Posts Tagged ‘studying’

I have three articles on Antigone that I should probably be reading but I am so brain dead from a day reading endless articles about Tacitus, and churning out the world’s longest essay plan that I need a break. So, I’ve popped this week’s Chuck on, and I’ll throw out a few bullet points on how I’ve done this month on my ’34 in 2011′ challenge:

  • Pretty much studying full-time, and it really is making a difference. I’m further along in January than I’ve ever been before, and my aim is that by April I should be able to spend the that month just doing essay plans and past papers
  • Started off the bread baking easy with soda bread (yum!) and I think in February I’ll try my hand at a regular white loaf
  • I love Evernotes. In fact I love it so much I wrote a blog post for my university study blog about it
  • Only managed to read one non-school book in January, and it was a so-so P.D. James murder mystery but I did read a book about Spartan Women, and those women were fierce (or at least the myths about them are)
  • Been doing lots and lots of cooking, and trying to use up everything in my pantry which makes for some interesting meal combos. Best new recipe from this month is the Chinese no clay-pot chicken with soy and ginger – so yummy and easy!
  • Knitted a pair of mittens as a leaving gift for a friend and ex-colleague. They over well so going to knit a few b’day gifts
  • I’ve been flossing but there is nothing like not having dental insurance to motivate you to floss

I’m focused on three things at the moment: keeping warm, studying & Netflix! You’d think after a zillion winters on the north-east I’d be use to the cold and the snow, and more cold and more snow. But, no. Sure the snow is fun at first, and since the UK got snow before us this winter my reality practically imploded. But now we’ve had lots of snow I’m bored of it. Unfortunately, the Weather Channel didn’t get my memo because there’s yet another snowstorm heading our way this week, and it will drop 12ft of snow or something like that in the next few days. The only upside of all this snow is that they keep salting the sidewalks so that should keep the demons at bay for a bit though the salters need to pay more attention to thresholds.

Studying is going well. It’s bliss being able to make it my main focus, and other than being a wee bit stressed over having three essays due next week I feel like things are falling into place. I guess we’ll see how frazzled I am next week.

So that just leaves Netflix. Ah Netflix, the auburn haired siren that tries to lure me from my studies everyday. Since I am on a extremely limited budget (beginning to feel like Flora Poste from Cold Comfort Farm who only has 100 pounds a year to sustain her in stockings and cakes) Netflix is my only way to consume films so I manage my Netflix list like a Wall Street trader. As soon as I read about a film I add it to my queue, and then regularly check my queue to see release dates, and move things up accordingly. It’s all about monitoring the markets… I mean the DVDs. There’s a few films I want to do proper reviews on because they really blew me away, but until I get to that here’s a few bullet points on what I’ve watch this month:

  • The Special Relationship: This is the third outing for Michael Sheen as Tony Blair, and this time the focus is on the “special” relationship between Blair and Clinton. It was an interesting trip down memory lane, and surprisingly puts Blair-Bush in context.
  • The Town: Loved it, and it gets it’s own post later this week.
  • The A-Team: In the spirit of the recent Star Trek re-boot this also nails it. Strong cast (especially Sharlto Copely as Murdock) that embrace the silliness of this franchise. A solid popcorn flick, and I hope they make a sequel.
  • Buried: I was blown away by this film, and it will get it’s own post because it’s a smart film that not many people have watched.  You think it’s a film about a man trapped in a box but it is actually a political statement about the state of the US economy and the war in Iraq. So clever, and thrillingly entertaining.
  • The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Yes, it’s silly and Cage wears a very silly wig but it’s fun.
  • Dean Spanley (Netflix Instant): I don’t know how to describe this film but it is a gem of a movie. An Edwardian tale of stiff upper lips coated in whimsy. The gentle tale of a strained relationship between a father (Peter O’Toole – Yes Lawrence of Arabia in his best part in decades) and son (Jeremy Northam), and their quirky friends from the colonies (Bryan Brown and Sam Neill). Such a strong cast. They must have had a blast filming.
  • Love & Other Disasters (Netflix Instant): Aviod. Aviod. Aviod. Only watched this because Netflix had billed Paltrow on par with Brittany Murphy. Blatant false advertising as Paltrow only appears at the end of this hideous mess of a movie. Ugh.
  • Death at a Funeral (Netflix Instant): This is a remake of the 2007 British film of the same name that I watched a few years ago. It’s a scene for scene remake, and I fell asleep.

Where oh where has the week gone? Suddenly it is Saturday afternoon and I find myself in a Malaysian restaurant in Hoboken. My first proper trip out in a week, and there were shrimp dumplings and tofu to celebrate. I’ve been under virtual house arrest studying all week so every day ran into each other. No lunches in the city, trips to the grocery store or sessions at the gym to break things up. It was my most pathetic foursquare week ever. Even Alex working from home on Friday because of the snow didn’t disrupt. We both sat in front of our laptops typing away, ignoring each other as we are dedicated to our respective causes.

That being said, I got a lot of studying done, and feel like I am starting to climb the mountain that is my humongous to-do list. I am somewhere around base camp at the moment but I’ve got my crampons and a rucksack full of Kendal mint cake so I am good to go. I’ve been reading Pliny the Younger’s letters – specifically the ones about his houses. Back in the day he didn’t have the benefit of MTV Cribs in order to show-off his properties, and since they were some distance from Rome he had to rely on correspondence to spread the word about his snazzy dining room with a pool in it so food could float towards his guests. It would appear that Romans are as lazy as New Yorkers when it comes to going anywhere above 59th Street (I am sorry the Upper what?). All this reading about lush villas and neglecting my foursquare account got me thinking about Romans and social media. Given how much Roman life relied on (and relished) self-promotion I think they’d have enjoyed Twitter and FaceBook but I reckon that foursquare would have been pretty dangerous.

