06:35 pm
raven: panel from PhD comics, woman with speech bubble: "Wait a minute... I'm the only female in this class!" (misc - ppe)
That Cat, having just run riot around the living room, settled herself down to take a big bite out of my golden-syrupped waffles. I picked her up by the middle - the kitten I could once scoop up in one hand now works quite well as a draught excluder - and put her in the kitchen, and closed the door.

Poor kitty. Cue much wailing. "You don't looooooove me! You hate me! I bet I'm adopted!"

I ate my waffles, put the plate down and let her back in. Cue much purring, finger licking, and finally settling herself down to lick the golden syrup off the plate. Fine, I thought. Okay, she's rotting her little teeth, but she's due to lose them in the few weeks or so.

Then she shoved her little nose into the mug on the table, pushed it off and bounced down onto the floor. I sat up and found her cheerfully lapping up half a mug of black coffee. This is, I would argue, all the proof one needs that she is not adopted. She would have none of that. I put her back in the kitchen and all was peace.

And then small, stripy, kitty paws appeared under the kitchen door. They flailed. They flailed some more. Then a tiny kitty nose. Then a tiny kitty miaow. "S'okay, if you don't love me. I'll just. I'll just starve. It's okay."

In conclusion: I give up. I have a cat enthusiastically investigating the back of my jeans. With her claws. If anyone asks, I've just got into kink. Is less embarrassing than Defeat By Four-Month-Old Kitten.

In other news, I'm still here. Went to all my classes and lectures this week, save one. I still love the law. As for my brain... well. Still here. Having been offered it, I have so far resisted switching my meds to amitryptyline, because it's a tricyclic and the side-effects will probably be too awful for me to function. I went to my first session of talk-therapy on Wednesday. My counsellor is middle-aged, balding and has ears that stick out to here. I like him a lot. He said, tell me about your family. I told him about my family. I told him my father is a cheerful aging hippie, my mother is both awesome and occasionally crazy. He said, tell me about your friends. I told him about them. He asked, how do you cope with life and depression.

I did not say: I make convoluted puns on the internet. I eat waffles. I pick up my cat and sing, "Kitty in the sky with diamonds!" My dearest friend comes in from Norfolk and sexually propositions me.

I said: humour.

He laughed, and told me that he didn't like to make sweeping predictions so early on in the therapy-process, and he hadn't known me too long, but, well, "I think you'll probably be fine."

In other other news:

Truly idiotic post from Feministing today - apparently we should not be in long-distance relationships because they're not environmentally-friendly. As well as being idiotic in itself, this post exemplifies one of the things that annoy me about the big feminist blogs (Feministing, Feministe, Pandagon): they're so very definite about what a feminist, or in this case, a social progessive, is like. Occasionally that approach backfires spectacularly - see Amanda Marcotte's incredibly racist book covers, for example - but not often enough for my liking. Possibly this is just the week white privilege is pissing me off, but hell, white privilege pisses me off.

(Random bit of rage for the day: people keep talking about Christmas. Christmas is in December, for heaven's sake. I belong to a religious tradition that is also subscribed to by a billion people. The major winter religious festival of this religious tradition is, er, on Monday. Have I heard a single thing from the media, or the world at large, about this? Have I fuck.)

(Note: I am aware that this is not white privilege per se. I have never found a good term to describe it. I once described it as "orthopraxic cultural privilege", but I don't think it'll catch on.)

(Further note: [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong gave me a Diwali card. This is awesome.)

I stop babbling now, yesyes. I am going to re-read Whipping Girl now.
raven: (hp - tonks puff)
I have discovered why I run out of spoons every day at lunchtime! It's 'cause someone's selling them behind my back!

My mother did, in fact, buy some Iona spoons over the weekend, on the grounds that she'd been wanting to buy spoons for a while (clearly, a long-cherished dream, and who am I to judge) and it seemed a good omen. It's a funny name for product ranges, mine - there used to be an Ikea range of furniture, and also a type of crystal miniature. I don't know what connotations my name is supposed to have - probably, elegant and minimalist, and not, five-foot-three Asian geek-girl, but reality is frequently inaccurate.

