This one goes out to the ones I love. This one goes out to the ones I've left behind. A simple prop to occupy my time.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Golden Compass

One of the best series of children's lit that I have read in the past few years was Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, recommended to me by Cassie. Now, a film of the first of three books (The Golden Compass or Northern Lights for the UK) has been made and will be released this Christmas and I am extremely excited... so as I wait for this movie to come out, I took to entertaining myself with checking out the website.
If you've read the books you know that the human characters are accompanied by their soul that exists outside their body in the form of a daemon. The website has a quiz so you can find out what your own daemon is.
This is mine:

And if you know me, I think it is quite fitting in creature and name.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Spoon in, spoon out, stirring my coffee

Days here in Newcastle seem to pass by much more quickly than I would like them to. Of course, going to bed at 4 or 5am really doesn't help much since it totally displaces my sleeping pattern into the daylight hours.
The past few days were weird. About ten days ago it seemed like a switch had been flicked and the days were warm and it smelled of spring. Over the weekend this changed and we would have flurries move in every few hours or so before the storm headed out to sea... it was just so bizarre and somewhat annoying since we haven't had snow all winter, but a few days before Spring arrives, Winter decided to put up a last (or first) stand.
This is the last week of second term and then we have a somewhat fluid definition of Easter break for a month. Fluid in the fact that although there are no classes, the campus still operates and I still have to get my ass into gear and do some work.
The hardest thing for me here is self-motivating. Yesterday I was organizing some articles I've been collecting throughout the year and looked at the pile and asked myself why I haven't done more. I blame the restrictions on Inter-Library Loans, although perhaps a bigger issue is that my interest is here but my heart isn't always. It's been a bit of a rough year adjusting to everything. I love living in England but I hate how much money I am spending. I am becoming a bit consumed by worry about money and this concerns me as well. I don't have funding for next year as of yet and I pretty well spent my life savings and milked every other option available to me to get here. I figured as long as I could pay for first year I can get through the rest of the degree somehow. Well, my Plan B that I hoped never to put into play might have to be put into action. I don't want to move back to Canada in the autumn and drop to Part-Time. I would lose a scholarship I already have because of this and it would make things even more difficult to pursue and finish. In short, I kind of see a return to Canada for my second year as a nail that could close the coffin lid for good. Working on a degree part time would mean I would also have to work part time to make the tuition payments. It would also mean I would have to work out an arrangement with U of T or some other school for me to have access to library facilities. It would just suck a lot. There are good training programs here that I want to take advantage of, but clearly cannot if I am not a resident in Newcastle.
I know I have yet to get over to the Student Advice Centre to discuss this with them and I have yet to hear about some of the awards I have applied for here, but it just doesn't look good. Being able to pay full time tuition is one thing, being able to support myself is another one entirely.


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Another Friday in Newcastle...

So, Michelle and I went to the Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds acoustic show here last night. Scored sweet seats as per usual (2nd row this time) and then after the show, we met him! Holy shit... I still cannot believe it.
I'll elaborate on this later but here's the photographic evidence. You are viewing a 9 year goal finally complete! It's pretty damn satisfying and he's an extremely nice, laid back, chill kind of guy.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

You Can Bring Me Flowers, When I'm Dead and Gone

I'm just going to pause for a moment and say that this move to Google Blogger was traumatic and I resisted as long as I could until I signed in today. Damn it! I love Google but I am skeptical of regime changes. We'll see how this goes in the long run.

The reason I am posting today is to say that the Ray Lamontagne concert that Michelle, Nadine, and I saw at Newcastle City Hall last night was awesome!!! He performs with the audience totally blacked out apparently because of stage fright and he even got a bit chatty with us near the end! He is such a phenomenal performer that I can't really tell you how good he is live until you get the chance to see him yourself, but it's well worth the money. One of the other surprises of the night was that his opening act was Miss Leona Naess... who was also good in her own right and clearly very shy herself. She does have a beautiful voice but I think she could benefit from a bit more confidence. But all in all, it was a good evening, so if you can catch this brief little European tour of Ray's, I think you need to move your ass out to the show.
Ok, that's it for now. I was restless last night and stayed up til 4am so... I am a little tired today but feeling energetic so I should probably do some reading.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Return to 2007

