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23 August 2008 @ 09:50 pm
"... as I was walkin' down the road, a feelin' fine an' larky-oh!"  
Right.

First off, I am in fact still alive.

Second, the reason I haven't updated in quite the long time is simple enough; I got fantastically busy in Ulster, and then when I finally found I had time to update, I looked back on the sheer mass of things that I would feel compelled to note here, and decided that I'd do it later.

Four months later I landed in the US, and thought, "Right, should do that."

But  believe it or not, even more stuff happened during the intermeaning months, so I didn't really feel like making what would have been an even larger entry.

Another month passed.

So here we are.  I am not going to write down the high points of what I did during those last several months.  Whenever I muse on something that happened in the intermeaning time, I'll explain it.  That's that.

The kettle is whistling.  Tea.  Yayz.

*****

Right, so now I have tea.

*****

I'm sick of the presidential race.  Really, I am.

Bear with me here; it's not that I'm disinterested.  Quite the opposite, I consider the election to be vastly important.

I do feel, however, that my new personal slogan/catchphrase/life's philosophy should apply.  It goes thusly:

EVERYBODY NEEDS TO CALM THE HELL DOWN.

I first devised this new mantra when the family (or rather certain members) started taking detours off the highway of the normal emotional spectrum and got stuck in the tourist trap of over-excitability.  In any event, it applies here too.

Obama-supporters behave like the Second Coming is marching inexorably to the White House.  I find this troubling, as neither they nor I have what I feel would constitute a firm command of his stance on a wide variety of positions.  This is in part because he uses rhetoric even more bland on most specifics than the normal presidential candidate (and that's sayin' somethin'!)

McCain supporters seem to entertain themselves by mumbling something vague about a Messiah complex, and race-baiting, and throw in a few dumb would-be insults like 'demoncrats' or 'dumbocrats'.

Please.

I think that I have profoundly different outlook on politics than I did back in the day, largely because the political landscape in Ulster was so very different.  While I'm still somewhere to the right of Charlemagne, and none of my personal outlooks have changed, I've grown sick and tired of hearing about it all.  And this isn't some sortof reactive 'I've now lived abroad and the US is not the centre of the universe, come see how mature and worldly I am'.

After all - the US is the centre of the universe, or rather the bit of it that matters to us.  I like it that way, and I have a healthy appreciation of that fact on a political, economic, and cultural level.

Rather, it's basic and simple: I'm sick of people starting conversations with me along the lines, "Oh, you will not believe what Obama said this time!'  or If McCain wins, I swear, I'll kill myself.  Or someone.  Well, something.  Anyway."

I'm frankly more interested in whether or not my milk's expiration date is monday or tuesday.  Try again in early November.

*****

Eh, I live in Oxford now.

No, I have not wandered back to the Isles - Oxford MS.  I do have a differed admission to Tulane, which I'll use to transfer after my first year (probably; it's all about best advantage.)  I'm at Ole Miss saving a massive pile of cash on my 1L, which is definitely a plus.

I was a bit worried about the apartment, which I leased via e-mail from Belfast.  It turned out quite nicely, though; it's about three times larger than what I really need, the price is good, and there are no undergrads within ear-shot.

I'm not too impressed with the town, but as Fiesty told me, very little will get a glowing review from me so soon after having spent so active and successful a year in Northern Ireland.

Well, at least there's to be a Presidential Debate here next month.  Good times.

*****

For the last time, I did not personally up-close witness any sectarian violence while I was in Belfast.

Sorry to disappoint.

The closest I came was when Michael and I quite seriously almost had a knock-down drag-out fist fight over who was going to get to grill the steaks on the 4th of July.

*****

I'm having Dr. Crockett look over a couple of sections of my dissertation before I give it a final once-over and send it in.

Honestly I'll be glad to see the hind-end of it.

I also recently verbalized, without meaning to, exactly how I feel about my dissertation.

Several years back Katy wrote an essay for a history class at PHS in which, amongst other things, she set up a scenario in pre-Civil War Mississippi in which the slaves on a plantation were beaten for 'losing' the cotton.  Yep, lost it.  All twenty-five tons of it.  They were also to be beaten every thursday just on principle.

Ever since, traditionally my family has referred to thursday as 'The Day of the Beatings', and when we can't find something, we assume philosophically that the missing item is in the same place as the cotton, which has likely ended up in the same place Zeno's Arrow went.

Katy make the remark that she found it troubling that everyone remembered this one insignificant thing she had written, and had exploded it out to epic purportions.

I leaned forward across the dining room table and threw her the classic raised-eyebrow, and said, "Katy, you should be pleased that you've written something so remarkable that it'll be remembered forever.  I've written a 17,000 word dissertation that, a week after I send it in for marks, will never be read again.  No one will ever remember anything that was in it.  Ever."

How true!  I'll have to mention it to Dr. O'Kelly, this new amazing thing I've realized.

*****

At some point kallie3point0started formatting her entries in much the same way I format mine.  Egad!

*****

Crap.  I meant to liberate my copy of Paradise Lost from Max's room before I left.  Now I am without.  It's a volume with Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes.  Ergh.

I remember Paradise Regained as very bittersweet, because while it does manage a reversal of the seminal event in Paradise Lost, it doesn't do much to reverse the condition of a lot of the significant characters - which it can't, for obvious reasons, but nevertheless.  I remember thinking that it illustrated a very sad possibility, that for some people, well... the things that we lost can't be had back - ever.

I especially wanted to re-read it because someone said something to be eight days ago that I've been turning over in my mind ever since, and reminded me of how I'd felt upon reading the poem.  It was one of those irritating situations where someone says something in passing that really nudges you off balance and leaves you with the disconcerting possibility that something very important that you hadn't known about yourself was oddly obvious to someone who really isn't even all that discerning.  She said, "I don't think you ever got 'round to learnin' how to fall out of love."

Irritating.  I'm no where near Emo enough for the kinds of thoughts that one stirs up.

*****

Speaking of Emo, these people understand me -




*****

At least it's been raining here.  Not like the rain in Ulster; much heavier, more sporadic on-and-off, rather than a lasting soothing drizzle.  I rather enjoyed it, though.

Ah!  I am reminded - I need to post some of the stuff from the flooding the've had in Belfast this month.  The new under-pass near the City Centre was completely filled with water!  Kirsty wrote me that it was "Pissing down rain!" and Michael opined that it was nice of the Roads Service to install a swimming pool on the Donegall Road.

*****

While I wait for Michael to tell me where that can be had, this came to my attention by way of Michael Ruffin, and pretty much made my week.

 
 
Current Music: The Woman I Never Forgot - Planxty