Anyway, I am still here. Still quite a lot spoonless, and would really like pills to start working soon, plz. My GP was extraordinarily plummy and somewhat stand-offish, but basically helpful; he said, profoundly, why don't you take two pills every day instead of one. Hurrah for the scientific method. I am duly taking two pills every day instead of one, and so far all that has happened is that I've been very sleepy and headachey, and still feeling grim. Being around other people is draining, but, couner-intuitively, also does me good; they stop me thinking in circles by, I don't know, being themselves and interesting.

One of the things that is quite difficult about all this is that I have to cope with all sorts of stuff just when I'm least able to deal with it. Considering that I am all faily-faily paralysed-with-fear girl, I did think I ought to inform someone of an academic persuasion that, oh hi, there is a distinct chance I may be failing in the general direction of academia fairly soon. I went to see my personal tutor, therefore; he said, that's nice, it's not my bailiwick, go and speak to the department. I emailed the department. They didn't reply for a week, and finally did this afternoon to say, that's nice, it's not our problem, go and see student services. I went to student services. I sat outside for a bit, then went to the door marked "Disability Office" and asked the person inside, "Are you the disability office?"

"No," she said cheerfully, "This is international student services. Disability is in the advisory services."

I went to the advisory services. They were closed. It was 1.26pm. I sat on the floor and read about contract for half an hour. Then I went in and said, somewhat harrassedly, "I would like to talk to someone, please."

The person behind the desk twisted a lock of hair around a very sharp fingernail and looked at me. I looked back. Around us, the clock ticked, the other people in the last stages of bureaucracy-induced breakdown shifted in their chairs. I said, "I'm going away now," and did.

And so, when people ask me where I've been and if I've been ill, I smile and nod. It seems sensible. Today I made it to a nine o'clock lecture, managed to write things down, even, and came home feeling a bit icky and decided I wanted a shower. I got in and found the plumber had turned off the hot water.

Okay, I thought, I'll have lunch, is what I'll do. Not eating makes me feel worse. I went into the kitchen and discovered the plumber had filled the kitchen with a gas hob, a stepladder, two toolboxes, two chairs, two squished-up tarpaulins and several clouds of rising dust and a radio playing angry early nineties pop music.

I'll do some work, then, thinketh I - so I went up to my desk, got out a book on contract, opened it to the chaper on promissory estoppel and reached for a pen. And then next door started playing Bob Dylan at top volume next to the wall, the cat started wailing in concert and from downstairs, I heard the sound of a blowtorch being switched on.

I went back to bed.

Anyway! Things that are cheering, because there still are many:

-[livejournal.com profile] sebastienne deciding that the very best thing to cheer me up would be a rousing rendition of Dragostea Din Tei. Moldovan pop music ftw. It was indeed very cheering.

-The Vagina Monologues! It's on next week in Oxford, and it's the first time I've seen a professional production and I am very excited. Also, [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong is coming, yaaaay.

-Last week at the pharmacy, I'd queued up and handed over my £7.10 and was waiting to get my lovely pills, when they called the guy in front of me, a perfectly normal-looking chap in jeans and boots. The man's name was Fertility Crombie. That was his name. I have told this to everyone. It does not stop being amazing.

-A very nice person who elects to remain nameless has translated one of my stories into Russian. I have been able to read Cyrillic since, well, never, but it's nonetheless very pleasing to see it up there. The story in question is "Love in Fire and in Blood", which is one of my favourites of my own stories, being nothing more than an affable comedy about drunken people being drunk. (And is, I think, the last piece of Sirius/Remus I wrote - which is notable, because the only reason I stoppped writing it was that I had, actually, written absolutely everything I had it in me to write about them.) Anyway! Story, in Russian! I should at some point compile a list of which of my stories have been translated - there are a handful in French and in Russian, but perhaps on a day when I have more spoons.

