How to understand this blog

Friday, April 30, 2010

links with the past

I recently ordered some books from Amazon UK, one of which arrived yesterday. It's an old Left Book Club book from 1939 - Barbarians at the Gate by Leonard Woolf - red, a bit tattered, I love it.

It has this inscription, pictured above, in the front. I love it when secondhand books have inscriptions, especially slightly older ones, and especially in real ink. There's something about the way it soaks into the paper - it's very textured, it seems real. It's my link with the past. It's my antique. This inscription proves this book was published, that people read it, that people once picked up this book and cared about it enough to write their name in it.

And I consider the possibility that someday in the future a random person in a completely different country will pick up and flick through my books, and take pleasure out of seeing my name, date, location printed in the front.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

an anzac dawn

Every year, on the 25th of April, New Zealanders and Australians around the world remember the Anzacs, our soldiers, on the anniversary of the Anzac landing at Gallipoli in 1915, prelude to a campaign that would last until 9 January 1916, and cost 130,784 lives on both sides, and 11,430 Anzac lives. On Anzac Day we remember soldiers lost in all the conflicts our nations have been involved in.

This year I went to a dawn service for the first time in about fifteen years. This one was at Cathedral Square in my home town Christchurch with about 15,000 other people, although there are many services held throughout the day all over the city.

As the sun slowly rose, we heard prayers, hymns, poems, remembering the troops who paid with their lives for the stupid decisions of world leaders. Not that that is precisely what the service told us; in fact, there were a few things said that as a budding historian I have a big problem with. Example: "We must uphold the ideals for which the Anzacs fought at Gallipoli. [Full stop.]" Uh, really? Would you like to expand on what these ideals are? Blind obedience to the British Empire? Upholding the arms race of World War I?

Anyway. I managed to stop fuming eventually. Songs were sung, including a local high school's choir singing "Let the Doves of Peace Fly", at which point all the seagulls started flying around cackling - an unfortunate coincidence. An air force plane overhead, a choir of veterans singing "There is no death", cathedral bells ringing, and wreaths laid on the cenotaph to the strains of Elgar's "Nimrod".

Finally - the Last Post. Played by a New Zealand Army Band trumpeter as the sun rose behind the cathedral. Eerie.

They shall grow not old,
As we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun,
And in the morning,
We will remember them.
- Laurence Binyon

I'm glad I went.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

amazon recommends

So I sometimes buy books from Amazon. Generally the cost is a little prohibitive because of postage, especially if I'm buying lots of secondhand ones which need to be sent from different dealers. But it seems I've bought enough to receive recommendations for other books or DVDs, because I get emails from them, which generally recommend books about (a) Russia, or (b) Jane Austen. Well done, Amazon! Spot on.

This latest recommendations email, however, was a bit weird. Granted, the first few items made sense.

Picturing Russia: Explorations in Visual Culture, by Valerie A. Kivelson and Joan Neuberger.
This because I bought a book a few months ago about a woman who was sent to the gulag during the Stalinist purges. Makes sense.

Koestler: The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth-Century Skeptic, by Michael Scammell.
This because I bought a book a couple of years ago which Arthur Koestler contributed to in the 1950s, about Soviet Communism, called The God That Failed.

Intimations of Austen, by Jane Greensmith.
A book of short stories based on Austen's novels. This for obvious reasons: I like Jane Austen and read/buy/watch-in-DVD-form a lot of her novels. (Although I am getting a bit sick of Austen-related books... is it just me or are we a bit oversaturated in Austen kitsch at the moment?)

And finally...

Puppy's First Steps: Raising a Happy, Healthy, Well-Behaved Dog, by Nicholas H. Dodman


Dogs are fine, dogs are nice for other people, but I'm not a huge animal person and never - NEVER - have I bought animal-related literature on Amazon.

WEIRD. Why, Amazon? Why?

Friday, April 23, 2010

you too could be like me

When you go to the website of my university, the University of Canterbury, there are a whole lot of little student bios, published on most pages on the top right hand corner. Current example: "[insert name], studying towards a [insert degree] of [insert subject] with Honours. 'Canterbury is a great place to study [insert subject]...'"

Well, I'm sick of waiting to be asked. I'm going to write my own.

Allie *****
Studying towards a Master of Arts in History

When beginning her Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English and History, at the University of Canterbury, Allie ***** never dreamed she would be doing a Master of Arts in History.

