Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Something that kind of irritated me the other day even though it was not a big deal in any way

I was getting ready to print some stuff, and I had this pack of colored paper all set to print the stuff on, and it was in five colors, and on the top of the packet it said what all the colors were. And two things about this packet of paper irritated me, to wit:

1. The papers were stacked in the following order: orange, yellow, purple, pink, green. But on the front of the packet where it said what colors of paper lived inside the packet, do you know what it said, do you know? It said: Orange. Yellow. Very Violet. Lime Green. Very Pink. It's like, it's like they couldn't even be bothered to look at the packet they were wrapping up in printed cellophane! And you know what, Paper Company That I Don't Remember The Name Of And So This Is Going To Be What Is Known As An Empty Threat? (That's a lot of capital letters. I need a quick break.)

Okay, break over, now tell me something, you paper company that manufactures colorful paper for printing handouts on. If you don't care enough to look at your product before you ship it to hundreds - nay, thousands! - of office supply stores across the nation, then WHY SHOULD I BUY IT? You know what I'm going to do now? I'm never ever going to buy one of your paper products again! Never! Not even if I'm stranded on an island with nothing on it but a lot of pens and trees and shops that sell packets of your paper! Instead I will use the bark of the birch trees. Didn't think of THAT, did you? Or I will seduce the shopkeeper and write upon his receipt paper.

2. The color names. I think what happened was this: The paper company hired two people as color name inventors, these positions having been recently and unexpectedly vacated. I think probably one of the previous color name inventors choked to death on a bone that surprised him by turning up in his plate of gyros, and the other one was executed in a tragic case of mistaken identity in Berlin. (Though that is purely speculation). And I think that when the two new people showed up on the job, everything was in such a tizzy from the deaths of the previous color name inventors that everyone forgot that the two newbies had no experience in the color name inventing world. And obviously there was no one around to train them, since the only two qualified people had just died. So someone just handed one of them five sheets of paper and told her to name them. And I think that they were both rather discombobulated because they'd never had any training and they didn't know where to begin. And I think that one of them recognized that the green paper was the same color as a lime margarita and named it Lime Green, and you see the thing was, he didn't know (not being in the Industry) that it wasn't very inventive to call it that, and then once he had come up with that the two of them felt like they were ready for anything. And I think they looked at the purple one, and one of them mentioned that it wasn't so much purple as violet, and the other one pointed out that it was mighty dark for a violet, and the first one said no, it was just deep violet, and the other one said, Very violet, might one say? and the first one pointed out that "Very Violet" was alliterative and would make an excellent name for that paper color. And the other one agreed and then the fatal thing happened, which was that the first one mentioned that she was really hungry for some Mr. Goodbar, and that made the other one realize that he, too, was hungry for Mr. Goodbar, and then they both really wanted to go on break and have some candy from the vending machine, and so they started to slack off and they figured that if "Very Violet" was good, "Very Pink" would do just fine, and then they got really very hungry indeed for chocolate with peanuts so they found they couldn't be bothered with any new color names before having some candy, and they just scribbled Orange and Yellow down to remind themselves what colors they had yet to name, and then they went on break. But see, the vending machine was one of those trying ones that never wants to give you the candy you desire and is constantly telling you that your selection is not available even though you can SEE through the GLASS that it IS; and while the new color name inventors were in the break room trying to convince the vending machine to see things their way, someone came round to their desk and grabbed the piece of paper where they had written down the names and passed it along without even looking at it.

Because that is the only possible explanation for those names.

I just reread this post, and it occurs to me that I should totally get sponsorship from Mr. Goodbar because I have just used product placement.

And then after I wrote that, I looked up "Mr Goodbar" on Wikipedia, and I discovered that there is a movie called Looking for Mr. Goodbar, which stars Diane Keaton, whose character in this film is a quiet and reserved teacher by day and a sexual deviant and bar-hopper by night, and ultimately her sexual addiction and high risk behavior put her life in danger. Wikipedia really says that. Sounds like a value judgment to me. Shouldn't Wikipedia be above such things, Glorious Deliverer of Pure Truth that it is?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Mother knows best (seriously. she really does.)

I just can't let this pass without comment any longer. It is unnatural for one person to be right as frequently and reliably as my mother is. She's right about everything. Previously I believed that this was simply because she knows everything (and that is certainly a contributing factor), but that does not explain the alarming way in which she continues to be right about absolutely everything even when there is no reason that she should be able to be right.