(Actually, I am sitting here being ill, someone rec me Sirius/Remus that I haven't read.)

-I have a cat. She still caterwauls impressively and thinks chewing my ankles is an entirely acceptable way to express love. Have an entirely gratuitious cat picture:

you're a kitty! )

That's it. Still here, still going to be here.
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
This weekend has been mostly marked by a profound sense of unease. I don't like Indian summers; I sort of distrust baking asphalt in late September, and there have been a lot of comings and goings, so the Mousehole hasn't been the usual haven of continuity it usually is (that said, our new housemate is pretty, butch, Swedish, and radiates an aura of absolute calm; I heartily approve); also, on Saturday I did the enormously smart thing of forgetting my pills. By four in the afternoon I was overheated and mad. It wasn't good.

Speaking of pills, I pause to boringly discuss myself and my drugs )

(Pause there for [livejournal.com profile] shimgray to inform me from the kitchen, wistfully, "Iona, your fridge is on a deep and fundamental level unlike Andrew Jackson's White House."

And a further pause for me to realise a) he is making cheese on toast and b) and cannot find the cheese.)

In other news, I have [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong visiting, which is always a force for good even when I am being flaily flaily useless girl. I went for a long walk, I sat in the garden for a while, I tried cleaning, but in the end I gave up, slept soundly for four hours and she came and petted me occasionally. It was a good cure; I woke up feeling much better, and have since then eaten a large bowl of pasta and cheese, a large bowl of cereal, a slice of bread, a chocolate bar, two sherbet lemons and a sliced apple with lime and am still hungry. Possibly what I have also ails the cat; at any rate, she has spent the last four hours or so fast asleep on the sofa, looking ridiculously cute.

Ah, yes, speaking of the kitty, she is a boooooy. We took her to the vet, walking her down the Iffley Road in a carrier while she wailed piteously, and sat in the waiting room cooing through the bars before we took her in to see the vet. The vet was a very nice woman indeed, not at all fazed by the four women it apparently required to take this one very small animal to the vet's, and lifted up Harriet's tail, and said, yes. She has testicles. Your kitty is a boy. She is, however, still being referred to as "Harriet" and "she", because, well. Because we can, and we're used to it.

(My personal favourite bit of this whole encounter was the part where the kitty sat there like an angel while the vet injected her with a BIG GINORMOUS NEEDLE and we wailed and clutched our breasts and cried, "Baaaaaaby!" She, meanwhile, didn't make a sound and didn't squirm and when it was over she gave the vet a forgiving lick. We've had her a month and I don't know what we did without her, dear little thing.)

There is nothing else of note in my life at present, it must be said. Last night I saw the Jules Verne pass overhead, a brief shining thing glittering through the twilight. Because I am small, and our back garden is full of trees, I had to be lifted up to see it overhead, and it's amazing, how this brief passing star lifts you out of dinner and washing-up and the smell of apples in the garden, up into the sky with it.

What else? Land law is fascinating. I am not being sarcastic. Land law is this delicious tangled mess of common law, Roman law, history, tradition, Latin and lore, and I love it. I hope I still love it after twelve weeks of flailing about in it, but I'm certainly enjoying it at the moment. Tomorrow, the doctor's, then school for just an hour in the afternoon - I'm going to do some pro bono, so help me.

Life, v. exciting. Goodnight, all.
raven: black and white; Tenth Doctor on a bed, looking up at Martha (doctor who - in bed together)
The last couple of days have been marked by mostly, let us say, incompetence. Yesterday I got up far too early, went home, went back to bed for two hours, felt much better, and was just congratulating myself on my being up and chirpy and in good time for lectures when I locked myself out.

Today I got up in plenty of time - my sleeping habits have taken a dramatic upturn lately; today I woke up before my alarm, god help us all - and went to a ten am lecture on the institutions of the EU, which was marked by the fact the module handbook has been misplaced, and as such we were being told to turn to page 33, oh, see the diagram at the top of page 27, and you might enjoy the reference on page 101, and mostly sitting there staring into space. Also, the lecturer - who is none of the ones mentioned so far, and is so far only notable for her staggering incompetence - is a great fan of visuals, and as such, keeps trying to show us educational videos on YouTube and loading them in five windows at once so they start at ten-second intervals and turn the lecture theatre into this sort of echoing trance space. And then she tries to turn the lights off, and fails at that too. It's rather sad.