"Frankly," she told us, "the title of 'master' never appealed to me. It's so unfeminine. And I didn't want to seem overly intelligent. A BA is nice and generic on its own, but girls can never be too careful about going further with their studies, if it makes them seem too smart. It can be a real turn-off."

That was before Allie formed designs on Simon Cowell, the charismatic judge on the famous American Idol television show. "Before, I dreamed of marrying a millionaire, and let's face it, I've got the goods to win the prize. But good looks, charm and killer legs aren't going to be enough to snag Simon. I needed something more. And a MA in History at the University of Canterbury gave that to me."

Allie found that the Masters programme in the College of Arts gave her the flexibility she needed in order to develop her potential as a future trophy wife. "If I find that I really need to work out, it's fine. My studies will wait. If I find that Simon's flown into New Zealand and I urgently need to make my way to another city, that's fine. I'll fake a research need or a conference I can present a paper at, get funding, and make my way there in order to trawl all possible venues. If I can find a way to work my thesis around an urgent need to personally 'interview' Simon Cowell, that's okay. My supervisors are gullible, and no one else has ever done a thesis on talent show judges' opinions of Soviet Russia. Groundbreaking stuff."

A Canterbury MA prepared Allie well for the gritty reality of tracking down a celebrity. "I've been taught top-notch research skills which have come in handy once or twice, let me tell you! Already I've managed to submit a question for Simon to answer on a radio interview, and I got in touch with his agent's best friend's mother about an interview, and I feel that it's only onwards and upwards from here."

In the future, Allie hopes to graduate with a strong MA that will impress Simon and provide openings for work as an assistant of some kind on the British or American reality TV shows he features on. "The sky's the limit!"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

cakes look good on my table

I bought a table and chairs!!! And they're sooooo pretty.

FIFTY DOLLARS. $50, off TradeMe, New Zealand's version of eBay. Not bad at all, in fact a veritable bargain, and our flat looks so amazing in comparison with what it was before. I can't share a photo with you but it was pretty dire - we had an oversized DESK that was held together with duct tape. You couldn't fit your knees under it because it had random bits of wood sticking down. We had cheap folding chairs, one of which broke underneath the weight of my flatmate's not-that-heavy father, and which all looked completely different.

The only problem was transporting said table/chairs to our flat. There are two cars among the five of us but neither of them have towbars and it's not like we want to pay some professional mover more than the table cost to move it for us. A very kind friend volunteered (hooray for facebook) and so I had a very good excuse to procrastibake!

Doesn't my berry and yoghurt crumble cake look lovely on my new table??

The original recipe is for a rhubarb and yoghurt crumble cake, by an amazing Kiwi cook called Annabel Langbein. I had to use a can of berries instead because there was no rhubarb in the supermarket or in the garden of Dad, my usual supplier.

I had a look online to see if Annabel Langbein has published the written version anywhere, but I could only find the video on youtube. So here's the written version. Hopefully I don't get sued!

Berry and yoghurt crumble cake

140g (5oz) softened butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
3/4C plain yoghurt
3 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
2 cups flour
190g (7oz) berries or 3 stalks of rhubarb, thinly sliced

1/2 cup brown sugar
4 T flour
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 t cinnamon
60g (2oz) butter, melted

Preheat oven to 180*C (350*F). Grease 25cm springform or loose-bottomed cake tin, line base with baking paper.
Beat butter and sugar together till creamy. Add eggs, vanilla, beat well. Beat in yoghurt then add dry ingredients and stir gently to just combine. Spread into prepared tin, place berries spread out on top.
Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over cake. Bake until golden, about 50-60 minutes. Stand 15 minutes before turning out. Allow to cool before cooking.

Yum yum! (Unfortunately I didn't get to taste it as it was for someone else, but I've had it before and it was yummo then!)


Since I will talk about a few things on this blog that I don't intend to explain every time I mention them, I've set up a couple of separate pages as a directory/glossary of terms/explanation.

If you look to the right of the page, near the top of the sidebar, you will see a few links entitled: "How to understand this blog".

So far, I have a page explaining what flatting is, since it's an unfamiliar term for North Americans and probably means something slightly different in the UK.

I also have a page explaining what my MA thesis is going to be about. Just in case I start rambling on about history and you don't know how it relates to anything.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

myths of flatting

When I was a teenager, I looked forward with much anticipation to the day when I could call the shots. Not that I was ever all that rebellious, nor did I smart under my parents' iron thumb. But I did look forward to flatting like it was some glorious future almost-utopia, like it was going to be like one long camping trip with friends.