It's been ages and ages since I've felt the motivation to write but last semester was a bit of a blur what with moving to England, settling in, taking required modules, and basically being ill from Thanksgiving (Canadian) until I went home for the holidays in December.
The holidays were great... I spent a lot of time enjoying sleeping in my bed at home and just laying low. I had to save the cash so I could convert it to pounds sterling eventually.
I saw the Ansel Adams exhibit at the AGO that I had been looking forward to since last year and did some other cultural things. Saw people from work, saw Gosh off on her 6 month around the world adventure and was just happy to be home after a very mixed up autumn.
I'm back in Newcastle now and this semester is already off to a good start. I was hardly here for 48 hours, when I got on another plane with some schoolmates and my advisor for a week in Rome. It was my first trip to Rome and it was unbelievable. We were there for 5 days and basically walked our feet off for 12 hours a day trying to see as much as we could, and when I refer to my guidebooks, we covered a lot of ground! By chance, we even got into the basement of the church of S. Nicola in Carcere where the podium bases for the three temples in the Forum Holitorium are buried. It was one of the coolest archaeological things I've done so far.
I've done my duty as a born and raised Catholic to see St. Peter's and the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museums, and the tombs of the popes, although not the Roman graves that are under St. Peter's. That I will have to save for another trip. I've started a list of sites that I want to aim to see next time.
This is really my first full week back in Newcastle since early December and it's exam time so the campus is unnaturally quiet. Michelle, Nadine, and I will be going to see Ray Lamontagne on Saturday night so that is something else to look forward to.
I feel a new motivation to get started on my own research, finally! This semester could really start to make or break it for me. I have a year review in June so I've got to start researching more efficiently and writing stuff, mainly a preliminary chapter. Sometimes I still think it's wrong that I am in a PhD program, like I tricked someone into thinking I was smart or something, but other times, I KNOW this is the right path for me. I'm just glad to be excited by school again. I suspect I was somewhat low in the fall with all the change, but I am hopefully moving onto brighter things and that's all I will say for now.

Here's a pic from the day we spent at Ostia Antica last week:


Thursday, November 23, 2006


My heart flutters once more, and, I'm happy.

Going to the UEFA cup match for Newcastle vs. Celta Vigo tonight... it's going to be interesting!


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Stand Still, Look Pretty

I think I hate my bed here. I've slept in/on many different kinds of beds, from camp cots to King size feather mattresses, the ground, and futons, but this fucking mattress that the university provides in their residence rooms is KILLER. It's covering is actually plastic which crinkles when I move around, even when I have three layers of sheets on it. And it's declared war on my back... which is not good since I worked solidly for a year digging or sitting at an uncomfortable office desk so the back muscles really need a break here. Do you think it would be in order to complain and try and get another mattress? I am not the only one in this situation. Everyone I've talked to who lives in a uni residence is unhappy with their beds. My friend Michelle has a flatmate who prefers to sleep on the floor over her bed. That is fucking sad. I think I might invest in some memory foam... but if things don't get better soon, I don't know what I'll do.
I've been somewhat ill since Canadian Thanksgiving weekend which is terrible because for some reason I just can't shake it. It's sitting in my chest making coughing and sniffling an ever-present part of my daily life. :(
I spent the 26th birthday with friends in Glasgow, seeing a band I know a member of, and another friend here knows another member of. So, the free tickets speak to me and also the free bottles of vodka and red bull they passed off their tour bus was pretty awesome. Glasgow is a beautiful city and reminds me how much of a small town English Newcastle really is, but either way, both have their charms. Since I spent most of my two days in Glasgow either drinking/drunk or hungover, not much sight seeing was done although we did manage to go to the Kelvingrove Museum for an afternoon. The best thing in there was the Salvador Dali painting 'Christ of St. John of the Cross' which they purchased in the 1950s soon after it was completed. I'd say that was a great investment. Dali is creepy and fascinating at the same time. I really love his works but I'm not sure that I could hang many of his prints in my home... but they are quite thought provoking.
In Glasgow, I also learned that there was a St. Mungo's Museum for Religious Art and Artifacts... and I'd always thought that J.K. Rowling had made up the name 'St. Mungo' for the hospital in Harry Potter. I guess she should know more than anyone, being Scottish and all.
Anyways, time is flying here... not as much work as I would like is getting done, but so it goes. Most of my time is still dedicated to Module hell, two of which, will have been completed by the end of tomorrow. The third module starts next week and ends just before I head home for Christmas, and I think next semester I will be more free to read my eyeballs off and then I'll have to start writing some shit down. I'm getting worried that what I want to study has been somehow addressed before but I hope to find some sort of original angle in it all... or else I'm fucked. I haven't even worked out how I'll be paying tuition next year or if I can even afford to stay in Newcastle... 'tis the season to apply for funding, now isn't it?
Anyways, just thought I'd drop a line to let you all know that I am around and alive... trying to figure out my life here. It's been great so far, but still feels like a bit too much of an overpriced vacation -- not a good way to regard your PhD program.

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