(It was at this point in the lecturer where I looked up from my desk in a huff and noticed, to my sudden delight, three saffron-clad Buddhist monks running serenely past the window after a bus. Clearly, this is the way to go.)

(Also, the European Union - yes, that one, the actual supranational body of twenty-seven member states - has its own section on its website for educational videos. What's it called, I ask you. What name did this august and worthy body choose?

...EUTube. I despair.)

It was made apparent to me later that I had to do some work out of this module book that I didn't have, and, accordingly, Nice Girl On Course and I went across the hill to try and find a copy. On the way, I was telling her about Harriet-the-cat, she who was bequeathed to us as a female and is usually referred to as "she", but nevertheless might have testicles, and explaining that we'll probably keep calling her Harriet regardless.

"Oh, that's all right," said my friend, "you've got a few years before she's sitting on a couch saying, 'They lied to me! I always knew I was different from the other girl-cats!'"

Through our joint attack of the giggles, she went on: "Maybe, when we're around everyone else, we should try and pretend we're normal."

"Yeah," I said thoughtfully. "Maybe that would be best."

The moral of this story, dear friends, that there are geeks everywhere, even on postgrad law courses, if you only know where to look.

I eventually got home, sans module-book (they've lost them!), and fed myself and the cat lunch, and realised all at once that a) I was about to fall over and b) this would be because I forgot my pills again, so I prised one out of the packet, went to get some water and was back just in time to stop my nine-week-old kitten swallowing down ten milligrams of citalopram hydrobromide.

Yeah. Sort of epic fail, today. (Although I'm not the only one. The European Parliament building in Strasbourg, my lecturer explained, is architecturally precise; the circular shape embodies the EU's values, its emphasis on strength, on unity. We were going to take you all there on a visit, she went on, but the roof fell in.)

I don't know why I tell you all my litanies of woe. Have a drabble.

translations, not a play by Brian Friel, 100 words. For [livejournal.com profile] hathy_col, who wanted Discworld, the Librarian, translations of "ook".

ook! )
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (misc - our feline overlords)
Dear Harriet, kitten, light of my life,

Yes, exactly the most convenient place for you to go peacefully to sleep is with your body on my lap and your head on my Macbook trackpad.

yours in fond exasperation,

raven: Martha against washed-out background (doctor who - martha pwns everything)
I am brain-fogged and chilly. This is probably a combination of September squalls and the fact I forgot my pills, leaving me with a cumulative effect of feeling a little translucent and washed-out, as though the light is passing through me. I'm being held to earth by the expedients of sharp claws and the newly-discovered art of caterwauling. I took a bath, leaned back into the water, and listened to an ice-cream van go past playing "Greensleeves", the rain hitting the wrought iron in the garden in manner of arthritic gamelan, and the racket outside the bathroom door. "Betraaaaaaayal!" wailed kitty. "You're in that roooooooooom! You don't loooooooove me!"

It's not what I expected, I must say. I expected a more, shall we say, businesslike and companionable relationship with this cat. I am a dog person. I like dogs, I'm used to dogs, for preference enormous solemn-eyed dogs who, if I am crass enough to take a bath in the middle of the afternoon, do nothing so ostentatious as howl or scratch on the door but rather arrange themselves in attitudes of mute, hopeless devotion, occasionally shifting their paws into better silhouette for the sculptor who is no doubt on his way. Kitty, on the other hand, demands food and shoelaces and love, vociferously. They tell me she will grow up to be a dignified and serene tabby-cat. I will believe this when I see it. In the meantime she gets stuck in the bookcase and goes to sleep between my crossed legs and attempts to steal the bootlaces out of one's boots. The jury is out as to whose boots she prefers, or indeed if she has any concept of us as individuals, even the-tall-one-who-smells-of-dust and the-smaller-ones-who-smell-of-gin.