Example: One time a friend of mine mentioned that she was having pain in her knees and hips, and my mother said, "Oh, you must be pronating", which is when your foot and ankle do a strange rolling-around thing that they aren't supposed to do. And this turned out to be quite right.

The thing is, she makes this pronouncements with absolute authority after having received only the tiniest bit of evidence. I will say to her, "Oh, look, Mumsy, there is a pink balloon in the sky", and she will say, "Oh, yes, must be from my friend Susan's wedding", and I will say, "Oh, is she getting married today, and are they using pink balloons?" and she will say, "Well, I don't know if they're getting married today, but when I last spoke to her six months ago she mentioned that she was engaged and wanted to have a summer wedding or maybe an autumn one." And then she will speak to Susan again and it will prove that indeed Susan did just get married and have pink balloons and although she made every effort to prevent them from escaping into the atmosphere and ultimately causing birds to choke to death, a single pink balloon escaped, and it was that balloon which we observed.

(There is no such person as Susan. This is a hypothetical (but not exaggerated!) situation.)

Or, or someone will tell her, "My daughter's being cranky," and my mother will explain that the daughter in question probably has obsessive-compulsive disorder. And then the other person will say, "Now that you mention it, she has been checking locks a lot and washing her hands compulsively and developing bizarre rituals and covering every surface in the house with powdered sugar." Even though there was no reason initially that my mother's mind should leap to OCD in the first place.

Or a puppy will come to our doorstep and begin drinking the cat's water, and we will come inside and say, "Hey, Mum, this puppy is drinking the cat's water," and my mother will look concerned and say, "That puppy must have diabetes", and we will say, "Piffle, that puppy is merely drinking water because it is a thousand degrees outside," and then we will take the puppy to the veterinarian, and the veterinarian will discover that the puppy does indeed have diabetes and requires extensive treatment that we cannot afford and must then be put down. Which I guess would be a bit of a hollow victory for my mother.

None of these examples, except the pronating one, ever actually happened. But they could have. And I included the one about the dying puppy so that my mother wouldn't go getting a big head now that the Internet knows how right she is all the time. Internet, this hypothetical puppy would have probably lived a while longer if my mother did not hypothetically diagnose its problem accurately, because it would probably just have carried on drinking the cat's water and peeing all over everything and not died that day. So.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Another symptom of my tragic inability to cope without books

I went into London today, right, my last day trip to London for the time being, and I decided not to bring a book.

Okay, okay, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking: IMPOSSIBLE LUNACY. And in a way I was thinking that too, as I made the decision. Never have I ever been able to go for an entire day without some reading material. However, I cunningly made concessions for myself: I read some stuff before I left; I arranged my schedule for the day so that it was very full; and I brought my mp3 player to listen to on the train.

As it turns out, not even remotely enough steps taken. I got tired of listening to all that music without any reading breaks about twenty minutes into the train journey. I started doing that thing with my mp3 player that I do when I don't get reading breaks and just have uninterrupted music (I love music but it does not require enough of my brain to be a proper past-time), the thing where a song starts and I get cranky because I don't KNOW that song and I can't sing ALONG with it in my BRAIN so how can I even remotely be bothered with it? and so I skip to the next song and I get cranky because I ALREADY KNOW this song, and for God's sake, I didn't get a whole bunch of new music just so I could listen to songs like this that are OLD NEWS. Which leads to my skipping 98 songs out of a hundred, and the remaining two I basically listen to half of and then get angry because I know how they're going to end and I can't be bothered waiting around for it.

(Me = not a hardcore music girl.)

It all came to a head when I I decided to have one last meal at Wagamama, for I realized as I was walking towards it that there was just no way that I could eat my meal alone and have nothing to read. It would just spoil it. I would just get cranky at the food and that would be a shame, given that it was going to be my last chicken katsu curry for quite some time. Luckily there are those book stalls by the National Theatre, so I toddled over there and spent thirty minutes looking for a book that I could buy and read during lunch and on the train home (and on the train to and from Cambridge tomorrow! I rationalized to myself). This is the same thing as the tooth-brushing incident but on a larger scale -- again, my meal took only very little over thirty minutes, so I really did spend as much time looking for the book as I did reading it.

It's Middlemarch. So far not bad. It's kind of like if Jane Eyre were much less fun and married St. John Rivers before she met Mr. Rochester. This is an optimistic assessment. I'm kind of still waiting for Mr. Rochester to show up, and I don't know George Eliot well enough to assume that he will.