Sure it would have been fun at first. Everyone checking into the Senate, temples or their patron’s house. Vying to become mayor. The excitement of a shiny new toy to highlight how important and cool you are by where you have been, and badges to collect! There so would have been a ‘Crossed the Rubicon’, ‘Britannia 4 Life’ and ‘I’m on a boat & not coming back because I’ve been sold into slavery!’. But, things would get bloody. There would be generals invading Gaul just to get the ‘Marauders’ badge. Suddenly foursquare rewards would rival a triumph or war loot. Imagine a prominent politician not being the mayor of his own home. Some underling who visited his house regularly stealing it. Oh the shame.

Perhaps it’s a good thing that Pliny didn’t have access to modern social media tools as he would have been an oversharer, and I’d have even more things to read.

1. Study hard & aim to get firsts in final exams: Greek Drama, Nero to Hadrian & Women in Antiquity
2. Start to learn “dead” languages: Latin & Greek
3. Start to learn a “live” language: German, French or Italian
4. Look for a part-time job in May to pay for language courses & perhaps a MacBook Air
5. Volunteer somewhere that will help with getting into grad school & the next stage of my “career”
6. Take self-defense & first aid courses
7. Bake my own bread
8. Become a Jedi master in icing Star Wars cookies
9. Visit Hadrian’s Wall
10. Write more
11. Use Evernotes & other helpful techie tools (if only to keep Alex quiet)
12. Read thirty-four books
13.  Learn how to butcher a chicken
14. Figure out some topics to do weekly blog posts about
15. Become a Netflix ninja & get through more DVDs
16. Cook at least one new recipe every week
17. Learn to love Roman writers
18. Plan a trip to utilize my new language skills (see 3)
19. Attend the Williamstown Theater Festival (dependent on productions – please no ‘Our Town’ in 2011)
20. See the US Air Force Thunderbirds
21. Plan day trips to explore the tri-state
22. Send a care package(s) to the troops
23. Read some poetry (other than my old dead poets, & beloved W.H. Auden)
24. Learn how to bake French macaroons
25. Start knitting for Christmas 2011
26. Comment on more blogs
27. Learn to use Alex’s old manual camera
28. Get inked
29. Darn my socks
30. Clear out my closet & don’t live in yoga pants
31. Apply for citizenship
32. Eat at WD-50, Daniel, Craft & Annisa
33. Floss!
34. Join a book group

Argh – EXAMS!

Posted: 05/07/2010 in Navel gazing, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

It’s all quiet on the blogging front at the moment as I hunker down to some serious exam revision. My first exam is on Monday and though it makes me feel like a wobbly jelly I am quite excited. In a week’s time it will all be over (for another year at least) and then I can get back to life, and blogging about life. I have many posts bubbling away – films, theatre, why I left FaceBook and most exciting of all that I have the seedling of an idea for a novel (my summer project).

This time next week I will be on a train heading up the east coast to Scotland so will have plenty of time for reflection and there is a rumor of free wifi on the train…

Woo hoo it’s a long weekend, and I’ve spent two-thirds of it curled up on the couch with my boy.  Now he has packed his wheelie suitcase, headed off into the sunset (again), and I am left to knock about the empty flat and study. STUDY! I’ve managed to catch-up with Pompeii and I’ve actually done the prep work for the first seminar which isn’t until the end of the month. Now I need to do the same with Greek drama tomorrow – fun! But now I get to watch Mad Men, and think about not having to go to work tomorrow.

Actually, what I am thinking about is how our apartment block is offering to upgrade the flat’s kitchen and bathroom. This is an obvious ploy to keep the current residents from moving out to one of the many new apartment buildings that are touting for business at the mo. The only catch on having your apartment upgraded is that your rent goes up by $130 per month and you have to sign on for another year. We went to take a look at one of the upgraded apartments and it was okay. Not really worth the extra $130 per month when consider that you can get a comparable apartment for less in the new building. When I told one of the building sales people that it looked “great” but it wasn’t worth $130 he shrugged and was like “whatever”. Given that when I look out of the window at our adjcent building there are so many unlit apartments you’d think they’d put up more of a fight to sell you on staying. Heigh ho I guess we’ll be looking for new place come ’10 unless they manage to rustle up a non-renovated discount.

Not quite as exciting as Battlestar Galactica: The Plan which is released in a little under a month (yippee) but I am going to make libations to the gods for a productive weekend. The weekend kicked off with sushi at Blue Ribbon and then finishing the latest Alexander McCall Smith novel ‘The Lost Art of Gratitude” so that must mean that I’ll get through my back log of school work. Though how I can have a back log before the seminar time table is published is beyond me but there you go.

So my plan for the weekend:

  • Read chapter 9 in my Pompeii source book on excavation reports
  • Prep for Pompeii seminar on modern excavations at Pompeii & Herculaneum
  • Re-read, and make notes on The Persians and The Suppliants
  • One-pager on The Persians, and Suppliants

On top of this I have other errands to run like buying belly of pork so I can make a stew, tidying the apartment so I can think straight and going shoe shopping with Alex. Because a new project means new shoes. Okay it doesn’t mean that but his old ones are leaking and the rainy season is upon us.