I got it wrong. Unsurprising, I suppose, of any grass-is-greener hopes. And today, for my blogging audience, I will explode the myths devised in the past by my teenage mind.

When I am flatting, no one can stop me from eating exactly what I want for meals.

Ha! "Yeah right," my current self sniggers. What I eat these days is driven by forces even more influential than my mother or father.
(a) Affordability. I can't actually live on steak.
(b) Flatmates. If you share cooking with your flatmates, as I do, there's a high, high probability that your favourite foods are something they despise. One of my flatmates hates corn, a staple of the student freezer. Another hates kumara and mushrooms. Another hates onion, pineapple, chickpeas, and anything that has the slightest hint of spiciness, and doesn't really like fresh vegetables. It pains me! It pains me!

When I go flatting, I can stay up as long as I like.

I wish. Most nights, I find myself thinking "Oh, it's already 10pm. I really must get to bed. If I stay up any later I'll be exhausted tomorrow." But then I'm a weird kind of student, I have to admit.

When I'm flatting, no one can make me do chores.

Nope. I've discovered that I had it really easy when I was a kid. I had absolutely no idea how much work goes into keeping a house full of people presentable. I also discovered that it's really unpleasant living in a house in which the bathroom is uncleaned, the garden is overgrown, and the kitchen is filled with dirty dishes (besides the fact that it attracts rodents), and that it's sometimes more pleasant just to do it yourself rather than go and remind the person who's supposed to be doing it for the sixteenth time. Shock horror!

If I go flatting, I can go out at night whenever I want without having to tell my parents exactly when I will be getting home.

Ha! If I go out at night now, I generally have to beg someone for a lift home, which means I have to hang around at some event far longer than I really want to, because they are in total control. It was actually quite convenient having parents who would either lend me their car or come pick me up themselves.

Modern, middle-class homes are so bourgeois; derelict student flats are artsy and interesting.

Yeah well, that myth was exploded by my experience of the winter of 2009. I have, now, a profound appreciation of well-insulated homes with high-pressure showers and double-glazed windows.

If I can afford to go flatting, I will be rich.

HA! As outlined a few posts ago.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

brownies renounced

I've been naughty.

Need I say more? Probably not.

But here is the recipe for these scrummy brownies:

250g butter, chopped
1 and a half cups castor sugar
1 and a 1/4 cups plain flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup cocoa
4 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 180 C / 350 F. Lightly grease a muffin tray.
Put the butter and sugar into a microwavable bowl. Cover and microwave for 3 minutes. Stir when finished.
In the meantime, sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the eggs and vanilla.
Pour in the butter mixture and gently mix until well combined (don't over-mix).
Spoon into the muffin holes, filling to the top.
Bake for 20-23 minutes until firm.

Very, very easy. And VERY yummy.

However, I feel I need to make an announcement which may affect future procrastibakings. I have decided to stop snacking for the next month. My flatmates have been notified, and will be on the lookout for any covert snack-eating. This basically means I am no longer allowed to eat cakes, chocolate, lollies, chips, etc. (But I can eat as much fruit or veges as I want between meals.) This doesn't mean I can't bake anything, but as I can't eat it afterward I imagine the motivation will not be high.

I made sure I ate the last brownie before I started the new regime, though. :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

North & South

I watched North & South, the BBC miniseries based on Elizabeth Gaskell's book (which I have not yet read). I bought it on a Thursday night, watched half of it before I went to bed and then woke up at 6.30am and watched the rest of it because I couldn't bear to go to uni and have to think about other things before I'd finished it.

I think that's a pretty good sign of how good a miniseries is. I mean, it's so obvious what's going to happen - but I was hooked and the suspense was killing me anyway.

The story is of a young middle-class woman, Miss Margaret Hale (played by Daniela Denby-Ashe), who moves with her father and mother from the south of England to Milton, an entirely different place. Her father has left the Church as a profession, and with it their steady income, and must find students to teach in this industrial, mostly working-class town in the north. Margaret befriends some of the workers, but as the possessor of high ideals cannot stand the mill-owners, especially John Thornton (played by Robert Armitage), who is a stern and unbending master of working class origins.

The blurb on the back of the DVD says it is like "Pride and Prejudice with a social conscience", and I would agree with that, although I did find the strike scenes, especially the speeches by Nicholas Higgins, an emotive working-class "firebrand", very reminiscent of every working-class-anger film that has ever been made (although it is hard not to like Nicholas as a character).