In case you're wondering: yes, sometimes I do find myself a little tragic.

Oh! (This will in no way make me seem less tragic.) The book stalls in question continue with their bizarre excellence as a resource for Oscar Wilde. In the past I have seen loads of books on Oscar Wilde: H. Montgomery Hyde's biography, Richard Ellmann's, Philippe Julian's, and Vyvyan Holland's memoirs. Today Richard Ellmann's one was there again, and they had a paperback copy of Frank Harris's Oscar Wilde, His Life and Confessions. I really cannot understand where they get all these (now) obscure books about Oscar Wilde. It is uncanny.

The odds is gone, and there is nothing left remarkable beneath the visiting moon.

In sum, I believe the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie far surpassed the second movie (not hard, as the second movie had about two good moments throughout*, and I decided the third one was infinitely better right after Jack said, "I'm having a magnificent garden party and you're not invited" which um, for those of you who haven't seen it, isn't very far into the film at all), although the ending of this one was WHOLLY UNACCEPTABLE. I say that because I completely saw it coming but I really hoped that I was wrong, and I hoped very much that it wouldn't happen, but then I kept on seeing it coming, and then when Jack asked the thing and Bill Nighy did the thing, I was like, well shit, I was really hoping that wasn't going to happen. And yet it did. It was like watching a train wreck that went on for three hours, assuming the train was--

I'm not even going to bother continuing this. I will accept that it was a bad analogy and move on.

What I'm trying to say is that apparently nobody listens to what I think before they create WHOLLY UNACCEPTABLE endings to the movies that, let's face it, they were only making for me in the first place.

But now I feel all gloomy and let down, because I know that if they make more Pirates of the Caribbean movies they will just be milking the franchise for all it's worth and although I will go and see them, I will hate myself for doing so, and they won't be as good, so I feel like now it's the end of a (brief but two-thirds good) era. Hence the nothing left remarkable comment.**


N.B. Those asterisks have nothing to do with my footnote asterisks. They are there to indicate a break.

I have gone away and thought about it; and upon further reflection, I have decided that it need not be all bad, these further pirate movies. Because all the focus is on Johnny Depp (who is brilliant, as I have often noted), and that allows Geoffrey Rush to practice his subversive genius without one feeling that he's being turned into a gimmick. My point is, Geoffrey Rush owned this third movie, in a way I would never have believed possible given how much Johnny Depp was excellent. I suspect that it is impossible now to make a good pirate movie without Geoffrey Rush (which is probably why there was such a jinx on pirate movies in the past, and is definitely why Dead Man's Chest was so rubbishy). So as long as they hang on to Geoffrey Rush I shall continue to love them.

* And they were both at the end, I'm sorry to say. One was when Keira Knightley did the thing, and Johnny Depp realized she had done the thing, and he gave her a look and said, "Pirate" in a way that indicated that given the opportunity he'd have taken her in manly fashion right there on the ship deck with the kraken looming.*** And the other was when, oh my God, Geoffrey Rush came clomping down the stairs. Died of joy right then.
** The quotation in my title is from Antony and Cleopatra, a play I have never read, and I only know this quotation because it was (mis)quoted in a wonderful book called Cat in the Mirror by Mary Stolz. Everything I know in the world I learned from kids' books, I swear to God.
*** Vis-a-vis the kraken: How good was it in this movie when Johnny Depp was looking into the kraken's eye? So good. Nobody in the world could have pulled that off the way Johnny Depp did right then.

Well, this has been very all over the place. The only excuse I can give is that I have a mere two days left in this country, and I have just come back from watching a pirate movie and before that a play at the Globe. I am In A State. (Plainly.)

Overheard in London

Furious Scottish guy: It's tantamount to ethnic cleansing!
Friend #1: What's that, mate?
Friend #2, quietly: True dat.

Friday, June 8, 2007

We can't be silent, cause they might be giants, and what are we gonna do unless they are?

I just found out that Jane P's father is indirectly responsible for my liking They Might Be Giants, which means he is also responsible for my being aware of two songs that I love insanely a lot by They Might Be Giants, as well as a whole lot of songs that I like quite a lot.

Because here's why.

