Wednesday, May 30, 2007

And I Thought It Was Only A Bird

For a variety of reasons that I will spare you the trauma of reading, I have been finding nodding off to sleep a little hard these past few days. The super student in me refuses to admit exam stress. After all, that how ordinary people feel. Instead, she insists there is some sort of cosmic imbalance in the universe that is refusing to let my brain shut down. But last night, worried, she secretly made me look up tips on inducing sleep. I ignored the usual ideas - brandy, hot milk, waking up early (it was too late for that), etc. - but was rather perturbed by this:

Get up and eat some turkey: Turkey contains tryptophan, a major building block for making serotonin, a neurotransmitter, which sends messages between nerve cells and causes feelings of sleepiness. Note that L-tryptophan doesn't act on the brain unless you eat it on an empty stomach with no protein present, so keep some turkey in the refrigerator for 3 am.

Disturbed, I turned off my laptop. I fell asleep immediately.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

'That Was Smooth, SA'

I wonder if by any stretch of the imagination, this could qualify as behaviour caused by 'exam stress'. I was visiting a friend at another student hall this evening. I got into the lift when I was leaving and I noticed a thirty five odd year old looking man with a trendy haircut and a faded leather jacket. He smiled and asked me, 'So, exams over?'

'Not yet.' I replied. 'They only begin Wednesday. You?'

'I'm the warden of this hall.'


Awkward silence. I rolled my eyes uncomfortably as I do sometimes.

'Err.. well, I don't live here. And actually it's the first time I've been here too.' I justified.

'I often speak to students in the lift.' he said, giving me no indication of what that meant.

So I offered, 'Well, if it makes you feel any better, I don't know who the warden of my hall is. I mean, I know of him but I've never really met him.' I waited for a few seconds but did not think. Instead I continued, 'I've emailed him... once, I think. Yeah, but I don't know what he looks like.'

'Bradley. I know him. Young guy.'

'Like you.' I said immediately. 'I mean, I mistook you for a student, after all.'

Finally, after an eternity the lift doors opened on the ground floor. I fled.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Media Panic

new media paradox Silverstone digerati postnational network community Castells self regulation racism Rantanen broadband Press television Milanovich ethnicity gender value chain analysis technology geopolitical supranational Saussure determinism determinism determinism Mansell Voip open software convergence development society experience inequality IPR audience public sphere web Adorno globalisation Hall Said Foucault media postmodernism Kabeer cosmopolitanism representation Harvey migration Appadurai panic deterritorialisation Bourdieu space placelessness communications Baudrillard time Innis space McLuhan resistance Horkheimer power Tambini Habermas displacement virtual place digital divide information culture political economy production distribution consumer Marx money capital labour qualitative postdevelopmentalism state Stiglitz radio public service broadcasting people individuals choices film analogue switchover

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Relative Humour Value of Exam Questions

Here is a question from P's Roman Law paper:

Six months ago, Julian's slave Castratus was persuaded by Drusus to go with him to a men's club in Rome. Castratus, who had formerly lived a sheltered life, has developed a taste for the entertainment on offer. One night he goes there on his own. He begs Primus and Secundus, two senators, to thrash him. They do so. Castratus returns to Julian's villa, but the wounds from the thrashing are so bad that he is unable to work. Julian calls the doctor, Medicus, who puts a home-made ointment on the wounds. Castratus is allergic to the ointment and dies. Shortly afterwards Primus dies, having made a will in which he left a legacy of a hundred gold pieces to Castratus. Julian, seeing Secundus in the forum, shouts after him that he is a pervert and pelts him with rotten fruit. Some of the fruit misses Secundus and hits Tertius. Discuss.

And here is a question from my Theories and Concepts paper:

Media imperialism is dead. Discuss.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Green Green Sky

The shivers that ran down Axl's spine were far from ordinary. They would start around the back of his neck, trickle across his scrawny shoulder blades and down his poky spine, lingering at his tail bone. All this while playing the bass on stage for Markett, one of the new modern jazz outfit in Kobenhavn.

Today they were doing a nifty improvisation of their signature Green Green Sky and her eyes were, for a change, not glued to her kaleidoscope. Instead she had on her glasses but what Axl couldn't see were her ipod earphones hidden in her long hair. She was listening to Ben Harper's Bring The Funk. She nodded her head rythmically. It was cycle of 16 beats. 1-2-3-Bang. 1-2-3-Bang. 1-2-3-Boom. 1-2-3-Bang.

The Copenhagen Jazzhouse was filled this Saturday evening. Some had spent their day on their boats on the canal. Their linen jackets said as much. Others like her had vaccumed the house, done laundry and filled in a new job application today.

'Thank you all for a lovely evening. We'd like to end with a cover of Jeep on 35... ' said Valentin. The audience made noises of appreciation. Uh-one-two-three-four...