Margaret is a quite delightful character; brooding John Thornton makes me feel all light-headed; his mother is excellently played by Sinead Cusack; his sister Fanny is rather amusing. Other supporting characters are all believable and well-acted, which is a pleasant hallmark of BBC films.

Now, I've heard a lot about North & South, things that convinced me I'd like it a lot, but one of the things I heard from a certain flatmate was that it was "better than Pride and Prejudice"! This, I feel, is a claim that must be addressed.

The two films are both very, very good, but different. Except for Fanny Thornton, North & South is pretty humourless. This is okay - it has darker themes, a passionate love story - and a better comparison in this sense would be to the recent, wonderful Jane Eyre miniseries by the same screenwriter starring Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson. I just can't compare it to Pride and Prejudice, and it seems like a false comparison to say that just because something is set in the nineteenth century it must therefore be inherently similar or comparable. We wouldn't do that to the twentieth century. Even though the love stories run along the same lines - ie the bones of the story are not dissimilar - the flesh on those bones is very different.

I do think North & South is easier to watch in one sitting, being only four episodes, compared to the six of the BBC Pride and Prejudice. In this sense the film is better structured, and I do sometimes wish that Pride and Prejudice were shorter. North & South's screenwriter has done an excellent job, but I suspect, without having read the book, that Elizabeth Gaskell does not give a screenwriter as much to work with as Jane Austen gave Andrew Davies of Pride and Prejudice. That is a speculation, of course, but I'll definitely be interested to read the book and find out if I am correct.

Friday, April 9, 2010

on being an aunt

My niece just joined facebook. I feel REALLY OLD.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

retracing my steps

How do you explain the Holocaust to a child?

That's what I tried to do, a few years ago, to my young niece and nephew who asked me who Hitler was. Looking back, I know I held back and I didn't exactly ruthlessly acquaint them with the worst of the knowledge, but I probably didn't really understand that I was interrupting their happy childhood with sudden knowledge of evil. They knew about death, which is big enough on its own, but murder? The murder of millions? That's QUITE a leap.

I didn't understand, because Hitler is so ingrained in my culture now. He's a word that everyone knows and even if they don't know much, they know enough.

So I've been wondering. I study history, I study mostly Soviet history from a British/Western perspective with a little bit of Nazi Germany thrown in - and I don't know when I first learned about this awful thing which is a little bit like the end of innocence. I don't know when I first heard of Stalin. It can't have been very long ago. When I was growing up, the Cold War was over; by the time I was five, the Soviet Union was non-existent; Communism wasn't part of my consciousness like it must have been for older children.

But I think a lot of what I learned came through novels. Such as Ian Serraillier's The Silver Sword.
Set in Poland, this is about three children whose father and mother are taken by the Nazis and are left to survive in a country occupied by the Nazis.

I loved this book. I'd always loved books about the children taking charge or running away or something like that, and I think the deeper themes went right over my head. Moreover, it's not the darkest of dark books, and not really about the Holocaust.

The Diary of Anne Frank, however.
I think probably all of us have read this diary, but I will summarise it just in case. Anne Frank, a Jewish girl hiding in the attic of an Amsterdam building with her family, writes a diary chronicling their life of secrecy. It ends just before the Franks are captured by the Gestapo and taken away to different concentration camps. Anne ended her life in Bergen-Belsen, after contracting typhus.

The funny thing about this book - and the thing that I like about it as a record of Nazi crimes - is that it is about a normal girl, who has a crush on a boy, who finds her mother annoying, but this is so compounded by their existence living in each other's pockets that she sometimes comes across as rather nasty towards her mother. And this was a crime of the Nazis too - such an unnecessary imprisonment, so disruptive of family ties. All the same, it is sometimes a tame portrayal of the Holocaust, especially for a nine-year-old girl who is reading it without an understanding of what being caught by the Gestapo meant. Who reads, at the end, that Anne died in Bergen-Belsen of typhus but who doesn't understand this, or the concept of concentration camps, or the enormity of the situation Anne found herself in.

Other books I read were books like Goodnight, Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian, which is a fantastic portrayal of a little boy who is evacuated from London to the countryside during the war, but which is more about his sad family life than the war. Or I saw movies like The Sound of Music, in which Captain von Trapp and Maria declare that it would be impossible to work with the Nazis, and to flee the country was preferable, and so I thought that good, nice people didn't go along with the Nazis, only nasty people who spoke in very clipped accents, like a machine.

Then the closest I came to finding out anything about Soviet Russia was in The Endless Steppe, by Esther Hautzig.