Once a long time ago everyone in D. Parker's English class and everyone in Richard's history class, and probably some other people who weren't in either one but just wanted to come along, we all went to the D-Day Museum in New Orleans. I remember very little about the museum itself except that the soldiers got little packets of condoms (Why? Really. Why? They only survived for fourteen seconds.) and that the Allies cleverly launched dummy parachuters in other parts of France, to confuse the Germans.

(I went to the Imperial War Museum the other day, and there was a bit of a diary kept by an officer or something, and for 5 June it said, D-Day tomorrow. Everyone very excited.)

Anyway, after I and everyone else got done with the D-Day Museum, we were all set to move on to our eating place, but we couldn't because Jane P's father liked the D-Day Museum so much that he couldn't leave. And he was in there like half an hour after everyone else had finished with it, and eventually they had to send Jane P in after him in a complicated search and rescue operation. (I was going to watch. It was very exciting.) Meaning that everyone else was hanging around outside the museum with nothing to do, and until Tuesday I thought that we were hanging around waiting for the bus because the bus was late, when in fact (Jane P revealed to me) we were waiting for Jane P's father because he just loves D-Day that much.

As I sat upon a wooden fence contemplating the universe and hoping (in my ignorance) that the bus would arrive, Nezabeth crept up behind me and went, "O Broom you must now sweep for me, the dust it fills my room." And when I turned to explain to her that I was not a broom, she anticipated me, and went, "No John, I will not sweep for you, for I am not your broom."

"Nezabeth?" said I gently, fearing that she had lost her wits, for neither my name nor hers is John. (In the interests of complete disclosure, I believe I called her Jane because I don't think I had begun calling her Nezabeth at that point.)

"What nonsense are you speaking, broom? My words you must obey," she sang. "Another life awaits me, and I'm leaving you today. I am not your broom. I am not your broom."

(I tried to stop her but she was unstoppable.)

"I've had enough, I'm throwing off my chains of servitude. I am not your broom. I am not your broom. No longer must I sweep for you for I am not your broom." (Sang Nezabeth.)

As I was trying to decide whether to fetch a straitjacket or enlist her songwriting skills in service of a useful project like ending poverty, she explained that this was not, in fact, an extemporaneous invention of her own composed on the spot in order to stave off boredom, but indeed a real song that was sung by They Might Be Giants.

And the rest is history, insofar as "New York City" and "We Want a Rock" have their very own place on my iTunes playlist "Songs I Always Want to Hear and Never Skip".

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Further research

I went to Cambridge again yesterday, in a better frame of mind than previously because I discovered before I left that I have a place to live next year. Apparently all you have to do is moan to the accommodation office, and then, when they tell you not to worry about it, assure them that you are indeed worrying about it. Because voila, I followed this strategy, and now I have a room where before I was roomless.

I have decided that the gap between Oxford and Cambridge is not such a big one as I first supposed. Before I thought that Oxford was in an entirely different galaxy of excellence to Cambridge. I mean, a better galaxy. Not like in Star Wars where the other galaxy is like full of technology that we don't have and weird intelligent species that hang out with human beings and stuff, but more like some, um, other sci-fi show with a different galaxy, in which one of the galaxies is not even remotely comparable to another one because the other one is light-years more advanced and superb. Whatever. I thought Cambridge was like the slums of the Bronx and Oxford was Manhattan.

Upon reflection, though, Cambridge is really not the slums of the Bronx. I was being cranky when I thought that. Actually, not having been to the other boroughs of New York City, I can't really say what Cambridge is. But it's not the slums of the Bronx. That was just mean. When I went back to Cambridge yesterday, I spent a very peaceful and relaxing day copying this manuscript to relatively good success, though it turns out (oops) that I was copying all the wrong things. On the walk back I observed the city with a kinder eye, and it had some nice buildings after all, made of stone and everything, just like Oxford has. (But fewer, and less good.) I observed the nice buildings and appreciated the green spaces and the existence of the punts. And they were charming and aesthetically pleasing, even though Oxford is better.

To put it another way, Oxford was sort of everything I imagined it would be, like someone had taken a picture out of my imagination of what a really old English university would look like and used it to create Oxford. Cambridge was more like someone had eavesdropped on my imagination, missing lots of crucial bits, and used that to create Cambridge. So it's exactly right, in bits, but then a lot of it is catastrophically wrong.