(Apparently the way my hands move over the keyboard is very threatening. My forearms are getting ripped to shreds.)

In other news, being an unemployed layabout continues. I had a job interview yesterday - well, I say interview; it was more in the way of an assessment day, consisting of five hours of fairly horrifying set tasks. I was, shall we say, terrified; Shim spent much of his morning talking me down from the tree I got myself into beforehand, and then I rang for a taxi and it didn't come for ages and blah, blah, glaaargh, it was at nine and I got there at 8.59 and honestly, I could have started better. As well as an interview, I had a written test, a group exercise, a quite awful exercise in verbal reasoning, and I had to give a fifteen-minute presentation on "challenges facing the legal profession", which I had practiced on many inanimate objects, as well as [livejournal.com profile] chiasmata and [livejournal.com profile] sebastienne, who, to my surprise and joy, found it interesting. So that went all right, actually. The rest of it, I have no idea; I just did it, so we shall see. I would like this job very much; I was the youngest person interviewed by a long chalk, so I don't know. Again, we shall see. (As an aside, I really do like living in this house. It's comfortable, well-lit, warm and cosy. I get home exhausted and all interviewed-out and am made tea and told that watching Doctor Who is the best possible thing to do with my afternoon, and we all watch "Utopia" and it's marvellous. It feels like home to me.)

I'm in two minds about whether or not I want term to start. Because on the one hand, back-to-school terror, and while I can afford to jettison an afternoon on acount of brain fog now, I won't be able to do that in a couple of weeks, but on the other hand, not-doing-much is not a look that works well on me. It's ludicrous, really, but there's nothing for thinking you're wasting your life when your housemates and your boy are off at work all day while you're vaguely bored, doing the washing-up while you don't have to and Pierre, your resident itinerant Frenchman, asks you, in tones of mild disbelief, "You don't work?"

"No," I said, "I am the stay-at-home-mum-of-cat in this household."

He looked confused. I added, "I'm a baby lawyer."

"A lawyer?" There was a long pause. "But you're nice!"

Oh, I don't know. The cat is eating the ficus. I should not forget my pills.
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (misc - our feline overlords)
Shush, everyone. We have a tiny wee bitty kitty asleep on our sofa. She came home with us tonight, mewed all the way home, piteously, then had a saucer of milk and consented to being cuddled.

Here she is: itty bitty kitty )

Our whiteboard in the kitchen says "The Mousehole welcomes our new feline overlord". She purrs like an outboard motor, and looks adorably out of her box at us all, and we are all utterly, stupidly, irredeemably smitten.
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
Thing I did today that makes me awesome: assembled a piece of Ikea flat-pack furniture. By myself. With no screws left over. Which I am now sitting on. I feel good about myself.

Thing I did today that makes me slightly less awesome: drank a glass of water with a fly in it. Hmmm.

It is a quiet night in the Mousehole tonight, so I took a long long bath with the windows open and listened to the rain hitting metal outside, sonorously, and read Midnight's Children, which I have still not finished. I may, later, stretch to making stir-fry. With noodles. My life is terribly exciting right now, yes, indeed. That said, it's better tonight, and yesterday, and the day before, than it had been for a good long while; because while nothing has changed, outwardly - I am still busy and a little fraught, and as of today, have been rejected from potential training contracts five times over - I am feeling better about everything. My brain is not foggy. I'm still getting headaches, and still feeling abnormally tired, but they're just headaches, it's just tiredness; it's not soul-sucking loss of function, it's not like looking at everything through an oh-god-life-is-awful lens. So for that, I am very thankful. I feel almost normal, and like tomorrow will be good.