Esther Hautzig and her parents were Polish deportees to Siberia during the war, but I can't remember much about her story other than that it was about the war. The fact that it took place in Russia obviously did not impress itself upon me very much.

In fact, I think the first I ever heard of the intense history of the Soviet Union was at age fifteen, reading George Orwell's Animal Farm for English at school.
Unlike the other books I've mentioned (not that there's anything wrong with their limited points of view), I think Orwell got it spot on. I am more and more amazed as I find out more because it's confusing enough as it is, with hindsight, but Orwell got it right, at the time, when almost everyone else was wrong, though in different, contradictory ways. His portrayal of Communism going rotten intrigued me. I didn't learn much more about Russian history until the next year at school, and that was a unit in History on the events leading up to the Revolution, but obviously something stuck, because I'm a full-time aficionado of Russian history now.

It's funny though - when I think back and realise how long it took me to know anything at all about the Holocaust, about the evils of Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia, I realise how much I asked of my niece and nephew. When I came back from Europe last year, and showed the same nephew my photos, which included photos of Auschwitz, he was very, very subdued, and I heard that he had watched the film "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas", which does not hold back at all, and I thought: Great. How wonderful that he knows. He needs to know. He should know. It is right and proper that his innocence should be interrupted.

But he knows far more already than I knew at his age. And I'm training to be a historian. And I wonder - how much does a child need to be pummelled into understanding?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

surviving capitalism

I used to feel like I had no money, when I was a teenager. When I started high school, I was still on about $4/week allowance; by the time I finished, I was on $10/week (besides the $20-something I earned shelving books at the local library). I went to a state-integrated school, which is basically a private school though not the ridiculously expensive type, and a lot of my friends were on a much bigger allowance.

When I started university, I was lucky enough to receive the student allowance - free money given by the New Zealand state to students whose parents didn't earn over a certain threshold - and I got a job tutoring English. Riches inconceivable!

When I went flatting (= living away from home, sharing the rent of a house with other students) last year, I was lucky enough to have, besides the student allowance, a couple of scholarships that kept me fairly well-off for a student. I mean, flip, I could afford a two-month visit to England. It's not normal, right?

Suddenly, my scholarships stopped, only the student allowance remained, and I felt the pinch.

Then, even more suddenly, my student allowance stopped, without warning.

(Don't worry, I will get it back, but it's going to take several weeks.)

This is the first time in my life that I have really felt what it's like to not have enough money, with no prospect of some cash influx in the near future that will solve all my problems. It's only been a couple of months, but I'm starting to get a glimpse of life without money. And it's not pretty.

I don't think I've ever been one of those ghastly people who, in a position of comfort themselves, idealize the poor, but I've never thought that money should define a person's life in the way it's defining me now. For the last five years of university study I've always found those students who can't wait to leave uni and go get a job very weird; I love studying, and for the last year I've said, perfectly seriously, that I am dreading having to go get a job because anything else, after self-motivated research, will be boring boring boring.

Now, I am looking forward to that glorious country, not very far off in the future, just out of reach, in which I will earn money. In which the constant anxiety I am living with right now just dissipates.

In the meantime, I will try to imprint the lesson I am learning into my brain. Which is, don't scoff money away. Don't imagine that without it you have the same opportunities/peace of mind/lack of distraction as you have with it.

In the meantime, I am trying to use opportunities like I had this morning - watching the sun rise on Easter Sunday. It was with friends, it was beautiful, it was strangely exhilarating getting up at 5.30 in the morning, and it was FREE!!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

an introduction to procrastibaking

Happy Easter, everyone!

This is the first in what I had better call a series - Procrastibaking. This is, for many thesis students, a fundamental part of getting through.

At first I wondered if I had better not tell you what happened to me yesterday (Good Friday). It's a little bit embarrassing. However, I realised, if it helps anyone else to avoid making the same mistakes, it's worth it!

Yesterday, I decided to make hot cross buns. Suddenly being in not too good a place financially (yet another element of surviving being a student), this seemed like a really good idea. Also, there was a lot of sitting around waiting for dough to rise, etc etc, so it was a great way to go and study for a little while, and then as soon as I got sick of it, return to baking!

However, I managed to:
(a) on the first attempt, forget to knead the dough.
(b) on the second attempt, left the buns in the oven for about twenty/thirty minutes longer than they should have been.