I also switched trains at Ely yesterday, rather than at Stowmarket or Ipswich, and I realized as I was pulling into the station that it was Ely! (It rhymes with "really", by the way, and is apparently a reference to all the eels that lived in the waters by Ely.) Ely like as in John Morton the Bishop of! I was glad I had remembered in time to express my displeasure with the city for being bishopped by a nasty slandering meanie head. (Who, in case you're interested, attended the same college as Lord Peter Wimsey.) Of course I was only there for about four minutes while I waited for the connecting train, but that was plenty of time for me to stick out my tongue at the city. I would have liked to spend more time walking around and finding fault with everything but I had to get to Cambridge.

N.B. I would not really have done that. Ely is supposed to be very beautiful, and I'm sure that if I visited it properly I would be completely won over and would remember that it is not the city's fault that they had an asshole for a bishop for six years half a millennium ago. But I did really stick out my tongue. More at John Morton than at Ely itself.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

You know that thing with scissors or knives that you usually manage to just escape?

When you drop scissors or knives accidentally and you manage to skip out of the way so that they don't stab your toes? You know how those things are always near misses and you're relieved because if the scissors had landed point down on your toes it would really have hurt?

Yeah. I didn't escape just now. My toe hurts. Owwwww.

Getting ready to leave

So only a week and a half left in this country. I wish I'd gone to London more; there's a small part of me that wishes I'd travelled around Europe, but then most of me thinks that if I had money and time enough to go somewhere, I would rather go to London, whose infinite possibilities I haven't yet begun to exhaust.

It's so strange walking around campus and seeing the things I've seen every day for the past eight and a half months, and knowing that I'm not going to see them again maybe ever. Everything feels weird because I keep telling myself, This is the last time you will ever do this. This is the last time you will moan because the Lithuanians had some friends over and didn't do any washing-up; this is the last time you will hear that particular flat joke; this is the last time everyone will start singing along with that song that comes on the radio every twenty minutes; this is the last time you will hide in your room to escape Yvonne's rage about the mess the kitchen is in. It is inexpressibly bizarre. I've been living with the people in my flat for ages, and it feels normal, and after next Friday I might see them again once or twice in my life.

For some reason, my feelings about leaving England have resolved themselves in a deep reluctance to get off of trains. No matter where I'm travelling to or how crowded the train is or how urgent it is that I get where I'm going in a timely manner, it's all I can do to force myself to get up out of my seat and exit the train. I mean, even if I'm going to London to do something really exciting like see a play at the Globe (which I haven't done yet, curse it!), or to Cambridge to look at a manuscript; even then I just want to sit on the train and stay going back and forth forever. It is peaceful on trains and I am not really anywhere so I do not have to worry about anything.

I have very deep feelings of love for London these days. At first I wasn't sure if it was a good idea to choose what university to go to based on its proximity to London, but in retrospect it was a genius idea, and the only bad thing was that coursework got in the way of my being in London all the time. I love London so much that I might live in it one day when I am rich, like get a flat in South Kensington and spend my mornings reading and my afternoons writing the incredibly successful books that will, of course, support me in the style to which I intend to become accustomed. And I will go to film festivals and plays, and I will be in London so often that nothing unpleasant will happen like--

Let me break off here to say that Angels in America, which may be the play I would most like to see live that I have never seen live, is coming to London for a short time just after I leave. I mean, it really starts playing like the day after I leave or something absurd like that. Both parts. On successive days. And it is a mighty good play. And I am going to miss it, because for some reason I thought it would be a clever idea to come back in mid-June even though my housing contract continues until the end of June.

(Actually that was a good idea because otherwise I wouldn't have my fantastic job this summer.)

Well, anyway, if I live in London, nothing unpleasant like my missing of excellent plays will ever happen, because I will be right there, and I will keep good track of all the plays that are going on, and I will never miss anything that I really want to see. Whenever I feel like going to see a play, I will just go. And that will be the way my life works.

But even without all the richness and the flat in London and the play-seeing, I don't want to leave England. I love it here. I love how you can get on a train and just go anywhere. I love the way people talk, and I love the fact that there are bars on campus so you can just go out whenever you like and not have to worry about driving home. I love my Young Person's Railcard, which makes it possible for me to get to London or Cambridge or Oxford for under twenty pounds. I love chocolate digestive biscuits, and the miniature chocolate muffins that I buy every week for 99p. I love that it's sunny and cool in the summer, and the way that people here say it's pouring down rain if five drops hit them in the space of a minute. I love how much more considerate restaurants here are about diet choices and allergies than they are in America. I love the free museums. I love how easy it is to make day trips. I really love this country. I always thought I would, and I do.

