Saturday, November 30, 2002

i went to st andrews today. thanks to esther for inviting me to join her and her friends on the day trip. it was a cool little town. and since today is st andrews day, everything was free. even the clubhouse was open to the public (or at least three rooms were). i know my brother-in-law, jeff, would had loved to have been there. they had old, like 1850's old, clubs on display, and other historic things out for the special occasion. unfortunately, no pictures allowed, and it was too dark to get any pictures of the course by the time we got to that end of town. but we also toured the castle (ruins) and cathedral (ruins). these i did get pictures of, but i'm way behind in getting these pictures up on the web. i should have time over the break (esp while traveling), hang in there.

Thursday, November 28, 2002

happy thanksgiving to those of you in the states. i played some (american) football today with a couple other guys just out of tradition. they had a huge feast here in milnes court, the turkey was really good too. but i won't get to have leftover turkey sandwiches or another dinner at midnight like when at home.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

my reading light bulb burnt out, so i had to replace it. while doing so, i discovered one of those "little differences." light bulb sockets here do not screw in like they do in the states. instead, they have two pegs that stick out of the side. these fit into slots. you must push in the bulb (there is a spring tension) in order to turn the bulb and lock, or unlock, it into place.

yes, things are that exciting that i'm blogging about light bulbs. i think there's a joke in there somewhere too.
this persistant pattern is resistant no matter which wrench i toss at it.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

ryan has put more photos up, including some from our trip to the Sierra's this 4th of july weekend.

Saturday, November 23, 2002

did i mention that i'm going to be really sick of hearing amazing grace on the bagpipes by the end of this year? since i live in the tourist part of town (right near the castle and wool shops), there are bag pipers seemingly all day on saturday for the sake of the tourists. after a few hours, they start to get annoying...especially when you have 200 pages of a postmodern novel to read.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

you can check most of you email forwards at, the Urban Legends Reference. and most virus warnings are hoaxes, they can be looked up at Symantec's online anti virus site.
i had a good weekend. i saw "Bowling for Columnbine" on friday. chilled out saturday nigth with evan and josh from the program. and last night (yes, i know it's not technically the weekend), i saw miss saigon with elizabeth. today was the typical tuesday schedule: postmodernism lecture, creative writing workshop, and my poetry reading group. tuesdays are exhausting days.

Saturday, November 16, 2002

sublime moments can be described as those times in which time ceases to exist. escaping time can seem nearly impossible; i find i enjoy life the most when i'm not conscious of it. the sublime has no past for future. nostalgia cannot reconstruct the sublime.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

does the loss of innocence necessarily lead to despair or anguish? does more knowledge make us freer, what are the implications of this freedom?
"He had spoken to nobody of this incident. He remembered it vividly without seeking any explanation. It had acquired the isolated absoluteness of a vision. For him his experiencing it was its explanation." --From G. by John Berger

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

i met with Dilys, the writer in residence, yesterday to go over a couple poems. in talking with her about my postmodernism class, she validated my feelings of skepticism towards "theorists." neither of us feel that creative writers plan out in advance all elements and mechanisms for some of these grand theories that critics proclaim. sure, some of it exists, and some of it is planned, but the writing process is still at its core creative, not calculating. this has also been confirmed by the two writers that have come to give readings, one a novelist and the other a poet. they have ideasto start with, but part of the process is one of discovery.

there seems to be a fundamental disconnect between the process of writing and the interpretation. the most frightening aspect of this experience is the elitist attitude i'm sensing. these people that sit around and read, and then try to make books fit their theories, but take no claim to the theory itself. and as an aspiring creative writer, this only intensifies my obsession with authenticity and the ability communicate and understand.

fiction and literature (as an art) should not be studied to find theories. if you want to study theory, read philosophy. to me, art is meant to reflect an individuals own ideas and hopefully spur others to think on their own and derive their own ideas. literature should not be studied as something to be interpretted.

Read the following two sentence fragments:
1. Some Book's structure showed me how the assumption of linear time of could be deconstructed to emphasize blah blah blah...
2. Some Author of Some Book structured the book to show how the deconstruction of linear time could etc etc...
In the first one, the writer of the sentence owns whatever conclusion is drawn; in the second, the writer of the sentence posits the conclusion on the author. Theorists tend to do the second, at least in my course discussions. And the difference between the two is the fundamental dis-ease i have regarding the study of literature.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

weekend (and other) pictures forthcoming. but my essay and writing output needs to increase, so be patient...

Friday, November 08, 2002

have a good weekend, i'll be in Dalmally. if it doesn't rain the whole time, i should have some pictures when i get back.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

today there was a poetry reading by William Herbert. his reading was great, very humorous. afterwards I bought his book and hung around a bit. Alan (Jamieson) invited me along with them for a drink or lunch. I got to chat with both of them and hear some "insider" secrets to the literary world of the UK. This was all somewhat surreal to me, but very cool all the same.
there's no doubt my mom not only loves me, but knows what i like. i got a package of chocolate Pop Tarts, Saris dark chocolate covered pretzels, and chocolate chip cookies. do you see the theme here?

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

humorous link of the day: find your seat. [this was originially a link from slashdot (source: ryan)]
more pictures. this time they of Stirling, courtesy of my friend Esther.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Guy Fawkes Day. Fireworks above old town from my window. (It's pissing rain, so i skipped the burning effigies).
ryan got his pictures all organized and online. simply breathtaking.

Sunday, November 03, 2002

there is only one true conversation. this is where two people sit in a room together, so they can see one another, and converse--no distractions. the phone lacks body language; instant messaging lacks body language and voice inflection; driving leaves at least one person distracted by directions and traffic. all of this fragmented communication bothers me. i don't want bits and pieces of your ideas, i want the whole of it. occasions for this happen so rarely. more distrubing perhaps, is that i find too many people uncomfortable when faced with having to hold a true conversation. some of my most pleasant conversations were over after-meal tea (or tea-for-the-sake-of-tea-and-talk tea). this week your assignment is to sit down with someone for a meal and or tea--no tv, no radio, no newspapers, no books, no laptops. in the meantime, i'll be here blogging fragmented communique and sending piecemeal emails.

Friday, November 01, 2002

i was impressed to find that and both had my user information. the strange thing was that the wish lists were apparently not shared. but i will be back home for christmas if people want to send me gifts, he says half jokingly.
ryan has returned to palo alto, CA after a 3 month trip to Alaska and back. i'm going to miss reading about the wildnerness of the North and the various quirky observations and comments about life on the road and away from civilization. hopefully he doesn't sell his soul back to The Man.
i read the following quote today in doris lessing's "The Golden Notebook":
I have never, in all my life, been so desperately and wildly and painfully happy as I was then. It was so strong I couldn't believe it. I remember saying to myself, This is it, this is being happy, and at the same time I was appalled because it had come out of so much ugliness and unhappiness. And all the time, down our cold faces, pressed together, the hot tears were running.
i could write a thesis on this paragraph alone. but what i find most amazing about this passage is that the emotional and self-reflective intellectual qualities are inseparable. they are, in fact, identical in this case. that is no small literary feat in my book (pun intended). [side note: and keep in mind, read in context it is only even more astounding.]