But, that leaves me in something of a dilemma. brief pause for me to talk, boringly, about me and my drugs )

So, I've been wandering about in a bit of a daze for a few days. I have informed [livejournal.com profile] very_improbable that she hasn't ever met me, that me fogged and medicated is not, well, me, and the next time she meets me, therefore, will be the first time, but nevertheless, she did come and stay for a couple of days, most of which were spent lazing about the place. On Friday night we went up to the Sleeper Service to see [livejournal.com profile] luminometrice and [livejournal.com profile] triptogenetica, who have just moved in, and who fed us handsomely. I, being somewhat drugged, got rather drunk rather quickly. No one seemed to hold this against me. It was a lovely, lovely evening, with plenty of silly jokes and ice-cream and people saying, "Well, who the fuck is Sarah Palin?"

(Yes, about Sarah Palin. As someone who was quite a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton, it all makes me sad. I mean, I'm a woman. I'm also smart. (And these facts have nothing to do with each other.) If I got to vote in this election, I would still be smart. There's lots of debate flying about, but my thought is, this isn't sophisticated discourse; it's not sophisticated to argue that women will vote for Sarah Palin because she's a woman. Maybe some will, I don't know, but those women aren't co-referential with the women who supported Hillary Clinton, and they certainly aren't co-referential with, you know, feminists. Apologies for stating the utterly bloody obvious, but, yes, sometimes I take pleasure in doing that. Unrelatedly, she's the governor of Alaska. Wow. I am always amazed Alaska exists.)

Other things of note: the Guardian reviews a book about what we're all doing wrong; it is ten items or fewer; why being an Indian woman is difficult, delightful and occasionally just ludicrous.

And, finally. A request passed along from [livejournal.com profile] shimgray: he's looking for images and pieces of film that somehow embody the theme of "forgiveness"; more details.

And. Tomorrow we will have a kitten. Life is definitely on the up.
raven: black and wite Kaylee, against the background of her parasol in colour (firefly - kaylee's parasol)
Having lived in the Mousehole for almost a week now, I probably ought to have written down something about the experience before now, but stuff - canoes, mathematics, babies with hats - keeps intervening.

Firstly, the Mousehole is a small, pretty house in East Oxford, inhabited by me, [livejournal.com profile] chiasmata, [livejournal.com profile] sebastienne, an itinerant and tolerant Frenchman named Pierre, and [livejournal.com profile] shimgray has more or less been living here for a week in the capacity of Man With Hammer. (The great problem with living in a queer feminist socialist commune is that you occasionally need someone to pin up your rainbow flags for you. And change your lightbulbs. As women of a certain political persuasion, we could of course have done these things for ourselves. But he seemed to enjoy it, and the flag is very well hammered.) Slowly, slowly, the place is becoming home; we're in the process of getting the contract drawn up, which is complicated, and I probably need bookshelves in my room before I can quite relax. At the moment the books are everywhere unorganised and are making me twitch a bit.

Secondly, thank you all for your many kitten-naming responses. We shall have our kitten in three weeks once it's weaned, and it shall be named Harriet. (My original suggestion, I would like to point out, was in fact Harriet Taylor Mill - because I had said, look at me, be proud I didn't demand we name the cat Socrates, or Mill, or Plato, and.... yes.)

Thirdly. People have been visiting us all week, and it's been very nice indeed. [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong came to stay, and that was lovely; she was here for three days and we drank wine and ate lots of delicious vegetarian food and watched a programme on Channel 4 entitled "The Perfect Vagina". It was... hideous. There was surgery. At one point Laura and Katie and I were all sitting with our legs crossed whilst Shim whimpered in my lap. Yeah. After that we mostly drank, and recounted the story the following day in the manner of Vietnam veterans, to [livejournal.com profile] foreverdirt and [livejournal.com profile] footnoteplato, who had come with cake. We made them more risotto - with a brief interlude for playing with our food - and ate a lot of cake and drank yet more wine. Wine has been a theme, this week.