I am very not ready to leave yet. England is good and I haven't had enough time here yet.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Overheard by me in London

This lady aged like 60, on her cell phone: So-and-so is having a party soon that we'll probably want to boycott....Yes, his parties are always a little tame.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Jenny's First Manuscript

It was a commonplace book containing lots of copies of speeches and letters to and from King Charles and his Parliament, and actually the whole thing was rather chillingly topical, what with the king completely ignoring the wishes of his legislative body and demanding more money for war and trying to slither out of making promises about anything that the said legislative body wanted and reminding the legislative body that he could dissolve them if they wanted to and they had better just behave (which Bush hasn't done of course, but I bet he would if he could). And there's some other stuff in there too that I haven't gotten to yet because I read slowly and the person whose commonplace this was writes small, albeit in a blessedly clear and tidy secretary hand that I have almost no problem deciphering.

I have heard so much about how beautiful Cambridge was that I guess I was expecting too much, or maybe I was just in the wrong section of Cambridge, but I was mainly unimpressed by it. I was also a little bit lost now and then, but nothing catastrophic and I had cleverly left myself plenty of wiggle room in which to get lost and then found again.

I tried to console myself for this disappointment of the aesthetics of the campus by assuring myself that those occasional beautiful buildings were the only relevant (to me) buildings at Cambridge and thus I need not worry about any of the other buildings. I was actually right about King's College, so well done me and I can go back there because now I know where it is and darling Robbie's letters are just waiting for me; but I was sadly wrong about the University Library and when I found the real University Library it crushed my soul a little bit. Cause it was all brick. (Not stone.) And inside it was institutiony, with those blue institutiony doors. (Not cool and elegant and stony.) Having been inside the Radcliffe Camera, which is everything a reading room should be, I felt totally let down; and the Manuscript Room at CUL is exactly like the rare books and manuscripts room at the Hill Memorial Library, which if I wanted to see them I could have stayed home.

However, rather against my gloomy expectations, I was issued a reader's card (hooray! even though I am sorry to say it only lasts until next Thursday) and actually given a manuscript, and that was like the most exciting thing ever. I mean, it would have been more exciting if the manuscript had been a hair more interesting, because although the bits with speeches were good, I then got on to all this fussing about the Duke of Buckingham (and yes, nobody's mentioning it, but, Charlie honey, WE ALL KNOW that he was doing your "father of blessed and most sacred memory"), and eventually a monumentally boring bit about the impeachment of the Duke of Buckingham. Plus I felt sad because I wanted to believe I would be able to copy the whole thing before I left England, and it turns out that there is no way that will happen. Not even close. Maybe a third of it, if I get really good at reading the secretary hand and figure out how to type an ampersand without looking at the keyboard.

But hey, whatever. It was a manuscript in secretary hand and I got to read the whole thing. As I was sitting there reading it, I developed this vague notion that wherever I end up living I should be sure it's somewhere with some manuscripts in secretary hand for me to amuse myself with in my free hours. It's like Latin, except obviously less fun because it is easier to figure out than Latin.

Tragically, however, I had sour creamy stuffed potatoes last night, and to my shock and horror, they disagreed with me. (Or something did. But sour cream seems to be the most likely candidate.) And I'm not talking like the kind of disagreement where Janet thinks Leonardo DiCaprio is good-looking and I don't; I'm talking like the kind of disagreement that starts wars. I'm talking like the sour cream is Henry VIII and I'm Sir Thomas More, and we just can't both exist at once, and in the end one of us is going to have to be sacrificed, and it is going to be the one who lacks the power to stop it. So I felt as sick as I could be and kept being very much afraid that I was going to puke on the manuscript. And I had, you know, feminine problems. I had both of these things.

Well, I'm going back on Thursday. At which point the cramps will be gone, and I won't eat any sour cream on Wednesday night, so presumably I won't be being made sick by those either. And I won't be all worried about whether they're going to let me in, and I won't get lost on the way to the library because I know my way now. In general all circumstances will be drastically more favorable. And then I can decide, totally free of preconceived prejudice, that I love Oxford more.

(Even though Hugh Laurie went to Cambridge and he is an absolute legend. Cause he only went there for the rowing.)

(And even though Robbie Ross went there. Cause he left early cause everyone there was rubbish.)