Funnily enough, the buns (especially the first batch) actually taste quite nice. It would be pretty hard not to taste nice, I suppose, if you contain brown sugar, mixed spices, cinnamon, and dates. They're a little like hard scones. And they look quite pretty, and to say the LEAST, the crosses actually worked very well indeed. And so here is the recipe:

Hot cross buns

For buns:
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tsp mixed spice, 1 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp yeast
1 cup milk, warmed
100g butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup mixed dried fruit (I used chopped dates)

For the crosses:
½ cup flour
1 Tbsp butter
¼ tsp baking powder

Mix the flour, salt, brown sugar and spices. Stir yeast and milk together, and leave to stand for 15 minutes in a warm place - it should be frothy. Beat eggs and softened butter into the yeast mix, then add to the dry ingredients. Mix until you get a doughy consistency. Knead for at least ten minutes on a floured board.

Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a damp towel. Leave for one hour in a warm place; the dough should double in size.

Turn onto a floured board and divide into 16 portions, rolling into balls and placing on a greased oven tray, about 1cm apart. Cover, and leave in a warm place to rise, for 30 minutes.

Brush each bun with milk and add crosses to each bun. Bake in a preheated oven at 190 C / 375 F, for 20 to 25 minutes.

The final product. NB: Due to my lack of skill, this is not what they are supposed to look like! The darker ones are the overcooked ones.


Hi all, this is my new blog, in which I fight my way through my MA thesis and find ways to survive history.

Don't worry, it's not going to be entirely university-related, but will be my exploration of surviving my day-to-day personal history - whether by navigating my world, releasing all my anxiety onto you, chronicling life in a student flat, finding ways to cope with writing-up (which often involve what I like to call "procrastibaking"), reviewing those books/movies/music that make history survivable, extolling and/or ranting about my university, how-tos, coming to terms with life post-MA (though it seems impossible at this point), and onwards and upwards into the big, currently blank future.

Because I am starting this blog over halfway through my MA, I have collected in the post below this those posts from my old blog which seemed like they should have some connection to this blog.


Blogging titbits from U2 vs Jane Austen which deserve a connection with the new blog:

31 Mar 2010 Oh, it makes me mad! - a rant, about some Humanities academics
8 Feb 2010 On music - a rant, about some Music academics
7 Feb 2010 My new abode - an exultation of my new flat
5 Jan 2010 I melted - Something that made me feel much, much better
24 Dec 2009 Defeating the grinch - about overcoming our landlord
15 Dec 2009 The year in review - an exultation of the good bits
10 Dec 2009 Apologies - general stressed-out-ness. Boring, but authentic
26 Nov 2009 Procrastination, with illustrations
19 Nov 2009 What do Marx, three-year-old nieces and paeonia moutans have in common? - They all belong on my office wall.
7 Nov 2009 Serves me right - Russian exam... need I say more?
2 Nov 2009 Disclaimer: will definitely contain mistakes - In which I practice my Russian language skills on you.
11 Oct 2009 A little piece of me is in London - post-trip sadness
28 Sep 2009 Europe, part VII - in which I gallivant around Eastern/Central Europe while on my "research trip" abroad
27 Sep 2009 Europe, part VI
27 Sep 2009 Europe, part V
26 Sep 2009 Europe, part IV
24 Sep 2009, Europe, part III
24 Sep 2009, Europe, part II
23 Sep 2009, Europe, part I
8 Sep 2009, Snapshots, part IV - in which I gallivant around the UK on my "research trip"
5 Sep 2009, Snapshots, part III
30 Aug 2009, Snapshots, part II
26 Aug 2009, Snapshots, part I
13 Aug 2009, Snapshots
19 July 2009, Are you kidding me? - a rant about a wonderful flatting incident
1 July 2009, Domesticity - a precursor to my procrastibaking series
29 June 2009, Three degrees of separation - in which I ponder the reality of history
26 June 2009, Leaving on a jet plane - my research trip to the UK becomes real
15 June 2009, Even Elizabethan playwrights need their privacy
10 June 2009, Washing machine from hell - something which made me feel much, much better
9 May 2009, Writer's block - what you do when your thesis stops you thinking straight
23 Apl 2009, Who said that students eat badly? - extreme baking in the flat
6 Apl 2009, Reasons to be happy - things that help me stay sane
30 Mar 2009, Warning - do not read if you don't like rants about NZ government departments
21 Mar 2009, Taking a deep breath - approaching the MA with some calm
18 Mar 2009, SOS - approaching the MA with some panic, wine, chocolate and baking
11 Feb 2009, All grown up - the move flatwards
7 Jan 2009, Why oh why? - the decision to do a MA