Actually, the theme this week has been a mixture of things that seem terribly grown-up and mature, like the contract, and a job interview on Thursday morning up at the business park, and the letting agency demanding a witness for the signing of forms ([livejournal.com profile] shimgray stepped up to the plate, signed his name as a respectable member of society and thoroughly perturbed the agency, who wanted to know why he was listed as "tenant's partner" but not the partner of any of the actual relevant tenants, it all got very complicated very fast) and things that are not at all grown-up and feel strangely transient, like wine and the coming and going of people, and Thursday evening, idyllic and sunny by Hinskey Lake, with a box of home-made tiffin and everyone taking it in turns to jump barefoot into the canoe. It felt like an Arthur Ransome novel, and doubly strange that it was the same day as that job interview, and again, the admixture of perpetual summer holidays and future-ghasts.

In brief, I guess, everything is quietly good, but I can't relax very easily. I am more and more frightened that I won't get a training contract, and more and more convinced that I am an intellectual fraud; I can't tell all these people that yes, employ me, I am the best person for the job, because I don't believe that myself. (It doesn't help that my parents are still of the opinion that I'm a confirmed failure. I keep having stiff and stilted conversations with them in which we avoid the white elephant in the room. It's very depressing.) A return of the unspecified neuralgia is possibly related; I am back on the codeine after a brief holiday. Opiates, lest we forget, are really great.

Tomorrow, we're going to the zoo. I am looking forward to this with childish intensity. There will be elephants. Also, I am looking forward to August being over. It's humid and unexciting and the worst month of the year.


Aug. 17th, 2008 07:45 pm
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (misc - our feline overlords)
We went to see kittens. They were omg omg omg SO CUTE OMG. We went in and all made "awwwww!" noises of awww. They were so little and so fluffy and omg omg cute. OMG.

Anyway! We picked one out, a pretty grey tabby with white feet, and now we need a name for her. And so:

[Poll #1243442]

Thanking you all kindly for your assistance on this matter.

ETA: ...pictures!... )
raven: panel from PhD comics, woman with speech bubble: "Wait a minute... I'm the only female in this class!" (misc - ppe)
Quoth [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong: "You're eating mango while you're talking to me, aren't you? You CUNT."

Some time later: "We've spent the last hour talking about kittens, mangoes, and our boyfriends. You know what? I think we might be girls."

In other words, o hai, I miss Oxford like burning, but mostly I miss the people. It is as if this is a surprise or something. Before I go on, some thanks are in order. First of all, I'm a little late in saying this, but whoever referred my post on white privilege to Blogbharti, I'm honoured. Thank you.

Second of all, to all those people who appeared on [livejournal.com profile] slasheuse's love meme and left me furtive love: thank you, thank you, and thank you particularly to the person who made me cry, thank you. And, actually, speaking of my missing Oxford, it seemed somehow natural that so many people on the meme should be Oxonians what I have known and loved, and I had ridiculous fun leaving anonymous and not-so-anonymous love for all of them. It seems quite appropriate, here and now, for it to be recorded that [livejournal.com profile] slasheuse herself is made of greatness; that everyone secretly wants to marry [livejournal.com profile] apotropaios and eat [livejournal.com profile] foreverdirt's brains; that I am not the only person who lusts over [livejournal.com profile] absinthe_shadow's shoes; that [livejournal.com profile] shimgray's most notable feature is that he is "endearingly meerkat-like" and that [livejournal.com profile] magic_doors is destined for greatness, possibly in the manner of CJ Cregg. It would be ridiculous to tell you all again how much I love you, but. I do. I do, I do.

(And, also. The meme is currently at 315 comments. These things max out at, I believe, 5000. There is world enough and time for all of you. Go and demand love. It is, by my time, very early on Monday morning, an excellent time to demand love. Go forth.)

In other news, I went into work today, and, well, the local populace had certainly been eating their crazycakes. I refer you to the woman who came in, looked confused, then said, "I'm looking for a book. It has something to do with the Fonz."

Long, long pause, while I stared, and she pointedly did not tell me the author or title of the book. Finally, I said, faintly, "As in Arthur Fonzarelli?"

Blank stare. I tried again. "The Happy Days character?"