Axl was the Scandanivian father of peace, not Axl Rose, as he often explained to foreigners like her. 'Who would have imagined that!' she had replied nonchalantly last Friday. 'I need a drink.' The shivers had extended to his stringy arms as he handed her a scotch on the rocks. 'Can I tell you a secret? I really don't much care for jazz.' she said, scrunching up her nose. Axl didn't know how to respond. 'It's a little noisy, you see. Nevermind, how come you play bass? I would think it's quite cumbersome. You know, the whole big whale of a thing...' she asked. 'Well, I...' he started to reply but Valentin had swept her away with an I-want-you-to-meet-these-people gesture.

Jeep 35 trudged the terrain of Markett and arrived in style. Scofield would be proud, he hoped. Or at least their fans would be. It was hard being a musician, most certainly. It was hard trying to be something more than ordinary. It was hard handling the shivers when she wouldn't even listen.

Axl watched her from the corner of his eye. She was smiling at Valentin and gave him the thumbs up sign as he walked off stage. He beamed back.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Boys Are Dumb And Get Angered Easily

This afternoon, P and I got in a bit of an argument on the train from Kings Cross to Cambridge. The last few times he has visited me over the weekend, the passengers have had to get off midway, take a bus part of the way due to weekend work and then get back on a train. It has obviously been an annoyance both to him and to me, also because I have never faced this inconvenience on the weekends that I have been to Cambridge.

So we boarded the train. He fished out his lengthy notes on criminal law and I my extra sweater to prop my head against the window and away we went at 1638 hours. A few minutes into the journey I heard the following announcement:

'This train is for Cambridge, calling at Finsbury Park, Stevenage, Hitchin and Royston. Those passengers heading up North are requested to take the chartered bus at Finsbury Park.'

P nudged me awake, carefully put his criminal law notes back into his bag and got up as the train approached Finsbury Park.

'Why are you getting up?', I asked puzzled.
'We have to get off here. Bloody weekend work. This is the reason why I've been late getting into London so many times.'
'Huh? We don't have to get off. This train is for Cambridge.'
'No, the guy just said we have to get off here. You were sleeping.'
'Err... no. He said people going North should get off here, not us.'

By this time, the train came to a stop, two people got off and I kept sitting. The doors shut and the train proceeded.

'We'll have to get off soon, I'm telling you.' he insisted.
'Ok, whatever.' I said dismissively and nodded off.

An hour or so later the train pulled into Cambridge railway station. We got off and I said, 'See, I told you the train was for Cambridge. I don't know why you thought we had to get off.'
'Maybe this time we didn't have to but the last few times, I have had to get off and take a chartered bus!' said P with gritted teeth.
'Oh god, P! What's the big deal?' I asked.
He ignored me.
I muttered under my breath, 'Boys are so stupid and get annoyed so easily...'

As we walked to his college, I looked into the window of the Tshirt store on Bridge Street. There was a manequin wearing a Tshirt that read: Boys are dumb and get angered easily.

I walked in and bought it.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Make That One Year Please

We have been rolling for a year now.

Thanks everyone.

Monday, May 07, 2007

They Call It 'Being Tagged'

In the spirit of this delightful blogging tradition of tagging, That Armchair Philosopher has invited me to share five unknown things about myself:

1. If one is fairly judged by the company they keep, I fear that this little snippet paints me in a somewhat... unstable light:

A friend (let's call her Fatma and let's make her a Nehru scholar at Cambridge) recently said to me over drinks, 'Snake Anthony, I've been seriously troubled by this dream I had last night.'

'What happened?'

'Oh, it was so vivid...' she shuddered, 'I had six fingers. SIX, Snake Anthony, SIX! It was so frightening. I couldn't decide which was my middle finger that I could stick up at people!'

2. As a little girl, I fancied myself as an air hostess or a secretary because the two most remarkable and inspirational people I knew - my father's secretary and my mother's best friend - were in these professions. As I grew older, I came to understand that it wasn't so much the glamour of these jobs that I fancied but the dedication and passion that these two women brought to their work. I am not quite sure what I will be doing 9-5 once I graduate but I know for certain, I will always try to be as enthusiastic and committed as they are.

3. I amuse myself by conversing with media theorists in the margins of their pdf readings. 'How wonderfully vague' and 'Easy for you to say!' are some of my more frequent scribbles. But like I mentioned in one of my previous posts, McLuhan's prophetic writing silences me:

'When we lose nature as a direct experience we lose a balancing wheel, the touchstone of natural law. With or without drugs, the mind tends to float free into the dangerous zone of abstractions.'

from The Global Village: Tranformations in World Life & Media in the 21st Century (1989)

4. I confess that I have been setting back the feminist movement by a few decades. Yes, it is true, I cry at airports and the results are miraculous - inexpensive tickets suddenly appear and several kilos of my luggage over the weight limit are suddenly dismissed. If all my attempts at a mainstream career should fail, do watch out for The Snake Anthony School of Airport and Other Tricks.

5. And here, a spurious one for good luck, as one of my Philosophy professors would say: I ate for lunch a smoked ham and cheese panini and large glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.


I tag Jerry, Basho, Young Thos, Scritch and Jon.