She looked slightly happier. I sat down at the desk computer and wondered vaguely what would happen if I typed "something to do with the Fonz" into TBP. Eventually I did discover that Henry Winkler has written a series of children's books with titles like "The Curtain Went Up, My Pants Came Down: The Mostly True Confessions of the World's Greatest Underachiever". I ordered this book and felt pretty good about life.

Possibly a gesture from the universe to make up for this bout of weirdness, we got a late-afternoon visit from one of my favourite customers, a retired doctor who is endless in his affability and his total failure of recall when it comes to ordering books he wants. (Long-term readers of this journal may remember him as the man who came in and demanded a book called "The Assassin's Boyfriend" - and was delighted when I successfully got him The Time-Traveler's Wife.) Anyway! He bounced in, caught sight of me, drew to a comical halt and demanded, hands on hips, "Well?"

I thought about it for five seconds and said, "I don't know, they haven't come out yet."

"Well, many good wishes for a first - even though you went to the wrong-coloured university, you reprobate."

I thought about it some more. "Dark blue instead of light?"

"Precisely!" he boomed, gave beaming smiles all round and bounced out again.

He's a lovely man, just rather odd. Work this week has been mostly uneventful, as most of the regular staff are on holiday and, er, we don't have any customers. I met the latest of my replacements, a solemn, fluffy-haired boy called Matt, who is plagued by all the other male staff continually referring to "Matt's harem". I found this odd, because a boy less likely to have a harem I never did see. He did the morning shift and I did the afternoon one, so off he went at one o'clock. Watching him pass the window, I saw a girl come out to meet him from next door with an umbrella, and they went off together into the rain. "Oh, you're all being mean," I said, into the relative silence of the shop. "I think he's rather sweet."

Cue rustling and the sound of someone dropping a mug. "How the hell does he do it?" yelled Assistant Book Monkey, storming in and trailing coffee and ash everywhere. "You said, you said you thought he was sweet! He's half your age!"

"He's SIXTEEN!" I yelled back.

"They all said that! All you women! Crazy Al and Deb and Bernie! Even Her Upstairs, and she's a LESBIAN!"

(At which point, the only customer in the shop, a little old lady with shopper, picked up her cane and went out.)

"What..." I started to say, and then saw Matt cross the glass in the other direction, with a different umbrella - and a different girl. "Right," I said.

"If we could only bottle Matt," said Assistant Book Monkey sadly, "that'd solve all our problems."

The shop's problems are pretty considerable at the moment, it must be said. I see it more than the others, because I come back every three months and see the changes, but this time it's really palpable. Every day, the takings are less, every day, the shop gets slightly shabbier because there's no money to pay people to tidy it up, every day, something else breaks and can't be replaced, every day I angst about taking money for a job that I do well. I think this is the last time I'll ever work here. When I come back next summer, it'll be gone. And that breaks my heart, because the cult of the independent bookshop is one of the few things I subscribe to without reservation. I love independent bookshops. I know most of the customers, I know the books, I know the people who come in to deliver, I know the place like the back of my hand. And, well, I've been working there for four years and coming in for ten. It's a long time for something to be a part of your life.

Blah. It's all fundamentally depressing. Once the shop is gone, I have nothing left holding me here at all; all my friends from up here are now in other places doing exciting things, and so it should be, but it makes me feel very remote from everything, a mere transient. I am getting twelve-fourteen-am maudlin. Moving on.

Further things of note. [livejournal.com profile] chiasmata and I are trying to get a cat. We're trying, because we don't know yet how the landlord feels about it, but, eeee, cat. I have never had a cat. I am, in fact, very much a dog person - the only pet I have had worthy of note was a long-haired German Shepherd - but I am open to persuasion on the matter. I shall probably be a lot of a geek-dyke-girl cliché, but. Cats are nice. So are geek girls. [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong and I engaged in something of the Lament of the Monogamous Bisexual earlier. Etc.

Ye gods, I am dull. I leave you to go proof-read an eighteen-page guide to transvaginal ultrasound. (No, really.)

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